A new word for “bubble”

Over at the LA Times Walter Murch and Lawrence Wechsler make a convincing argument that it’s time to retire the term ‘bubble’ when it comes to speculative excess:

The word “bubble” just has an inescapably happy feel to it, conjuring up kids and parties and sudden iridescent poppings, screams of laughter, the giddy clapping of happy hands and an overall lack of consequence. That was fun; now where’s the cake?

Even more so when the word gets paired with “tulip” or “South Sea.” Where could the harm possibly be in such blithe and fragrant things? Certainly not in the words themselves: exotic petals, swaying grass-skirted maidens, spheres of trembling insubstantiality.

So what do they suggest as a more appropriate term?

What if, instead of that playful word bubble, we tried something a bit more accurately descriptive when growth at any cost became the goal. Say, “tumor”: “the dot-com tumor,” “the subprime tumor,” “the derivatives tumor.”

Would anyone seriously gainsay the highest possible vigilance over the proper functioning of their own body or doubt the need for strong regulation? Who, facing the prospect of a tumorous outbreak or living with a body demonstrably prone to such outbreaks, would entrust that body to a band of physicians blithely committed to laissez faire regarding these fatal bubbles of flesh?

Words matter. Metaphors frame thought. Pay them heed and tend them well.

Read the full editorial over at the LA Times website. The Vancouver housing tumor?

80 Comments
newest
oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Dave
10 years ago

@Paulb.:

The sellers are staying put. If sellers don't get the prices they want, then they will pull their listings. Some of those people might try again after the summer, but the current trend seems to be a levelling off of listings.

Tony Danza
Tony Danza
10 years ago

@Anonymous: Yeah but was your place the show home hidden in the back corner of David Lam Park? Does the front door open onto a filthy alley? Does your landlord have a parking stall in your house? I didn't think so…

Anonymous
Anonymous
10 years ago

@Best place on meth: But… but… I thought there were going to be so many people lining up to rent at the open house that application forms would have to be handed out on a first come first served basis?

I wonder if the landlords to be are shocked that everyone else in Vancouver isn't as clueless as they are?

Anonymous
Anonymous
10 years ago

@Best place on meth:

Nice! I wonder if that place will ever be rented. I just signed a lease on a 2 bed, 2 bath 900 plus square feet in Vancouver. How much? A few hundred less than $1550! Oh, but I forgot, my new place is not "IN THE WEST" Apparently I'm supposed to sacrifice an extra washroom, another bedroom, oh AND a parking spot for that. What was I thinking??

jesse
10 years ago

@4Slicesofcheese: From your link: "Lanefab says the homes cost between $160,000 and $220,000 to build, and can be rented out for between $1,100 and $2,200 depending on the size of the unit."

So… that's a price/rent of about 120 or so on construction costs alone. Not bad… if the land is free 😆

Chilled
Chilled
10 years ago

@Best place on meth:

It's probably one of those "send the deposit to PO Box Africa and we will mail the keys" double douche like deals.

Strataman
Strataman
10 years ago

@vibe: Mania is nice but not actually descriptive…..my suggestion is "boil"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boil

If not perfect then abscess
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abscess
I especially like the description of real-tors that would be "pus" 🙂

Best place on meth
Best place on meth
10 years ago

@4Slicesofcheese:

That one is bigger and it's in East Van. But it also says it's the "first of it's kind".

Hey…what's going on here?

4Slicesofcheese
4Slicesofcheese
10 years ago

@Best place on meth

Story today

http://www.ctvbc.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/

Best place on meth
Best place on meth
10 years ago

Our favorite laneway "home" is still up for grabs.

Not sure whey they put in 2 ads for the same place yesterday at 2 different prices though.

And the square footage has somehow increased.

http://vancouver.en.craigslist.ca/van/apa/1793470

http://vancouver.en.craigslist.ca/van/apa/1794157

Something douchy going on here.

vibe
vibe
10 years ago

I fear that people's faith in real estate might be so great that switching tumour for bubble might lead them to believe that cancer is actually beneficial.

I vote for "mania". This seems to me like the most accurate way of describing what a bubble really is.

vreaa
10 years ago

Pope: Thanks for the 'tumour' article, great link.

Some commenters suggested that the word 'bubble' already has enough negative connotations. You can argue that is only true of the minority of the public that is educated with regard to financial matters. Most citizens don't really understand the 'bubble' process, or why 'bubbles' are bad. (Especially when they're in the middle of one.)

Suggesting we use a term like 'tumour' to describe them is a very good idea. Why didn't we think of that before?

A tumour's growth outstrips that which the organism can maintain, it misallocates the whole body's resources, and unless it is cut-out/curbed, it can destroy its host. Very good metaphor; with appropriately dreadful connotations.

grimreaper
grimreaper
10 years ago

I think cancer is a perfect analogy since most of you will probably die of it at an early age since you live in 1970s apartment blocks full of carcinogenic building materials. Enjoy what's left of your life!

Paulb.
Paulb.
10 years ago

@Paulb.: Nope was 18775. Where are the sellers ? 🙂

Best place on meth
Best place on meth
10 years ago

@Raz:

When the worthless cheerleaders post I just hear vuvuzelas.

McLovin
McLovin
10 years ago

Yet another net 100. This is like clockwork.

19K by Friday after work!

Neptune
Neptune
10 years ago

HST and July's interest rate hike looming. This is going to get ugly fast…..can't wait.

Paulb.
Paulb.
10 years ago

@domus: I think I meant 18875. I'll update later.

Woodrow
Woodrow
10 years ago

Why can't everyone else see that this superduperbulltime is just a guy with way to much time on his hands trying to be funny (it was the first few posts but not anymore dude). Just ignore him and he will eventually go away and find something else pointless to do with his existence.

Chilled
Chilled
10 years ago

@Gordon C.:

Gordon C. Says:

June 16th, 2010 at 9:32 am

Okay, your boss tells you that you will have to take a pay cut or be layed off.

Your spouse is pregnant.

You break your leg and have to go on workers compensation.

Your tenant moves out.

Your spouse moves out

You get divorced

Your dog needs a $10,000 operation.

You get fired.

+++++++++++++++++++++

You just wrote my memoir.

Teddy Bear
Teddy Bear
10 years ago

Nicely sad, Raz.

Raz
Raz
10 years ago

Let's not feed the trolls. It's full evident that the trolls have nothing intelligent to say. All we hear is his brain farts.

Looks like he's in need of medication to his Attention Deficit Syndrome – probably he can't afford it either with his high mortgage payments.

Teddy Bear
Teddy Bear
10 years ago

Superbullcrap,

when was the last time you could afford cherrys? How much did maintenance fees go up this year? Any assessments coming this fall? LOL Frustrating, I know… there are people who are free, who travel, go out, don't have to watch every penny they spend, and there are "owe-ners" – realturd landlord wannabees… 🙂

domus
domus
10 years ago

@paulb.: Inventory down relative to yesterday? Midmonth expiries?

superduperbulltime
superduperbulltime
10 years ago

Bear I made new blog for bear in Vancouver it's called forenter.com. Everyday I post story from bear about how great life is in their moldy basement. Only comment that proclaim bear lifestyle to be good will be allowed. I could make a few hundred per month on adsense easy with so many forenter bear. I think there is endless forenting bear supply so business will be profitable long term.