Fifth Column – Right Up The Apples & Pears – Issue 9

Why does the cliche ‘Apples’ and ‘Pears’ serve as a useful comparative header for any argument?
If it is merely superficial in terms of their apparent difference as signifiers, then each term can be easily substituted by any other, and I think more appropriate dissimilar terms: Shit and Sugar; Long and Tall; Black and Blue, and so on.

When looked at further these two terms have more similarities than differences. Both grow on trees, and have pips that need to be removed before fully enjoying the flesh of each succulent fruit. They both hang from stalks that attach each to its respective tree. They both make very good fillings for pastries. Would it not serve us better if we want to headline significant differences in two comparative issues, to use something like They (the issues represented by the terms such as apples and pears) are as unlike as a Macaque monkey and a Strawberry. Or as incomparable as A Tower Block and A Cat. I’m sure you could think of many others.

The tired and frankly unworthy use of what passes for serious thought and argument is galling, especially in this modern age that by various measures considers itself the ultimate in human development. Do you think that use of terms/cliches such as ‘apples’ and ‘pears’ in order to represent difference lacks sophistication of thought and at best, can be seen as merely an avoidance of any useful and dynamic comparison of two or more elements in any argument? (Write your opinion onto the back of a spent productivity sheet and leave it where it can’t be seen.)

One of the more satisfying feelings as a human organism at the end of a day is to ascend the apples and pears (apologies for any willing bungalow dwellers or habitual lift users) having had a day of thoughtful contemplation of the vagaries and beauties of existence. The contentment of being legitimately tired from healthy analysis and not fatigued from a day of thoughtless, and cliched honest toil that furthers any human progressive project not a jot. Think about it; apples and pears are more alike than different, so, unless you are making a feeble attempt to avoid or deflect attention from an issue that would otherwise be interesting, you should use more appropriate terms to illustrate the nuances and differences to illustrate a point. Go on, just do it, you know it makes sense.

Just as the term communism has become symbolic as a catch-all term to refer to forms of dictatorial state control and oligarchic tyranny, democracy has become simplistically symbolic of freedom (and vice-versa). So, for the apples and pears issue we could use ‘communism and freedom’ or ‘capitalism and oligarchic tyranny’, when it is only on the surface that these terms are useful for illustrating difference.

My intention is just to discourage the use of friendly, seemingly benign terms such as ‘apples and pears’ that merely blow ‘smoke’ and uses ‘mirrors’ to obfuscate the real significance of any argument of difference.

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