January 24, 2009

Department of Questionable Analogies

I'm not really sure why, but recently the media has been bombarding us with Pearl Harbour references like — well — Japanese bombs at Pearl Harbour.

First, on January 18, Warren Buffett had this to say about the current economic situation:
It really is an economic Pearl Harbor. . . . The country is facing something it hasn't faced since World War II.

And they're fearful about it. And they don't know quite what to do about it. . . . And temporarily it looks like we're losing. . . . Interestingly enough, we were losing for a while after Pearl Harbor. But the American people never doubted that we'd win.
Which struck me as kind of inappropriate at the time — after all, Pearl Harbour was a colossal loss of life sparked by militant ultra-nationalism, whereas the recession is a colossal loss of money sparked by corporate greed and poor regulation. And I know if anybody is going to equate human life to money it's a billionaire investor, but still: are we really at that point?

Anyway, then on Thursday, everyone's favourite Hair Club For Men poster boy, Rod Blagojevich, came out and said this:
Dec. 9 to my family, to us, to me, is what Pearl Harbor Day was to the United States . . . It was a complete surprise, completely unexpected. And just like the United States prevailed in that, we'll prevail in this.
Blagojevich is going to nuke the Senate?

Thankfully, though, it's not all greedy douchebags pretending that some external force is to blame for their unexpected loss of power (actually, equivocation: Buffett himself I would not call a greedy douchebag, but he certainly speaks for a lot of 'em). No, even lowly system admins are getting in on the game; speaking on Thursday about the rapidly spreading Conficker worm, computer security analyst Rick Wesson came out with this doozy:
“If you’re looking for a digital Pearl Harbor, we now have the Japanese ships steaming toward us on the horizon."
Actually, though, this one is just a mis-transcription by the Times; what Wesson really said was "PERL Harbor".


Anyway, in summary, I think it's high time people let go of Pearl Harbour as an appropriate analogy for describing anything, other than maybe a horrific and unexpected attack by one country on another. Okay?


Unknown said...

In 70 years, the term will be replaced by 9/11.

"Being unable to implant this chip in my skull was like 9/11 times 9 (divided by 11)."

Anonymous said...

That was vinny. I hate safari.

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