Ventured out yesterday for some stamps at the Post Office, did not see anyone wearing a mask over their face, so I assume the swine flu pandemic scare is officially over.
Which is a good thing, especially for me, because I love BLT’s (bacon, lettuce, and tomato) sandwiches. I would absolutely hate to see anything conflict with that part of my life. No more trips to the Cracker Barrel for me, and that would create a hole in my world you could drive a bus through.
So today, this morning, let us develop a healthy curiosity in the world of pigs, swine creatures of media fame here of late.
Drive through the Oklahoma Panhandle and you will see it dotted with shiny tin roofs, new hog barns, there is a huge profit in the raising and caring for of hogs. But there are also drawbacks. Hogs are nasty, they produce about 8 times the waste of a human each day, they take an ocean of water to clean them up and all hog farms have huge water retention ponds to collect their waste. Potential breeding grounds for all the little ugly things that attack us and make us sick.
Eventually all this nasty bio-waste makes it thru the food chain to you.
Here’s the connection: if a commercial flight is a prime breeding ground for airborne infectious disease, consider the digs of modern hogs. Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), also known as factory farms, bring together tens of thousands of animals in quarters that make a sold-out 747 look spacious. Keeping a cap on disease in such conditions has risen to a sort of macabre art form involving the use of antibiotics (including the “non-therapeutic” use, which means that they feed the animals antibiotics as a preventative measure) to ward off the infectious diseases you might expect to thrive in such a place.
This practice has been linked to the spread of drug-resistant MRSA bacteria, but is not likely the cause of the influenza outbreak. Manure lagoons, the gigantic receptors for the millions of gallons of excrement expelled by the thousands of animals, may be the more likely culprit.
All of this beside being an obvious health nightmare presents a public relations nightmare for the hog farmer. I suppose hog farmers and pork producers would prefer we call it something else, other than swine flu. Perhaps it would be better to use the scientific name, A(H1N1) 2009 but that just seems so benign, no ring in that, where is the snap, where is the crackle and pop?
We seem to gravitate towards the outrageous, the completely insane in this country when it comes to descriptive metaphors. Calling this Swine Flu just doesn’t seem appropriate.
Look at the auto companies and the banks for instance. We use terms such as financial meltdown, bailout, huge losses, bankruptcy and other insidious terms that reek of socialism, “nationalism” comes readily to mind here. All of them basically negative in nature.
So we change it up, we refresh the negative and we call it something else. We say “unexpected profit inversion” or “asset augmentation” or “new and unique profit-partner partnerships between the private sector and the government.”
Like our now long gone moose gooser from Alaska would say … “We continue to put lipstick on the pig” and call it everything other than what it really might be. There is an old expression that goes something like this: “You can try and teach a pig to sing, but it will not work, and all you do is irritate the pig.” Call it what it is, and stop renaming all of this stuff.
We are good at this, we have after all, have been transferring blame and changing the language for years. Adultery … An affair. Abortion … Lifestyle choice. Genocide … Ethnic Cleansing. We do it all the time; a housewife is no longer a housewife, she is a domestic engineer. Used Car Salesman … Finance Specialist and the list goes on and on infinitum. A four door hoopie from Ford or General Motors is now a “sports sedan” … Television evolved to wireless cable …. which is pretty stupid really and then there is … Mercy Killing.
That one I do not understand at all. But I am usually a little slow on the uptake anyway.
Sadly one rule of life is …. “What you practice the most, is what you will become.” As long as we continue “to shade the truth” and not face it, we will have problems in this country.
The worst of it all, was not here nor was it in Israel, where they steadfast refused to call it swine flu for religious reasons, but in Afghanistan where they moved the only pig in the Kabul Zoo into a locked room out of fear of swine flu. Now that was some progressive thinking there, that saved a lot of lives no doubt.
Have to go now, I am off to check out this latest email rumor I received yesterday. It concerns a woman who left her two-year old son at a day care center yesterday morning in Seattle, and when she returned to pick him up in the afternoon he was completely grown!
Day care officials are crediting the Obama hot lunch program.
Me? I am not buying it.