June 20, 2005
The Bubble Bubble
Maybe it’s supposed to be a brick — but a brick is solid.
Maybe it’s supposed to be a concrete block — but a concrete block has a two hollow cells in the middle.
Maybe it’s supposed to be a basement extruded from the ground with the house removed — but a basement wouldn’t have sloping interior sides.
Or, maybe it’s something else. Maybe a trough. Yes, a real estate trough!
If there is no way to tell what this thing is, it could be because the
event everyone is predicting has been granted substance without a form.
At this point, it seems there isn’t a major news publication that hasn’t
gone on record as predicting a housing meltdown. In a funny way,
however, the media obsession only exemplifies a reverse version of the
same group think that took hold during the dot com mania. Only in this
case, the only thing certain is that the sky will fall.
If this brick-like thing indicates confusion about the nature of the
catastrophe, its altitude suggest just as much ambiguity about its
Consider the height of this object. Because the viewer is
situated at eye level with the clouds, and the thing is even higher
than that, this object is pretty high. (It’s like you were sitting in
the window seat of a large passenger jet and this was your view out of
the window.) The suggestion is that the meltdown might still be far
from hitting the ground.
As much as there is concern for the housing market, however, what these
incessant predictions are really about is fear. But not fear for the
housing market specifically, so much as the fear that yet another blow
might befall America that would once again catch people "out of the
What I think TE really should have put on this cover
was not a building material-like object, but an actual bubble. Because
that is what people are expecting to burst. As a general defense, the
country has embraced the fantasy that nothing bad can happen — just as
long as we name the threat in advance, and then expect it to arrive.
(image: The Economist Magazine. June 18, 2005)
December 26, 2012
March 1, 2008
October 20, 2005
May 24, 2013
August 17, 2013
August 14, 2012
December 7, 2013
October 29, 2015
April 19, 2015
January 1, 2007
July 13, 2010
May 20, 2017
December 8, 2008
June 12, 2013
November 16, 2010
June 8, 2004
December 3, 2015
March 21, 2016