When the cable news orgy that was the 2012 election finished, the collected media rubbed their still sticky hands together and looked for the next story to inflate with hyperbole. The Fiscal Cliff turned out to be exactly what they were looking for, giving them a chance to beat the drum of fear until the next pretty white girl disappears with a suave stranger whom SHE SHOULDN'T HAVE TRUSTED.
Briefly, the Fiscal Cliff is a legislative apparatus that congress invented last year to weasel out of the debt ceiling debate. Apparently our government shops for policy solutions in the ACME catalog, as on January 1st the country’s economy might manage one more blink at the camera for a beat before falling into apocalypse.
As much as the media tries to scare the shit out the public remember they have an agenda. Scaring you is the most effective method they have to keep you glued to the nearest infotainment box. Watching a single episode of (insert cable news show desperate for ratings here) can leave you curled up in the fetal position on your living room floor for hours. It’s enough to make you blow the dust off the Mayan apocalypse safety plan you felt silly filing away only a few weeks ago.
It’s never in the media's best interest to provide context, so bear in mind that the Fiscal Cliff is a theoretical threat that can be moved by swift legislation at any given moment. It’s hard for me to fear anything that can be wiped away by a gang of 12 Senators with cottage cheese ass who threaten filibusters on everything, including their own bills. It’s like my dad always says, “If Ezra Klein is explaining it to you, it’s not fucking dangerous.”
Besides, “Fiscal Cliff” sounds like a clever hook for a lousy accountant in BFE.
ACTUAL Cliffs, on the other hand, are scary as shit. Just standing on the side of a cliff is enough to give you a heart attack, and if the wind blows you will drop to your knees and pray that the cliff doesn't steal your SOUL. There are also people named Cliff and they're often far creepier than anything congress could ever come up with, especially if the Cliff you know has a mustache. Remember, the Fiscal Cliff is theoretical. Your neighbor Cliff is real and probably staring at you right now through the window in your bathroom.
So for a little context, here are 7 “cliffs” that are more dangerous than the fiscal cliff.
7. Cliff Carmichael – The Thinker
WHO? This Marvel comic book villain, described as a “Cyber Punk Maniac,” can read your thoughts with his “Thinking Cap.” He was plucked from his normal life as an inmate at an insane asylum and subjected to
psychological experiments. As it goes with all well-intentioned mind-fucking torture, the experiments backfired and the scientists involved inadvertently created a potent super villain. Oh scientists, won't you ever learn?
WHAT MAKES HIM SCARIER THAN THE FISCAL CLIFF: With his “Thinking Cap,” the Thinker can read your thoughts. Thinking about screwing over your best friend? He knows. Lying to clients about “this incredible investment that you’d be an idiot not to get into” to get a higher commission? He knows! Can’t wait to get home and jerk off to granny porn because it fits your feverish fetish for meticulously placed doilies? He wishes he didn’t, but yes, he knows! I don't care if the economy crashes and I wind up eating dog food under an overpass, NO ONE needs to know that Carly Rae Jepson plays on an infinite loop in my head.
6. Tarpein Rock
WHAT? This is a well-known spot in Ancient Rome, mentioned by Plutarch. A nice enough view today, speckled with houses and ancient ruins, it is one of the oldest known landmarks that was used by the Roman Empire.
WHY IT’S SCARIER THAN THE FISCAL CLIFF: Because the Romans used to throw condemned prisoners off
this fucking thing. Congressman and Senators have been quoted saying they are comfortable going “over the cliff.” Bet your ass they wouldn't be too cozy if failing to balance the budget meant a couple of legionnaires show up on Capitol Hill to throw them of the side of a fucking mountain. This execution method was deemed a fate worse than death, which is saying a lot for a society where there were rules of etiquette for strangling people. A flight off Tarpein Rock however was generally reserved for only the most egregious of criminals: traitors, larcenous slaves, and perjurers. Yes, you read that right, tell a fib and you get launched off a mountain.
5. Cliff Vandercave
WHO? This ambitious executive vice president of Slate & Co. spends the majority of his time in The Flintstones move plotting to swindle the company and abscond with absurd amounts of cash to somewhere presumably rock related. He also builds a machine that renders all the quarry workers obsolete in order to
increase Slate profits.
