Monday, September 04, 2006

A military metaphor

I recently had the opportunity to renew contacts with old friends I made many years ago in the Australian army. The context and details don't concern us here. But the event prompted a recollection of an old and useful metaphor - a metaphor which might serve a purpose in the context of the general themes and prime intention of this blog.

Pictured are a Swiss Army Knife (inset) and an "Australian Army Knife" (a bayonet from a .303 Lee Enfield bolt action rifle). The pictures are more or less to scale, and they convey a stark message. The Swiss army knife is extremely versatile and can be used in place of scissors, a nail file, can opener, bottle opener, corkscrew, screwdriver, probe, forceps etc etc. But it serves all these purposes very badly. Given a choice of real scissors (for example) and the dinky little scissors-like object in the Swiss Army Knife, no-one in their right mind would choose the Swiss Army Knife. The Australian Army Knife on the other hand is not versatile. It has only one purpose - to win an argument. However it is very good at this.

Think about it Humbug Hunters... don't fiddle about with dinky little toy arguments, reach for the cold steel and show them what you're made of (metaphorically speaking of course).