Home > 2011 Posts, About Dave > A Nal! Oh, gee…

A Nal! Oh, gee…

How much can one thing be like another yet still be different. Butter and ‘I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter’ come to mind. For many folks, one is close enough to the other to be a substitute.

But other things only seem to be like each other. Real and realistic for example. Or simple and simplistic. One works, the other doesn’t. One is elegant, the other foolish. 

Critical thinking is based on the ability to compare one thing to another and understand what’s the same and what’s different about them. This includes the ability to see that the things have a close resemblance in some important way, like butter and margarine, or do not, like simple and too simple to work. The SAT exam that some High School kids take to get into college tests a bit of this skill in its section on Analogies.

I was reminded of this recently when I composed a viewer Tweet about a nerd video game show segment that I watched and disliked. A lot. The segment was “The Top 5 Most Patriotic Video Games’. In it, the host used his choices and narrative to spew vast, deep contempt for his country, and for much of his audience.

Twitter’s 140 character limit made it a challenge to be clear and brief. So I sent an analogy as my Tweet:

“@xplay ‘Top 5 Most Patriotic Games’ segment: Patriotism is to Adam Sessler as young boys were to Jeffery Dahmer.”

As you may recall, Dahmer was a serial killer of mostly young boys. The man raped, tortured, killed and ate them. It’s possible to imply a lot with a brief analogy.

My renewed acquaintance with analogies has spawned a few more about current events. Here are five for your perusal:

  • Victims are to the legal system as eggshells are to omelet eaters.
  • Illegal immigration is to immigration as a broken pipe is to a faucet.
  • Embryonic stem cell research is to stem cell research as cannibalism is to eating steak.
  • A Chicago politician is to a statesman as a malarial swamp is to a reservoir.
  • A government program is to progress as a broken rocking chair made of platinum is to forward motion.

And, for Twainless Brits, there are false analogies as well.

I’d forgotten how much fun analogies can be. Apparently there is perhaps one unintentionally redeeming feature of bitter, seditious rants from unpleasant third-tier cable show hosts.

 Or not.

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In a caption above, I use the term ‘Twainless Brits’.
Here’s a link to an earlier post that explains the term.

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