I Know That PIMCO's Bill Gross Is Supposed to Be Smart And All ...

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... and we even have a story about him (Atlantic photo, right) in the current issue (subscribe!).

But, merciful heavens, is there no limit to "smart" people's credulous ignorance, to say nothing of lax cliche-mindedness, about amphibian metaphors? From the "astute" newsletter he has just put out:

>>Put a frog in a kettle of boiling water and he'll jump out faster and further than any of those blue ribbon winners at the Calaveras County jumping frog contest. Put him in a pot at room temperature, however, slowly turn up the temperature to boiling, and you'll have frog legs for dinner. This latter, more unfortunate toad temporarily adapted to his external environment, which seemed like a practical thing to do, until - well, until he reached 212° at which point he was cooked.
 
Today's bond investors are experiencing a similar fate with nary a "ribbet" of complaint....<<

This "original" and "perceptive" way of thinking makes me extra respectful of the insights that it introduces. I'm really listening now, Mr. Gross!

Maybe henceforth I'll take my bond advice from the inimitable Tom Tomorrow. And, you're right: what really offends me here is the hackneyed nature of the expression. If this is the way people reason and assess evidence in a field I happen to know about, then...

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(I know there is other news going on, but so many people wrote in that, for the record, I needed to note the event.)

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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

Fallows welcomes and frequently quotes from reader mail sent via the "Email" button below. Unless you specify otherwise, we consider any incoming mail available for possible quotation -- but not with the sender's real name unless you explicitly state that it may be used. If you are wondering why Fallows does not use a "Comments" field below his posts, please see previous explanations here and here.
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