“Who first coined the term, Fiscal Cliff?”
So, have I mentioned before that words matter? Maybe a time of two, huh? Well, this is a perfect example. When the committee for budget reform couldn’t come up with a solution, they put in place severe consequences if a
deal was not reached by January 1, 2013. Bernanke said it created a “Fiscal Cliff” and thus the term was born.
In reality it is more like a Fiscal Slope… but as I learned in grad school, perception is everything. And so, while the result of the Fiscal Cliff will take a long long time to be felt, certainly long enough to have created a deal, my guess is that this won’t matter. January 1st, the market will crash and throw the economy into a tailspin even though no one, technically, at that point will feel the pain.
What if Ben Bernanke had called it a Fiscal Slope? What would have happened then? Would the public understand that there was still some time to get things fixed before the spending cuts and tax hikes hit our wallets? Probably. And this is why every news organization is now trying to clarify this point.
But, the damage has been done. Ask almost anyone why lawmakers are working to create a deal, and the words they will use are, “Fiscal Cliff”.
As writers we work hard to create the right images for our story. Why? Because we know that these images, like a picture book in people’s brains, add depth to the story. A friend and I recently got into a debate about whether I used the “F” word in my story, BETTING JESSICA. I assured her I never would. But she swore I had. After a thorough
search I confirmed that the closest I had gotten was “what the…” Did any other readers fill in the blank there with the “F” word? Presumably so. Had I used the term, “huh?” would readers have done the same thing? No way!
It’s too late now to revise “Fiscal Cliff” in the public’s mind. The picture is drawn and January 1st we will fall off of it, even if it originally only looked like a slope. I am fairly sure, through the power of words, it has transformed into a cliff now anyway.
Don't forget.... Tomorrow, Novemeber 30th, I'll be posting my Free Read on - Free Reads for the Genre-istas. It's a super fun Holiday story so go check it out!
Charlie Brown: I guess you were right, Linus. I shouldn't have picked this little tree. Everything I do turns into a disaster. I guess I really don't know what Christmas is all about.
Charlie Brown: [shouting in desperation] Isn't there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?
A young child was watching A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS while her mom tried to get some work done at Starbucks. I tuned out most of the movie, but was struck by this very memorable line (can’t you just hear Charlie Browns low voice shouting it?)
Holiday lights are going up around our neighborhood already; we put ours up on Sunday. Holiday cheer seems to be bright this year. And if it weren’t for the fiscal cliff, we would probably be having an amazing commercial holiday. But as I talked with friends this last weekend who were shaking their heads at how early everyone was decorating I thought back on three years ago. Deep in the recession our neighborhood looked bleak during that holiday season. Some half-hearted lights up here or there, but mainly all was quiet.
I am trying to remember if this was also the year we got piles of snow here in the Northwest. So much, in fact, that no one could drive anywhere… even to the store for holiday groceries. Trudging through the snow with my backpack on, I grabbed what I could at our local Safeway. Some iceberg lettuce, frozen peas, some meat and potatoes. It wasn’t the best holiday meal I had ever prepared, but it was by far the nicest Christmas I’d had in a long time. Without the rushing around (since it was impossible to leave home) we hung out as a family. Things became
quiet… calm and bright.
Charlie Brown may have felt like his pathetic tree couldn’t stand up to the tinselly glamour of a commercial holiday, but ultimately, like us, the true spirit of Christmas shone through.
Don’t forget to check out my FREE read from the Genre-istas coming out this Friday. Told by one of the BETTING JESSICA side characters, Cynthia, it is a fun story about how crazy family holidays can sometimes be.
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