Metaphors Require Care


Given the core significance of the role of hyperlinking to the Internet, we risk impairing its whole functioning. Strict application of the publication rule in these circumstances would be like trying to fit a square archaic peg into the hexagonal hole of modernity.

Crookes v. Newton, 2011 SCC 47, [2011] 3 S.C.R. 269 ¶ 36.

The point is well taken, but switching from “round” to “hexagonal” undoes the metaphor. A cube, viewed from directly above one of its corners, is hexagonal.


Sorry to be pedantically mathematical, but a cylinder of the correct height has a square projection when viewed from the side and a circular one when viewed from above, so I fail to see how this judge’s choice of words is any less broken than the original metaphor.


Fair point. The original is usually given as a square peg in a round hole; that geometry never works unless the square is small enough compared to the hole.


The key word is “fit” as it implies the peg is in hand giving us its dimensions regardless of how it is viewed. The “original” as I know it is, “It’s like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole.”

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