Slow-boiled Frog

After we had a late breakfast the other day troublemaker John Roberts informed that the story about throwing a frog into hot vs cold water, that I love to use, is totally false. The blog he linked has an entire category chronicling the slow-boiled frog showing up in the news. I stand corrected!

22 thoughts on “Slow-boiled Frog

  1. I have to second James Fallows blog and recommend subscribing to his RSS, his non-frog-related posts are even more compelling!

  2. It’s not factual, but it’s still a great metaphor, just like an ostrich with its head in the sand (also false) or being blind as a bat (also false).

  3. Oh, this is disheartening to learn.

    I’ve been using that analogy for decades.

    Would it make me appear old-fashioned if I continued?
    Beyond appearing ill-informed, of couse.

  4. That’s crazy. I heard about it a couple times and now I come to realize too that it’s wrong.

    Oh well, I never did mention it in whatever I did anyway.

  5. Everyone in my family hates me, as I’m always shooting down their urban legends and their crazy e-mail fwds. One of my favorite ones to shoot people down on is the myth that eating turkey makes you drowsy. “But why am I so sleepy?” they ask, on Thanksgiving. “Because you just ate half your weight in food and washed it down with two glasses of wine.”

    My frogs never jump out of the pot, I put a lid on it.


  6. I referred to this story as “hard-boiled” at least 15, maybe 20 years ago, BUT …. it was never a myth or urban legend, it was always a metaphor, and it still is – a very good one – no correction required.

  7. “And now, with this new found knowledge that frogs feel pain and shouldn’t be boiled, you will go vegan, right?”

    Not if you kill the frogs _before_ you boil them.

  8. ian glendinning, the only way this can work as a metaphor is if it’s true. The frog in the story represents the natural tendency to accept slight changes, no matter how harmful they may be. However, if a frog’s natural tendency is to resist changes then the analogy doesn’t hold. The metaphor doesn’t relate to a condition that actually exists in nature, and therefore isn’t particularly illustrative of the the effects of complacency due to slow erosion.

  9. It’s still a great story, though.

    The story of the Tortoise and the Hare isn’t true either, but it teaches a great lesson.

    Now, the frog story has been raised to fable status! 🙂

  10. Ha ha ha ha ha

    Well, now we know.

    Personally I like to roast my frogs and then mush them up with chili and eat them with sticky rice.

    It’s a south Burma thing.

  11. I. too, have used the analogy of the frog in the pot. Whether true or not it states what is happening to the rights of people everywhere these days…..Slowly vanishing. Think about fogs. They sometimes creep in slowly until visibility has vanished, sometimes suddenly.