Some people obsess over the end of the world (how’d that work out for you, Mayan devotees?). Others obsess over Kim Kardashian (is that working out in any logical way for you?). Still others obsess over climate change, rebuilding Stalin monuments (great job, government of George; you obviously are feeling nostalgic for the gulag), Twinkies (I guess the unions don’t obsess over Twinkies), John Kerry (please, Mr. Secretary, do not windsurf in public; you look like Gumby on a piece of plywood), and other tantalizing oddities.
I obsess over words.
My goat is repeatedly gotten by the media in this matter. Case in point: “the looming fiscal cliff.” I don’t know how many times I’ve heard some teleprompter-genius say “the looming fiscal cliff.” It makes me gnash my teeth. Cliffs do not loom unless you are below the cliff. Looming implies something that is above you. High above you. Like storm clouds. Like Mt. Everest. Like the Milky Way Galaxy.
You cannot fall off something that is looming above you unless you, like the moron you are if you are a journalist, you first climb the cliff and then decide to fall off the cliff.
I just noticed another egregious case of word-abuse in conjunction with that flipping fiscal cliff. A headline from Politco: White House weighs smaller fiscal cliff package. Whoever wrote that should be arrested and tried for word malpractice. Are you telling me the White House found a smaller cliff somewhere, they dug it up, wrapped it in Christmas packaging, and now they have it on a scale in the Rose Garden?
“Joe, this thing weighs 98 tons, 5 lbs, and 3 ounces…oh, wait, you’ve got your foot on the scale, don’t you? Get your fat foot off the scale. Lessee…97 tons, 83 lbs…”
If some budding Walter Cronkite somewhere says the fiscal cliff is shovel-ready, you will hear me scream from California.