Does art imitate life or life art? In the case of “Office Space,” the classic movie from 1999 that refuses to be outdated, there really is no art in corporate (cubicle) life. There’s just, well, life as usual.
The picked-upon, get-even guy in “Office Space” is named Milton Waddams (classic scene in the YouTube video clip below), whose life definitely imitates life, if not the art of corporate politics. Let me explain.
One of my favorite films for commiseration about American corporate culture, “Office Space” found its real-life parallel recently in the absurd case of a whistle-blower named Walter Tamosaitis. Just call him Milton Redux.
Tamosaitis had the nerve to publicly question the safety of some procedures at the Hanford (Wash.) nuclear plant two years ago. First — catch this — the plant’s parent corporation took away his staff (he was an engineer) and assigned him to a basement office without furniture or a telephone. (Did he have lights? One would hope so.)
A week ago, Milton — er, Walter — was terminated in what was called a cost-cutting move.
All I can say is that at least the filmic Milton had a stapler, for a while anyway: