Once again, we’re all going to die. I hate that.
We survived the bird flu, Y2K and disco (well, some of us survived it — others are still over at Johnny’s Hideaway.) Anyway, we face yet another virus that not only threatens us physically, but also threatens our political correctness — and that is a big deal here in the land of “let’s not offend anyone” to the umpteenth degree.
Come on, we’re not even sure we don’t make people mad when we refer to Christmas as Christmas!
According to an article in the New York Times, “Pork producers question whether the term “swine flu” is appropriate, given that the new virus has not yet been isolated in samples taken from pigs in Mexico or elsewhere. While the new virus seems to be most heavily composed of genetic sequences from swine influenza virus material, it also has human and avian influenza genetic sequences as well, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.
Government officials in Thailand, one of the world’s largest meat exporters, have started referring to the disease as “Mexican flu.” An Israeli deputy health minister said his country would do the same, to keep Jews from having to say the word “swine.”
How the heck are we going to find the cure and vaccine if we don’t even agree on what to call it?
Janet Napolitano, the secretary for homeland security, and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack went out of their way at a press conference in Washington last week to refer to the virus by its scientific name: the “H1N1 virus.” Now you’re adding numbers with letters and making the whole thing more complicated. Perfect.
The pigs are mad, the pig farmers are mad, and there’s an Amway salesman in Metter, Ga., named Stan Swine who’s beside himself!
Bad stuff indeed, but as we all know, the first step in addressing a problem is knowing what to call it.
The World Organization for Animal Health, which handles veterinary issues around the world, issued a statement suggesting that the new disease should be labeled “North American influenza,” in keeping with a long medical tradition of naming influenza pandemics for the regions where they were first identified. This has included the Spanish flu of 1918 to 1919, the Asian flu of 1957 to 1958 and the Hong Kong flu of 1967 to 1968 — not to mention the lesser-known episodes of the Olongapo City Clap and the Cypress Lounge Crabs.
I know, I know, it’s serious. But how come we’re wasting time denying where the thing started and what the heck to call it?
The Mexican ambassador to Beijing was quoted as saying the virus did not originate in Mexico. According to Ambassador Guajardo, he was told by American and Canadian experts that the genetic sequence points to a Eurasian origin.
The president of Eurasia strongly denied this claim. (I’m kidding. Eurasia doesn’t have a president; they have a Supreme Poobah.)
I know, back to serious. Listen, this thing is a good reminder that we should pay scientists good money to figure this stuff out, and pay other people to name it, as not to worry that the scientists are wasting time worrying about the name.
If we name it after an animal, people get mad. If we name it after a city, we get the same response. If we add numbers between the letters, then those people who over-interpret things will go crazy trying to figure out what the hidden meaning is.
In the meantime, we waste all this effort trying to name it something that won’t offend anyone.
The only name left that won’t raise the ire of someone is the internationally accepted word “Mojo.”
The “Mojo” flu has a good flow and quite frankly sounds important — and that is the second step to addressing a problem. People who take something seriously will respond to it.
Wash your hands, use the hand sanitizers, don’t go to work or school if you’re sick and stay off the airplane if you’re sick. And cover your mouth when you sneeze and/or cough.
Taking that a step further for those up in the really, really remote regions, if you’re currently dating one, please break up with your pig.
Read up and do your little part and we’ll get through this. After this passes, and it will, we need to address the rising popularity of disco.
Seriously, fear the disco.