I’m generally inclined to agree with Vint Cerf’s twist on the famous anarchist slogan: “Power corrupts. PowerPoint corrupts absolutely.”

Nonetheless, many of us—myself included—end up using slides anyway. Done right, they can be a very good thing.

A fellow Minnesota grad student, Wes Longhofer, has developed a unique style of PowerPointing that really pushes the technology in a fun, creative way. I asked Wes if I could share one of his presentations here, and he said yes: Download the PDF here.

I’ll mostly let the slides speak for themselves, but a few notes:

  • This is for an introductory Political Sociology class. As you’ll see, the readings for this class were Domhoff’s Who Rules America?, John Gaventa’s Power and Powerlessness, and Thomas Frank’s “What’s the Matter with Kansas?”1
  • All frames within each slide are displayed at once in the PDF, though you can easily picture how the various arrows, highlights and questions on each slide appear one-at-a-time during the presentation. Because of all the crazy fonts & images Wes uses, distributing the original PowerPoint file isn’t really an option.
  • There are four movie clips embedded in the presentation (obviously they’re not included in the PDF—you’ll just see a placeholder image). In order, they are:
    1. A clip from the film “Wag the Dog” about political spin.
    2. A clip from “Century of Self” on the role of psychoanalysts and the CIA in the overthrow of the Guatemalan government.
    3. A Reagan campaign ad from 1984.
    4. An anti-Howard Dean ad from 2004 about “latte-drinking” liberal “freak shows.”
  • This particular class meets only once a week in 2.5 hour sessions, in case you were wondering how so much material could possibly be covered in one class.

And Wes puts this kind of care into every lecture he prepares. (Is anyone surprised he won our department’s Outstanding Graduate Instructor Award this year?)


  1. Of special value to Wes & I as we are both native Kansans. []