... maybe another way to illustrate it? Mike Luckovich's cartoon for today:
In Luckovich's defense, most of the time political cartoonists, like political speakers, are working with the stock array of images/concepts already in people's minds. Only the best -- cartoonists or speakers -- in their best moments introduce new images that really stick. You can't expect that from anyone, in any field, on a daily basis.
On how Paul Krugman might have altered this cartoon, here; for the special circumstance in which the boiled-frog metaphor is true, here; for why boiled frogs are like WWE-style pro wrestlers, here; from Wikipedia, here. Complete boiled-frog collection here.
CNN/Fortune lapsing in the same way, here. Interesting discussions of how and whether to use an image you know is not literally true -- like "ostrich with its head in the sand" or "camel's nose under the tent" -- but that gets a point across, here (from Mark Liberman of Language Log) and here (from Kevin Drum of Mother Jones) and here (from Joe Romm of Climate Progress).
A reader in England writes with a suggestion for a substitute image that is more factually defensible. (Hint: based on the unforgettable opening scene of Ian McEwan's Enduring Love. If you've read the book, you know the image.) More on that soon -- plus! a reader's nominee for the next most inaccurate and overused rhetorical image. Coming soon. For now, the main point of Luckovich's cartoon is right. Thanks to reader J.S.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
James Fallows is a staff writer 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. He and his wife, Deborah Fallows, are the authors of the 2018 book Our Towns: A 100,000-Mile Journey Into the Heart of America, which was a national best seller and is the basis of a forthcoming HBO documentary.