An engineer, not a linguist

From several sources, a link to today’s Dilbert (here), with an exchange between a female character I’ll call A and the engineer Wally (W here). I haven’t been able to unearth an image I can reproduce here, but this is the text:

A [offering piece of paper to W, who scupulously manages not to take it]: Wally, can you review this for any engineering issues?

W: What issues do you think it has?

A: I don’t know. I’m not an engineer.

W: Your request is too vague. You need to tell me what issues I’m looking for!

A: Did you just ask me to do what I just asked you to do?

☛ W: I don’t know. I’m an engineer, not a linguist.

A: I’ve suddenly lost all faith in humanity!

W: On the plus side, you found an issue.

The crucial bit is marked with the pointing finger. In it, W deflects attention away from any responsibility he might have in the matter via a version of the That’s Just Words/Semantics ploy, which continues to place the burden of responsibility on A.

(It could fairly be argued that both A and W are caught in a tricky situation, since either of them could be slammed by their manager if an engineering issue is missed, or if it takes too long to decide that there is none.)

One Response to “An engineer, not a linguist”

  1. Ned Deily Says:

    The “I’m an engineer, not a linguist” could be a reference to Dr McCoy’s famous expression in “Star Trek: The Original Series” [retronym, anyone?]: “I’m a doctor, not a “. A tribute here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MULMbqQ9LJ8

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