The Snark: a metaphor

October 7, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

The first intercontinental missile deployed by the United States, the Snark, had wings, a jet engine, and a range of about six thousand miles. It was a great-looking missile, sleek and futuristic, painted a fiery red. But the Snark soon became legendary for landing nowhere near its target. During one test launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida, a Snark that was supposed to fly no farther than Puerto Rico just kept on going, despite repeated attempts by range safety to make it self-destruct. When the slow-moving missile passed Puerto Rico, fighter planes were scrambled to shoot it down, but they couldn’t find it. The Snark eventually ran out of fuel and crashed somewhere in the Amazonian rain forests of Brazil.

– Eric Schlosser, in Command and Control, writing either a description of a particularly recalcitrant make of ICBM, or an extended metaphor for book reviewing

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