Apples and Oranges

I’ve long dissented from the claim that it’s hard to compare apples and oranges:

We compare apples and oranges all the time! We compare them by price, by how much we like the taste, by likely sweetness and ripeness, by how well they’ll go in a tasty fruit cocktail, and so on. In fact, every time we go to the store and buy apples rather than oranges — or vice versa — we are necessarily (if implicitly) comparing apples and oranges.

I hereby move that the phrase be changed to reflect two items that really are radically dissimilar — say, “comparing apples and democracy,” or “comparing oranges and the multiplication table.” All in favor, say “aye”; all opposed, say “nay”; motion carried. It’s Now Official; use them in good health.

Science, it turns out, is on my side, says an article in the Annals of Improbable Research. Thanks to boingboing and Jenny Macht for the pointer.