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30 April 2009

“It’s killing our markets.  Where they got the name, I just don’t know.”

(Iowa hog farmer  Francis Gilmore)

I donno, from swine, maybe?

Apparently, insulting the nation that identified the disease, and took radical steps to control the infection is better than stigmatizing an animal that is taboo.  Or something like that.

Pork producers rightly point out that you can’t get the flu from EATING pork (though it probably was transmitted to people by live pigs, sneezing on people), so I can understand why pork producers might want to rebrand the stigma attached to their main resource, but doesn’t it make sense that if you believe that dead swine are something to be avoided in any case, you might think twice about making them less objectionable?  (Sombrero tip to “Lawyers, Guns and Money“):

Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman said the reference to pigs is offensive to both religions and “we should call this Mexican flu and not swine flu,” he told a news conference at a hospital in central Israel.

One creative type on Free Republic suggested rebranding the disease “Montezuma’s Final Solution” — which is, I have to admit, kinda witty — but it’s interesting that the same folks who complain about “political correctness”‘ are falling all over themselves to rebrand this illness in an attempt to “blame” Mexico… “Mexican Flu” is a favorite with these folks. At least, like “Hong Kong Flu” it has some historicity in recalling where the disease vector originated.

The 1918 Spanish Flu, incidentally, didn’t originate in Spain,but in North America… specifically the American midwest, probably also a mutated pig disease. It was thought to have been carried to Europe by American troops during the First World War, when health conditions in the belligerent countries made them ripe for an epidemic. However, the belligerents were all under strict press censorship at the time, and public health emergencies were not being publicized. Relatively backwards Spain, being a neutral country, had a freer press than France or England, let alone Germany or Austria, and was where the first reporting on the disease came from.

I’d prefer to call this latest “H1N1 virus” (the preferred bureaucratic name in the United States) either “Porky’s Revenge” or “corporate agriculture caused anarchy” — or “CACA” for short.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. 30 April 2009 8:21 am

    Personally I’m fine with “Smithfield Flu”

  2. Mary O'Grady permalink
    30 April 2009 10:06 am

    H1N1 is actually scientifically accurate– it’s the nomenclature based on the specific characteristics of this strain of the flu virus.

  3. 30 April 2009 2:31 pm

    I heard it on the radio we should call it A/H1N1 but in the house, where we speak Romanian or Italian we could refer to tit as the caca pandemia*(the c word in Ro/It= poo)which of course will confuse us more.

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