Thursday, June 29, 2017

Dawg Sez 6:

Hobson's Choice

Henry Ford was a clever man. He wanted to build the first people's car. Affordable. Reliable. Easy to work on. And so he did: the Model T. In his autobiography, he wrote: Any customer can have a car painted any color he wants, as long as its black.


Ford Model T


Hobson's Choice in spades. It quickly became proverbial, and continues to be a favorite device of parents and professors, principals and presidents.

The phrase is often used incorrectly. What it is not is a dilemma. That is a choice between two equally undesirable outcomes. The devil and the deep blue sea. And it is not a matter of no choice at all. What it does mean is 'take what ya get, bud, or take a walk'.

Thomas Hobson was a man with a livery business in Cambridge, England, during the early 17th century. Though he had a number of horses to chose from, only the one nearest the stable door could be rented. That one horse or no horse at all. The wags from Cambridge University dubbed this Hobson's Choice. By the turn of the century Mr Hobson was enshrined in a poem by Milton, given a mention in 'The Spectator' No. 509 of 1712, and on the lips of both plebians and plutocrats.


Thomas Hobson



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