Now I am happier still that my friend Michael Jones has put a fancy Postmodernist gloss on the whole topic. He writes:
"Are you familiar with the late French writer and philosopher Jean Baudrillard? My favorite memory of his insight was his comment on the progression of societies' images from reality toward unreality in identifiable stages.
1. It is the reflection of a basic reality,
2. It masks and perverts a basic reality,
3. It masks the absence of a basic reality,
4. It bears no relation to any reality whatsoever; it is its own pure simulacrum."The stylized sport of wrestling as it advanced from Greek olympics to modern television might be an example of this progression, with Lou Thesz somewhere in the middle range. This last stage was his area of
fascination; the progression itself is mine. The Onion is #4, but intentionally as humor."
(Lou Thesz, as PoMo counterpart to boiled frog, from Plan59.com)
Jones says that the frog story is in stage two; I think it has skipped ahead to stage four, where we don't care (a la Krugman) whether it's true or not because it's become a convenient way to convey a message ("raining cats and dogs"). Either way, it's nice to be literary about it.
* Yes, I know what canard means. A little joke.