The View from a Drawbridge

The random musings of a bridgetender with entirely too much time on her hands.

I’m sure you’ve heard the boiling frog story. It’s mostly used in political discussions to describe the slow and subtle chipping away of our rights and freedoms, or as a way to say we must act now or things are going to get significantly worse. It’s another way to describe the whole slippery slope scenario. Basically, it says that if you put a frog in boiling water, it will jump out. But if you put it in cool water and then slowly increase the heat, it will stay there until it dies.

I’d never given this story much thought, because I always understood the point that the teller was attempting to make, and then focused on how scary that point was. I never thought about the poor frog.

Fictional or not, what sort of a sick individual would do that to an innocent frog? Unfortunately, due to this story, experiments on frogs have, indeed, been conducted on and off since at least 1869. That’s warped.

But, as a friend recently pointed out to me, the story is false. If you put a frog in boiling water, it’s going to freakin’ die, just like a lobster or a crab does. And frogs are rather expert at adjusting their own temperature by relocating to cooler locations. Otherwise, you’d find a lot of fried frogs on hot sidewalks, and their species wouldn’t have lasted this long. So, yes, the frog will make every effort to leave a pot the minute it becomes uncomfortably warm, if it is at all capable of doing so.

While this metaphor can come in handy if you’re wanting to issue a dire warning, it doesn’t hold up under scrutiny. By the way, ostriches don’t actually bury their heads in the sand, either. Sorry if I have altered your worldview. Perhaps you can derive some comfort from the fact that no frogs were harmed in the writing of this post.

Like the way my weird mind works? Then you’ll enjoy my book! http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5

4 thoughts on “For the Love of Frog

  1. Lyn says:

    Ribbit, ribbit. We frogs and ostriches thank you. 🐸 More untruths to explore… https://www.buzzfeed.com/cassandrats/common-sayings-that-arent-true

    1. You’re welcome my froggy, feathery friend. And thanks for the link!

  2. Angiportus Librarysaver says:

    It’s a vivid if gross way to describe concretely the sort of situation that seems just a bit off at first but insidiously gets worse until it hits a point of no return. Like how my working life went T.U. even though I was the most clean, sober and diligent one in the place. A long story which I will spare you. “Slippery slope” doesn’t quite, for me, evoke the deceptive or slow-working nature of the early stages. Whether someone can come up with something that does w/o mentioning animal abuse, I don’t know.
    I need breakfast.

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