Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Great Equalizer!

I spent the better part of yesterday afternoon looking for an illustration of the Swine Flu virus. Variations of the same theme kept coming up - a combination of the swine flu paired with the avian flu. It also illustrates when you should take this post seriously.

The poor maligned pig. For some time now pigs, along with their fellow barn yard companions, are being blamed for our noxious gas problem. Now they carry a flu strain, along with one carried by another of it's barn yard companions, that's creating havoc around the world. In the name of differentiating it from the "bird" flu, researchers dubbed it the "swine" flu.

Who ever would have thought a name would cause such an uproar! Even more, who would ever have thought doing so would have given the United States common ground with both the Muslim and Jewish communities! An Israeli health official wanted to rename it the "Mexican" flu, not so much because it has been the area hardest hit, but because both the Jewish and Muslims consider pigs unclean and are forbidden to eat it. This was perceived as an insult! I don't quite get the connection, but then, that's me! Needless to say the Mexicans weren't too keen on the idea; they're taking it on the chin pretty hard as is with their drug wars.

Then the good old US of A chimed in. Realizing it was not a good idea to besmirch entire nations, they found themselves in a quandary. You see, by calling it the swine flu it could have devastating effects on our pork industry especially when people are having a hard enough time bringing home the bacon. What to do!

In their infinite wisdom they cam up with a pretty innocuous identifier. H1N1 . There is an H and an N in all flu viruses and the fact that there is already a human strain H1N1 makes things a little confusing, but then who's asking?

Maybe I've been underestimating the power of the Obama administration's silvery tongue. Change the name, fuzzy up the context and put everyone at ease. I expect it will work as well as changing the term "Global War on Terror" to the "Overseas Contingency Operation." Change the name, fuzzy up the context and put everyone at ease.

Nope. Won't work. Think "Freedom Fries"!

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