Analogy of the Day: “A Whitman Sampler”

 Whitman sampler.jpeg  That Famous Box Of Chocolates!

Today’s Analogical Illustration:

Speaker:  Michael Mukasey, Attorney General under the President George W. Bush administration

Occasion:  PBS Interview — August 22, 2018

Context:  An investigation has been taking place on the Russian interference into the 2016 election.  Michale Cohen was President Donald Trump’s attorney over the past several years.  Cohen had been charged for some illegal activity and had retained attorney Lanny Davis.

The Rhetorical Analogy:

(link to the full transcript)

Judy Woodruff: For another perspective, we turn now to a former attorney general under President George W. Bush, Michael Mukasey.

Mr. Mukasey . . . Welcome to the “NewsHour.”

You were able to hear what Lanny Davis, the attorney for Michael Cohen, just said.

Given the pleas yesterday, what legal jeopardy is President Trump in right now?

Michael Mukasey:

Legal jeopardy, I would say not much.

Political jeopardy, that depends, I guess, on how the public receives this.

But the question is really what legal jeopardy Lanny Davis’ client was in.

And I would suggest to you that he [Michael Cohen] was in legal jeopardy principally from the charges that you didn’t discuss on that segment, and not from the charge that you did.


Judy Woodruff: And what are you referring to?

Michael Mukasey: Well, he was facing a Whitman Sampler holiday assortment of federal charges, including tax fraud, income tax evasion and the like.



Going Analytical: 

Instead of factually stating that Cohen  . . . .

“was facing a number of different federal charges,” or
“was facing a variety of federal charges,” or even
“was facing “an assortment of federal charges”

Note:  This is where a good thesaurus comes in handy — the Power Thesaurus, you can type in “variety” and one of the words is “assortment.”
The word “assortment” (as well as other possible words — wide variety / wide range / diversity / brand /choice) gets you thinking about possible analogies.

In his thinking, Mukasey goes from various “federal charges” (A) to a well-known analogy . . . .

The Whitman Sample Holiday Box of Chocolates (B).

He connects the idea of “various federal charges” with a “Whitman’s Sampler” (B).

He pulls in the word “assortment” because it fits the Whitman Sampler side of the analogy.

“Sampler” fits the analogy because it contains a span of different kinds of fillings, shapes, and sizes.

He even includes the word “holiday” in kind of tongue in cheek.  It clearly is not a holiday for Cohen, but maybe for the federal prosecutor.

Whitman Sampler #2.jpg

How different when you go from something like . . . . .

“He was facing a wide variety of federal charges.”


“He was facing a Whitman Sampler holiday assortment of federal charges.”


Other related words:
(This is the value of constructing a dictionary of related words)

Words Related To . . . .

A Box Of Chocolates:

Valentine’s Day / Christmas
inexpensive / cheap
random / unknown
the cover / lid / picture
satiate / satisfy temporarily

Let’s Use The Analogy: Once we see the power of analogy, we can “run with it” much further  —  (without excess or overdoing it!).

(Here goes . . . )

The prodigal son was facing a Whitman Sampler holiday assortment of hard lessons of life . . . .  including decline, impoverishment, ruin,  loss of “friends,” famine, hunger, desperation, defeat, and the like. . . . .


When a believer decides to “go out on his or her own,” life may become like a Whitman’s Sampler holiday box of assorted options . . . . .

Have you bought or been given one of those assortments — holiday assortments — the sampler’s box.  They are all individual and different.  The various chocolates all look very attractive.  It is kind of a surprise when you bite into this-or-that one.

That is what happens when you are out on your own.  You face or experience . . . .

an assorted
box of attractive events
that surprise you more often than not
which are not really that tasteful.

When the prodigal bit into that chocolate — it was filled with pennilessness.  The next one . . . . want.  Then he had to find a job and bit into “a pig farm,” followed by continued hunger and desperation. . . . .

It wasn’t the “holiday” box was attractively advertised on the cover or which he dreamed it was going to be.

You may well find that this inexpensive box of sweets is inexpensive for a reason.

But that is all that you have on that road, and you will probably keep eating the options until you come to your senses.

Proverbs says it this way — “To a hungry man, every bitter thing is sweet.”




Link To Previous Analogical Illustration



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