I find it interesting how certain analogies find a good home in the culture, as if up until then the culture had a hole, that there was some vital aspect of life that was just waiting for something to describe it. Lucy pulling the football away is one of those things – it gets referenced in passing in political discussion all the time, as it accords very well with something that happens much in politics, where promises are made by one knowing full well they will be undone.
I just rewatched the opening of “The Drop In”, the 12th episode of the second season of The West Wing, Aaron Sorkin’s all-time-great political TV series. In the scene before the opening credits, the President uses that analogy to explain the situation he is in… but Sorkin doesn’t assume that all of his audience will get the reference, so he puts a character in who doesn’t know the reference and the President gets to explain it to him. It’s a fun piece, even though I doubt the explanation was needed for much of the audience. (If you have Netflix, you can check it out.)
Minor side note: I also find it interesting when an analogy takes hold even when there was no hole in the culture. People referring to something as their “Kryptonite” (the substance that can weaken Superman – see, I can explain common knowledge as well!) has come into common use for referring to one’s harmful weakness… even though we already had the term “Achilles heel” to refer to the same phenomenon.
Other side note: I was told recently that someone called my “professorial”. That struck me as wrong. Then I sat there and came up with a series of different ways that that could be interpreted, of the various ways in which the term might be applied to a person… and then realized that in my doing all this processing proved that the original speaker had a point.