Does Not Compute. Just Kidding, It Computes.
I can’t stand that the expression “it’s like comparing apples and oranges” means “whatever two things we are talking about cannot be compared.” First of all, any two things can be compared in some regard. The Holocaust and garbanzo beans are of this planet, for example. (I didn’t say the comparison had to be great, just that it can be made.)
But more importantly, apples and oranges are particularly well suited to side-by-side comparison. Let’s say you have one piece of each fruit, and you only want to eat one of them; how do you decide which one to eat?
It depends on what you’re in the mood for, right? If you’re in the mood for something crunchy, you’d select the apple because oranges are not crunchy and apples are. If you’re in the mood for citrus, you’d select the orange because apples aren’t citrus and oranges are. Not only is it possible to compare apples and oranges, it is easy to envision a scenario where you must compare them. Unless you’re a total fucking idiot, this comparison will not be difficult to conduct.
The movie Titanic cost about $200,000,000 to make. It was 194 minutes long, meaning that every minute cost $1,030,927.87 to produce, and every second of the movie cost $17,182.13.
The movie Clerks cost $27,575 to make. At 92 minutes long, Clerks cost $299.18 per minute and $4.99 a second.
This means that the entire budget of Clerks was equivalent to the cost of 1.6 seconds of Titanic.
Titanic made $600,788,188 domestic gross, so it made ~$3.00 for every dollar spent. Worldwide, Titanic has earned $1,848,813,795, returning $9.24 on the dollar.
Clerks made $3,151,000 in the United States, so for every dollar spent to make the film, it earned $114.27. I could not find its worldwide gross.
If the cost of Clerks were a unit of measure, Titanic would be 7,252.94 Clerkses.
The juxtaposition of these figures is not meant to imply that Clerks was a better investment than Titanic. I don’t believe that’s true; low budget films rarely pay off, and Titanic was a guaranteed blockbuster. I am in no rush to draw inferences; I just like seeing the numbers side by side.
There are a few situations where I would condone using the “apples and oranges” phrase, and they’re all related to art. Shakespeare contemplated comparing “thee” to “a summer’s day”. I encourage literature students to write essays declaring the sonnet’s premise an untenable “apples and oranges” proposition. Better yet, refuse to write an essay. Stick to your guns.
How does it feel to be on my own like a rolling stone? Nice try, Bob.