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The Curly Pink Tail Wagging the Dog

April 30, 2009

Pink Floyd Pig

I’VE BEEN WONDERING what makes this swine flu so terrifying. Which is to say, why is the TV telling me to be terrified of it? Does it kill a higher percentage of those who come down with it? Does it spread more easily? Is it an extraordinarily painful way to die? Don’t something like 36,000 people die from ‘regular flu’ each year in the US? Is this virus worse than that?

Probably not:

…the current outbreak of the H1N1 virus … may not even do as much damage as the run-of-the-mill flu outbreaks that occur each winter without much fanfare.

[LA Times: Scientists see this flu strain as relatively mild]

About what I expected.

Media outlets. Do they willfully incite mass hysteria to keep viewers glued to their sets with bated breath for the next terrifying development, or from the fear their next inhalation may be teeming with infectious spirits? Or are they, as a collection of individuals susceptible to their own worries, incapable of overcoming a kind of fear-induced myopia of uncertainty about the hidden meaning unstated implications of official CDC-type pronouncements?

To put it another way: Are they fucking with us, or just not good at their fucking jobs?

[H/T: IOZ]

  1. thepuppethead permalink
    May 2, 2009 8:24 AM

    I think both. They make lots of money yelling, ‘FIRE!’ in crowded theaters. Seemingly, that sells a lot of bathroom tissue, cheetos, and office supplies.

    I mean, we get teasers like, “Will swine flu kill your children? Find out at 10.”

    To be fair, I hate them less for the swine flu coverage than I do for just about everything else…. because all the freaking out actually may have served the purpose of lowering transmission rates. The flu might be mildish now, but the smaller the outbreak the less chance the stuff will spread widely in the southern hemisphere, mutate, and come back and kill us all in the fall.

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