It's a long time since a Dilbert cartoon featured on this weblog -- a year ago, in fact ("Not enough to make a Kat laugh", here), when this member of the team needed some explanation regarding the humour of a triptych based on an intellectual property theme. Well, the Kat has just encountered another IP-rich triptych. This time he thinks he understands it.
Catbert (the evil director of human resources) starts off as the apparent villain of the piece. The key word here, missed by speed-readers and people whose eye is drawn to the final, punch-line box before they have finished digesting the contents of the preceding boxes, is "anonymous". How, but through the manifestation of evil, can Catbert have known that Wally was the author of the anonymous comments?
The second box reveals the subtlety of Wally, who as it appears is playing the system. From his endorsement of the literary oeuvre of the Unabomber (Ted Kaczynski) he makes it plain to Catbert that he is familiar with, and approves of, the writings of the author of the "Unabomber Manifesto" (Industrial Society and its Future, here), a very different society from that in which Catbert wields his power. Wally, knowing Catbert, must have calculated that the employee survey was not therefore anonymous.
The dénouement reveals both Catbert's concern that "we" (meaning "I") have a problem and that Wally, while endorsing the fact that a problem exists, winds Catbert up by nominating an intellectual property issue (which, within the context of the workplace is small, trivial and of no consequence) rather than admitting to the sort of problem which an employee with Unabomber tendencies might pose to an employer in general, and to human resources in particular.