Spelling “Swine Flu”


The Black Death and its victims

The Black Death and its victims


The bandwagon infests every area of public life anymore. We cannot seem to go anywhere unless we’ve mounted our hobbyhorse du jour. Politics has always been thus: an Obama bandwagon, a Hillary bandwagon. In my pathetic State of New Jersey one can witness the former U.S. Attorney Christopher Christy duking it out with former Mayor of Someplace, Steve Lonegan,  over who is more conservative.

I like Cat Stevens’ concept of a Peace Train far better–but now someone will come to my house and subject me to waterboarding because Stevens–or whatever he calls himself now–is a Muslim, and the new Conservative article of faith is that waterboarding is not torture if you apply it to Muslims.

Everyone line up, children, hop on board the train of your choice.

The new bandwagon is Swine Flu. A couple of people get sick. Unfortunately, a few people on the vulnerable side of the aisle happen to die. And that is sufficient to revive a hoax from the 1970s.

I keep picturing myself growing trotters and my nose squaring into a hog snout. “Oh God, I’m sick.” The Hormel meat packing plant begins to look irresistible. Must be that Freud was right in Beyond the Pleasure Principle: in fact we all court death.

The bandwagon mentality reigns here and also offshore. Planes won’t fly. People can’t leave Mexico. People won’t shake hands.

All this because 19 people in Mexico died.

At my church yesterday, the Rector said she would not shake anyone’s hand if they are fearful of infection. I shook her hand. “Welcome to England, July 1348,” I said. “I think it’s a hoax.”

“Maybe not quite a hoax,” she said, “but everyone’s panicking out of proportion. People who sit around chainsmoking and drinking heavily worry over a respiratory ailment.”

You get a cold and next thing you know you’re snorting like you’re awaiting slaughter that Iowa abbatoir.

My Companion’s son raised an interesting issue. What is really behind this? Who is covering up something involving Mexico? Maybe this is really part of the undeniable border horrors of the drug and gun trades. Maybe this is a cooperative subterfuge concocted between the U.S. and Mexico to conceal something that’s going on down there. Get our attention off a real live border war by focusing on bullshit. Because that’s what this is.

Of course, I don’t know that’s the cause behind the cause. He doesn’t know either. But whatever is going on, it’s certainly not about someone getting a bad cold. The rest is subterfuge and lies. Spell it either “Hoax” or “Communal Panic Attack.” Things haven’t changed all that much since the Salem witch madness of 1692.

Rush Limbaugh today blamed the hysteria on Obama mind-control and “drive-by media” complicity. I guess that’s a step up from blaming Jews as well-poisoners. I blame it on a generation of pretend parents who home-school their kids rather than exposing them to the real world where you might scrape a knee or encounter the polluted political environment of the nation’s chief OxyMoron.


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