The Pentagon isn’t just America’s military brain—it’s also a vast bureaucracy filled with middle managers and that means it’s churning out lots of presentations. Bureaucratic presentations means PowerPoint, the universally loathed presentation software, and no one gives a shitty PowerPoint quite like the US military.
The Internet Archive—the site that catalogs the world’s digital detritus—has scooped up hundreds of publicly available military PowerPoints and preserved them for public consumption. The Archive calls it the Military Industrial PowerPoint Complex and it's as bad as you’d expect a mix of high technology, bloody wars, and banal graphics to be.
The Archive will be hosting a an event it calls Military PowerPoint Karaoke in San Francisco on March 6. Participants will take the stage to give a presentation based on military PowerPoint slides they’ve never seen, shuffled at random, and displayed behind them.
For those who can’t make it to San Francisco, allow me to show you some of the worst slides in the archive. Some of the presentations archived are outdated and offensive, others are painfully boring, all of them are garbage tier PowerPoint.
What’s even going on in this Air Force slide? It circled “simplification” at the top then didn’t take its own advice.
Here’s something from the Joint Improvised-Threat Defeat Organization—a department dedicated to neutralizing improvised explosive devices and drone-borne threats. Especially if those drones have been photoshopped to carry comically large cartoon bombs or video game gatling guns.
Look. We get it. Formatting is hard.
Every year thousands of birds slam into military aircraft. Every year the Air Force teaches its personnel how to scrape those remains and send them to the Smithsonian using a PowerPoint presentation.
Let the US Army teach you all about cid, hits, and microdots. Because there’s nothing more fun than mixing military service and powerful hallucinogens.
PowerPoint is terrible and no one should use it, but there’s a grotesque poetry to the Pentagon’s presentations. It’s a labyrinthine building full of soldiers, lawyers, strange acronyms, and obscure departments. PowerPoint is the perfect medium to capture all its contradictions and complications.