Why I will not cover swine flu today

WHEREAS you are getting all-swine-flu all-the-time coverage elsewhere, and

WHEREAS there is far, far too much noise on Twitter, even as one can still tease out some decent coverage, including @veratect), and

WHEREAS the trouble here appears to be a unique combination of avian-swine-human virus — making the virus more easily transmitted and dangerous to humans — and to me this genetic combination conjures up visions of microscopic cloven-hoofed birds with human heads circling around me in swarms, and

WHEREAS Tom Philpott is asking good questions about the connection between swine flu and a Smithfield Farm-owned Mexican CAFO, and

WHEREAS I am as opposed to CAFOs as anyone I know, and believe these questions should be asked, especially in light of a Pew report on the potential for CAFOs to create pandemic influenza virus transmission, yet feel it’s way premature to report the CAFO-influenza as fact as others have done, and

WHEREAS CAFOs in general, and Smithfield in particular, are wholly nasty, and fully deserving of scrutiny whether or not they are the smoking gun in this particular pandemic,

WHEREAS meanwhile others are blaming the swine flu on their own favorite scapegoats —  Big Pharma, secret government programs, military weapons, those dirty immigrants, Donald Rumsfeld — and reading these theories make me want to make a hat out of tinfoil, and

WHEREAS Michelle Bachmann is saying that it’s an “interesting coincidence” that the last swine flu outbreak came also under a democratic president, and yet is completely wrong in her facts, and

WHEREAS Salon did an interesting piece on that last big swine flu epidemic (which happened under Ford, yo), which can be considered a cautionary tale to how we respond today, and

WHEREAS the whole thing makes me feel sad and weary and under assault, and

WHEREAS the only thing I can really do about all of this anyway is wash my hands and rest and exerciese and make sure my family is doing the same, and

NOW THEREFORE let it be decreed that I will not be covering Swine Flu today. I will, however, steer you to the site of Stephan Zielinski, who turned the amino acid sequence of swine flu into a work of ambiant music, which is far more relaxing than anything I’ve heard on the teevee news report.

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2 Responses to “Why I will not cover swine flu today”


  1. 1 Meredith April 29, 2009 at 7:27 pm

    There was a letter home from my daughter’s school on Monday outlining what will happen should the flu spread to her school’s student body and some people in NYC have taken to wearing surgical masks when riding the subway. People are getting pretty flustered over it all. I’ve mostly ignored the constant coverage but I have to laugh whenever I read an article and it says that it is still OK to eat bacon. Is that really where people’s priorities are, that their main concern is whether or not they can still have bacon? Wait, don’t answer that…it’s probably too depressing!

  2. 2 Vikki May 1, 2009 at 2:39 pm

    These are the times when I especially enjoy living with an epidemiologist for the state health department. Seriously. She keeps it real for me and puts things into perspective.


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