Here's one you probably don't use in everyday conversation, but it turns up in the newspaper with surprising frequency. It's a Procrustean effort that forces evidence into a theory when it doesn't fit, just as Procrustes violently adjusted his guests to fit their bed.

The Myth of Procrustes

Procrustes, whose name means "he who stretches", was arguably the most interesting of the hero Theseus's challenges. He kept a house by the side of the road where he offered hospitality to passing strangers, who were invited in for a pleasant meal and a night's rest in his very special bed. Procrustes described it as having the unique property that its length exactly matched whomsoever lay down upon it. What Procrustes didn't volunteer was the method by which this "one-size-fits-all" was achieved, namely as soon as the guest lay down Procrustes went to work upon him, stretching him on the rack if he was too short for the bed and chopping off his legs if he was too long. Theseus turned the tables on Procrustes, fatally adjusting him to fit his own bed.

top  -  next