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Friday, May 01, 2009

Days of Swine and Bozos

As if there aren't enough bullshit non-stories floating around these days to make sensible folks wonder what the fuck is up with some people, along comes this swine flu nonsense. It's bad enough to frequently lambaste morons for turning their brains to soup with reality teevee, but even worse to actually wish they'd turn the news off and go back to watching Erik Estrada and Gary Coleman swap wives and/or sock drawers.

So the genuises in the media spent all last week stoking the panic and hysteria, and all this week pretending to talk the idjits out of their trees, that gee, maybe it's not the return of the 1918 Spanish flu after all. Well, no fucking shit, Columbo. It ain't The Stand either, much as you might like it to be.

The coolest news segments have been the ones with the field reporter going to a local feedlot, or better yet, the animal husbandry unit at the local college. Standing near or even in a pen full of pigs, mumbling stupid nothings about a flu whose most notable characteristic is that it's out of season, ending the segment with an ominous still shot of biosecurity warnings over the pen.

What they consistently fail to explain is that those warnings are there to protect the pigs, not the humans. See, flu kills in places that either have completely inadequate medical care, very high population densities, and/or subpar animal housing conditions. So with humans, it's in Third World shitholes where people breed like rabbits and sewage flows through the streets and they have open-air live-animal meat markets with no pretense of basic sanitation. In other words, Texas.

But since factory farming dictates that livestock be housed cheek-to-jowl and knee-deep in their own filth, their health is compromised very easily, even with all the antibiotics they're fed. So hog and chicken farms have to post biosecurity warnings and screen visitors -- except, apparently, when some knucklehead camera crew shows up to get a new angle on their ongoing scare-the-fuck-out-of-the-rubes series.

Don't get me wrong -- the danger from a quickly-transmitted virus is very real, and has catastrophic potential. But this isn't it; when the real deal occurs, you'll know it, and there won't be time to do these jive-ass hand-wringing news updates and school-closings. And if people really wanted a smart takeaway from this latest round of scaremongering, they'd consider their food and its sources, the interdependence of their commodities suppliers and the far-flung just-in-time system that trucks Smithfield hams 2,000 miles to the Piggly Wiggly and gets them NAFTA-berries from Chile in the middle of December.

But that's an awfully big if. People were getting buttfucked at the gas pump last summer, and resolutely vowed then and there to drive smaller and smarter -- until gas came down. They've already forgotten, and will continue to do so until the price heads back up, which is about the only reliable indicator (and maybe not even then) that the economy might actually improve. They're getting robbed blind by crooked financiers and their congressional cronies, but instead of taking a few Madoffs out feet first, what you get is a bunch of dead-enders teabagging each other in the park and shouting meaningless, ass-backwards slogans at each other. Why should this be any different?

Few plagues have ever been as contagious and as ultimately destructive as pure stupidity.

3 comments:

Caveat said...

Egg-fucking-zactly!

If you haven't read Not on the Label, check it out. What's truly scary is that 'just-in-time' thing, as you point out.

The Vile Scribbler said...

So with humans, it's in Third World shitholes where people breed like rabbits and sewage flows through the streets and they have open-air live-animal meat markets with no pretense of basic sanitation. In other words, Texas.I'm totally stealing that.

blackholeofcalcutta said...

I'm from Texas and I agree with just about everything you said, EXCEPT the part about "in other words, Texas." Couldn't you have substituted Kalifornia, or Arizona for that matter?
oh well, good column anyway