The Rhetorics of Comparison

Yes, I had a root canal the other day.

My first.

Sure, I have had fillings and even a few crowns but never a root canal.

And every dental professional I asked told me the same thing:

It’s like getting a filling.

But the funny thing is that whenever I’ve gotten a filing no one ever said to me:

It’s like getting a root canal.

And voila, we have a rather nice example of the rhetorical utility of comparison.

For in some regards they are indeed alike, yet in others — such as the painkillers and antibiotics I was prescribed, let alone two or three days of pretty intense pain after those little nerves were ripped out — they are utterly unlike.

Their comparison, then, inasmuch as it highlighted just some aspects of the two procedures, was their attempt to alleviate any concern I might have.

It wasn’t about the procedures — it was about them and me.

If so here then so too in other instances where any two things are compared — for there are always interests at work, so don’t take comparisons as a factual statement. Instead, they tell you much about the eye of the one doing the comparison.

Or their tooth.

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