Waterboarding Our Border Collies

Extended metaphor is a difficult device to execute well. Very few things are so like another as to speak to each other’s situation, while at the same time one of the two is simple to understand and the other so complex that metaphor is required to illuminate its intricacies. Most metaphors are shallow, superficial, and frankly trite.

A notable example of effective extended metaphor is Charles Grinnel’s “Sheep, Wolves, and Sheepdogs” letter which I have written about before. Grinnel makes a strong case that our armed services are like the sheepdogs that protect the ignorant and apathetic flock, day in and day out. Most of us choose to be the flock, happily unaware of the dangers at the edge of our pasture, but a select few choose to be guard dogs. To keep the flock together and to keep predators away.

The Amused Cynic picks up this metaphor and applies it ever so effectively to the sound and fury over waterboarding. Here’s the start of the insightful “Waterboarding Our Border Collies” article:

This waterboarding controversy is really getting on my nerves. Look, I’ve never had the pleasure, but I know some who have. I often refer to members of our military as the sheepdogs. When you get into the special operations command, you’re talking about special sheepdogs, such as Border Collies. The ones who absolutely under any circumstances will accomplish the mission–or die in the attempt. When it absolutely, positively has to be destroyed–or saved– overnight…..to borrow from the great FedEx ad campaign. We waterboard our own special operations soldiers as part of their training to contravene their own opinion that they are invincible.

I love Border Collies–they fascinate me. They will take any mission, from something as seemingly pointless as gathering up all the branches in your yard and putting them in a neat pile—-to something as important as herding your little children away from the car traffic–a job that they will intuitively see and take on. Even saving little Bobby from being trapped in the old mine for the 10th time. They accomplish the mission, and it is impossible to divert them from the mission once undertaken. If you want to be cruel to a Border Collie, prevent it from accomplishing its mission.

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About Christopher

Christopher Landauer is a fifth generation Colorado native and second generation Border Collie enthusiast. Border Collies have been the Landauer family dogs since the 1960s and Christopher got his first one as a toddler. He began his own modest breeding program with the purchase of Dublin and Celeste in 2006 and currently shares his home with their children Mercury and Gemma as well. His interest in genetics began in AP Chemistry and AP Biology and was honed at Stanford University.