Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Go Go PowerPoint Rangers (Updated)

Starbuck of Wings Over Iraq brought my attention to this: a PowerPoint presentation, presumably affiliated with the U.S. Army in some way, about online etiquette and operational security (OPSEC). And lo and behold, Kaboom is mentioned on slide three!

I'm more amused than bothered, for a few reasons:

1) The PowerPoint Rangers that put this together clearly don't realize what brought Kaboom down. It wasn't OPSEC - in fact, my strict adherence to OPSEC saved my ass and ensured a promotion to captain still occurred a month after the blog got shut down.
2) They insinuate that Kaboom violated UCMJ in some way. That may be true, but I know some JAG lawyers that would loudly, and vehemently, disagree. Methinks they know a little bit more than UCMJ than the PAO clowns who likely put this slide together.
3) Neither Osama or my Mama were bothered by Kaboom. The former, because he doesn't care about an American platoon leader mocking his superior in mid-2008; the latter, because even the sweet Scot-Presbyterian that she is has a bit of a pirate in her. So, I got that going for me. Which is nice. But hey, that slide is funny. Or something. Because it rhymes. Get it? I'm sure that quip brought the whole air-conditioned office down with laughter.
4) The screenshot of Kaboom they captured was of City Girl's short-lived rendition of Kaboom, which was mainly to keep readers up-to-date on the state of injured solider Hot Wheels. City Girl was and is a civilian. The clowns couldn't even be bothered to use Google Cache to find a screenshot of the right Kaboom site. Not only are they clowns, they're lazy clowns.
5) Points 1-4 remind me why PowerPoint is such a detrimental tool in the military. It simplifies complex scenarios and situations for the lowest common denominator, often by individuals who are simply regurgitating information themselves. It stifles research, analysis, and debate. Further, no author is cited for the slide, beyond the much vaunted U.S. Army emblem - it's simply passed through the ranks, shared over and over again, until someone recognizes just how dated and incorrect it is. In this case, expect such to occur sometime in 2022.

Now, as Starbuck points out in his comments section, the "save it for your memoirs" line is a cheap shot. And it's quite possible the person that typed that line could fit their deployment memoirs into a PowerPoint slide themselves. (Burn!) Spencer Ackerman (congrats on your move to the Danger Room, Spencer) calls it "classless." I'll admit to being a little ... annoyed. But the truth is, like all PowerPoint slides, no one will spend more than 30 seconds on this, because all too often, PowerPoint is there to check the block, not to learn.

(Well, us milblog Internet nerds will spend some time on it. But that's about it.)

If any PowerPoint Rangers (or otherwise) actually want to use the rise, fall, and resurrection of Kaboom as a teaching tool for young soldiers, email me at I'd be happy to provide some real teaching points, in whatever format you want. Even PowerPoint.

Update: A new thought regarding PowerPoint Rangers and Kaboom. It's free advertising. Keep up the libel, clowns, Daddy's got tuition bills to pay!


  1. Matt, I doubt it was a PAO guy that put this together.

    Likely an S-2 type once again digging up McCarthy-era rhetoric and replacing "Communism" with "Terrorism".

    "Every time you blog, you blog Communism!"

  2. If you're right, if will redirect all of my witty ire at the S-2 shop.

  3.'re giving them too much credit.

    Somebody told somebody that they needed an OPSEC Powerpoint, and whoever put it together had "Kaboom" in their head, so they figured that would be an easy screen grab.

  4. Haterz gonna hate. Play on, G.