As they were thus discoursing, they discovered some thirty or forty windmills that are in that plain; and as soon as the knight had spied them…’Look yonder, friend Sancho, there are at least thirty outrageous giants, whom I intend to engage with; and, having deprived them of life, we will begin to enrich ourselves with their spoils: for they are lawful prize…’What giants?’ quoth Sancho Panza, those things yonder are no giants but windmills, and the arms you fancy are their sails’…’I tell thee they are giants…I am resolved to engage in a dreadful unequal combat against them all’
Miguel de Cervantes (Saavedra) 1547 – 1616
Don Quixote (1605)
We laugh at Don Quixote’s foolishness, but I sometimes wonder whether the 21st century has not produced its own version of windmills for those without a cause to latch on to.
I could produce a short list of these, but perhaps you have your own? 🙂