Today's Question -
The difference between swine flu and regular flu is... ?
Yep, I have 'flu-like symptoms'. Whilst I haven't been to the doctor (and nor shall I bother), I'm just going to take it as read that I have the dread lurgy swine flu. Dread lurgy or no, it seems the only sensible response is to wig out and go completely batshit. Mind you, that's not to say that I can't wail, gnash my teeth, run melancholy mad, and type at the same time. With my brain as Pandora's box, it seems the only thing left is the autonomic qwerty function.
I expect you're probably sitting there thinking, 'Wah! Nobody you are really great!'. Well, yes I am, and modest with it, but you might want to think again. Because if you've read this far, and you're not wearing a mask, you're infected too. Sucked in! You didn't know that you can catch swine flu merely by reading an infected blog did you? Well you can. What with running melancholy mad, I figure if I'm going to die screaming (and typing), I may as well take you all with me. Don't argue, the Jim Jones logic is iron clad. Anyway, you've only a few hours left and as soon as you've finished here you should rush out and get that CD of Larry King reading the old testament.
You, me, Larry King, we're all fucked. It's a pandemic! BTW - the word pandemic is a combination of 'dem' which means 'people' and 'panic' which means 'panic'. Therefore, everyone must go bonzo zonko. I certainly am. Right this minute, I am at the public library nude from the waist down with a bowl of blancmange clapped on my head singing the Yah Di Bucketty song. As I type, sure enough. In between times I periodically yell, 'Back off man! I've got swine flu and I'm not afraid to cough!"
Seriously though, swine flu (otherwise known by its kosher name of H1N1) is so singular and horrific that everything we ever knew about flu, or illness, or anything at all, must now be thrown out the window. If swine flu makes no sense, then clearly it's your common sense that's coming up short.
There is only one way to view swine flu and that is with your brain locked in a paroxysm of fear. Which goes some way in explaining how otherwise sensible people like Lee Lin Chin on Australia's SBS news thought it right to declare that the swine flu toll in Australia now stands at 1400 or so. Um, Lee Lin, as much as I admire that Hong Kong private school clipped enunciation of yours, your English actually leaves a lot to be desired. This on account of the fact that 'toll' means 'number of dead people'. As you and I both know, the actual 'toll' of swine flu in Australia is 'zero'. Or to express it as a percentage, that would be, um... zero.
Apparently, the concept of zero was a very late arrival in the field of mathematics. Funnily enough, I just recently saw a documentary by Terry Jones (my second favourite Monty Python member) that charted the whole history of zero. But it seems that Jones failed to consider another theory as to why it took so long for humans to get their heads around the concept. What if the very thought of zero filled the human mind with terror and gave people a variety of brain freeze? That would certainly explain why every single person on the telly here, keen to tell us how big a deal swine flu is, baulks at mentioning that not one single person has died from it.
Okay, okay, people have died from swine flu. What's the toll in the US now? Mysteriously it's no longer being mentioned in the news. Somehow I suspect that it's not as high as the 30,000 or so who die in every other regular flu season. Would I be right in thinking that the US toll isn't so much in the tens of thousands, or thousands, or hundreds, but actually in the tens? The low tens? Funnily enough this would qualify swine flu as a something very special - the least fatal flu ever.
Oh, wait, that spot would have to belong to bird flu. Anyone remember that? It was going to kill us all. It was such a big deal that when I went to Shanghai for a job at the height of the bird flu scare, everyone thought I was crazy - even the Chinese, ha ha. I remember sitting in a Hainan-Chicken restaurant with a dozen guys all keen to know if I wasn't scared of catching bird flu. I merely asked them if they knew anyone with bird flu, or even if they knew anyone who knew anyone with bird flu. Ha, a table full of Chinese boys scratching their heads. Perhaps bird flu is bullshit, boys. You ever think of that?
And then there was the head of Vietnam's bird-flu programme who declared that the bird flu 'cure', Tamiflu, was precisely as efficacious as a placebo and, to all intents and purposes, completely worthless. Bloody foreigners! What would they know? Best we pay them no attention. I wonder if Donald Rumsfeld, a major shareholder in Gilead, the makers of Tamiflu, got on the phone and had that tiresome gook killed? Says our Donald - "We'll teach him to forget who won the war!"
Never mind those worthless foreign jibber-jabberers, how about that virologist at the Australian National University? He declared the swine flu virus was man-made, the product of a lab. That story made the Melbourne Age and then sank without a trace. Quite right too. Bloody experts! What would they know? As for his theorising that the virus must have escaped from the lab accidentally, um... yeah, it's not a complete impossibility I suppose. But between that and the virus being deliberately released by murderous motherfuckers, it's pretty long odds. Hey Prof! Stick to the viruses mate. Leave the theorising about murderousness, or lack thereof, to people who don't have their heads glued to a microscope.
Like Aangirfan! Sure enough, everyone's favourite school girl collective had this thing pegged as a psy-op on day one. And given the inverse ratio of hype to actuality you'd have to say the Caledonian convent crew are right. But a psy-op to what end? As yet another episode in the perpetual instillment of fear, it's looking like something of a washout. With the zero death rate here, Australians (or those who don't have an autocue in front of them) aren't taking much of it seriously. The TV news briefly carried a story of people having 'swine flu parties', à la kids and measles. Sure enough some party-pooper health official drone declared that this was a bad idea. Good luck with that, mate! Between you and zero, only one of them isn't bullshit.
But wondering at the psy-op, it seems the question is - have the death cult PTB got it wrong? Were they hoping that more would die? Right this minute, are the creators of this virus being scolded? "You told us that this would have a 25% mortality rate! What do we pay you for? We'd be better off with monkeys!" Or perhaps the psychological warfare mob are copping it? "You told us that there would be mass panic! What do we pay you for, etc. etc."
Or perhaps this dip in public credibility is intended - so that when the predicted (which is to say 'prepared') mutation arrives and the bodies start piling up, the effect will be even stronger? "See, we warned you about this and you didn't take us seriously and you were off having your silly parties while we were busy building internment camps and now you've only yourselves to blame if you're behind barbed wire."
But who knows how all this will go? Not me. All I know is that I have the flu. Okay, so let's times me by 1400 and we've got a bigger number. Now times it by zero. Hmm... 1400 x 0 = 0. Put this with zero WMD's, and with zero al qaeda, and perhaps we can make a rule? Nobody's media rule - Media hype is in inverse proportion to reality. Which is to say, the bigger the story and the more people there are intent on telling us that we must be scared, the greater the likelihood, and degree, of bullshit. Ha! Never mind the bowl of blancmange, I'm a bloody genius!
Answer to today's question - Beats me!