WHY HE’S SCARIER THAN THE FISCAL CLIFF: This guy is a Wall Street wet dream. It seems like it would be hard to find lower wage workers than cave men (they work for ROCKS for fuck's sake!) but this guy manages to do it. He screws over the blue collar (loin collar?) employees, cooks the books, and bends Halle Berry over a rock. The sick bastard even made Fred fire Barney. The Fiscal Cliff may cause mass uncertainty but we at least need to spare Barney Rubble the shame of being a busboy!
4. Cliffs of Dover by Eric Johnson
WHAT? This four minute instrumental song was released by the guitar virtuoso on his 1990 album “Ah Via Musicom”. Much of the song is performed by using highly skilled techniques such as hybrid picking and other
highly boring pieces of compositional information reserved for the hipster elite who think we give a fuck.
WHY IT’S SCARIER THAN THE FISCAL CLIFF: If you get trapped in a house with a guitar nerd, may God have mercy on your soul. You will attempt to join the conversation, maybe share with him (or her, wait, nevermind, it’s always a him) some music that you enjoy but it won’t happen. This asshole is the expert and “you just need to sit back and listen to the song and make sure you pay attention because you GOTTA HEAR THIS PART! LISTEN! LISTEN, THIS IS THE PART! You weren't listening were you? Hold on, let’s rewind it because you gotta hear this part, it’s the best part on the album. There is one moment on Stevie Ray Vaughn's Soul to Soul that tops it and we’ll listen to that after we finish with this album but the comparison makes sense because Eric Johnson was such a fan he named a song SRV on his Venus Isle album…” If you find yourself in this conversation, just walk out. It’s either walk out or the conversation ends with violence and police. With guitar nerds, politeness is your enemy.
3. The Movie Cliffhanger
WHAT? Released in 1993, when action movies were all formulatic re-treads of Die Hard, this is Die Hard mountain-style. It features Sly Stallone in all his mush-mouthed, gotta be on shitloads of HGH glory. I can't
trash the movie too much, because despite being recycled garbage, it’s got John Mother-Fucking Lithgow in it. I don’t care how awful Stallone is, I would watch John Lithgow read a phonebook.
WHY IT’S SCARIER THAN THE FISCAL CLIFF: The fights take place while hanging in the air around mountains. The opening sequence where Stallone drops the woman (and a teddy bear that she somehow considered necessary survival equipment for a mountain climbing expedition) still gives me nightmares. The bad guys do the whole “stealing a plane midair” thing way before Bane did, and again, fucking Lithgow. If you are afraid of heights, this movie might just be your version of “The Ring”.
2. Cliff Claven
WHO? Cliff Claven is the mild mannered postal worker who hangs out in a bar called Cheers in Boston. He has a mustache, a friendly disposition, and also appears to be armed with reams of useless information which he is looking to share with you. He appears to be the kind of person who, if you make the mistake of sitting next to him, will enlighten you with trivia until you fantasize about immolating yourself in a dramatic fashion in the same vein as Thích Quảng Đức.
WHY HE’S SCARIER THAN THE FISCAL CLIFF: You bet your ass he’s scarier. Not to be stereotypical but he is a raging alcoholic postman. Lump that in with the fact that he has remained mild mannered despite the near constant insults from Carla, Rebecca and Norm, and you have a ticking time bomb of rage…and trivia. A Cliff Claven rampage would most likely include not only blood and fury but also lesser known facts regarding the 25 most violent bar fights in Massachusetts history. The only way to avoid an incident is to listen to what he has to say. You're dead either way.
1. The cliff from the Lion King.
WHAT? The cliff that overlooks the hyena infested gorge in the Lion King. It serves as the spot for both
major plot points in the story.
WHY IT’S SCARIER THAN THE FISCAL CLIFF: It doesn't matter if you are the King of the pride lands. Get near this cliff and your ass is savannah grass. Both Scar and Mufasa wind up squeezed out of hyena colons, and why? Because Pride Rock is the scariest cliff ever imagined. You can be the baddest motherfucker on four legs with the voice of Darth Vader and you are still no match for the cliff. Even after Scar becomes king, he still manages to find himself right there on its precipice. Somehow this particular rock makes you forget its power. People may lose their mortgages, health insurance, and their very ability to earn enough money to avoid cannibalism in the next couple of weeks but does the Fiscal Cliff have two king pelts on it? The Lion King cliff wins.