So after saying this flu outbreak is perhaps too serious for me to comment on, I end up having a couple of thoughts about it last night that I thought might be worth mentioning.
I'm not saying people aren't taking this possible pandemic seriously. It's pretty obvious that lots of groups and mobilizing very quickly in the hopes of trying to stop this thing before it gets too serious. And they may well be doing a good job, as things at this moment don't appear to be escalating to the dramatic levels that people were predicting earlier the week.
What I find interesting is that people are certainly not afraid to mock this flu. There's a real strain of dark humour going on about it. That could all change in a hurry if more people start getting sick or start dying.
However, I saw images like this one on Ed's blog and this one I saw on Boing Boing yesterday, which is a riff on the infamous Twitter "Fail Whale."
And then there's The Daily Show which has been having a ball. Last night Jon Stewart was gleefully making fun of what the flu is actually called. President Obama is calling it the H1N1 flu, because apparently the pork industry is upset with it being called the Swine flu. So is Israel, because as a nation of mostly Jews, they have issues with pork. They want to call it Mexican Flu which, as you might expect, kind of upsets Mexico.
Stewart's funniest bit was actually earlier the week when the dark observation that Swine flu was now at the very bottom of the list of things that could kill you in Mexico. #1? That would be Bullet Flu. "And yes, it is airborne," Stewart dryly quipped.
Hell, even people on vacation are getting into the act. A plane full of returning Mexican vacationers landed at St. John's. And amid the fear and griping (the guy mad with Mexican tourism who knew about this earlier and didn't tell people was particularly silly) there was this comment from Drew Ennis - "I got a pretty good immune system. The tequila keeps you healthy."
So it seems right now, we have no problem laughing in the face of the flu. Here's hoping we can keep laughing for quite some time.
By the way, one further observation. Lots of people are going around saying "Well, we'll never vacation in Mexico again after this." Well, welcome to the party guys. You're a little late. Cathy and I are going to a place this summer with a wide variety of interesting ways to die, what with the saltwater crocs, sharks, jellyfish, snakes, spiders and lord knows whatever else we're forgetting.
And we decided on that with no problems because, hey, it's Australia. And you can take some precautions for that. It's still a pretty safe country. When we were thinking of going south for a vacation over Easter, we checked Mexico off the list right away. Why? Well, what with Canadians being murdered in their own hotel rooms, or mugged, or being assaulted that kind of dissuaded us a bit. Then there's the rampant corruption, unscrupulous businessman, kidnapping for profit, cops who don't give a damn, drug lords, gang warfare and whatnot, there are whole lots of interesting ways to have very bad things happen to you.
Yes, I know bad things happen all over the world. I know plenty of bad things happen in other Caribbean countries. Bad things happen in Canada. But let's just say the odds seem significantly higher than I'm really comfortable with in Mexico.
I'm sure it's a lovely country. We'd like to visit one day. Tell you what, cut down on the drug lords, corruption, muggings, murders and whatnot and we'll see what we can do. I'll bet the people living there would be awfully grateful as well. You can even have the flu if you want. Trust me, of all the reasons not to visit Mexico, well, to quote Stewart, it's pretty well at the bottom of my list.
1. Wake me up when September ends - Green Day
2. Cornflake girl (live) - Tori Amos*
3. Wrecking ball - Interpol
4. Pleas from a cat named virtue - The Weakerthans
5. I could say - Lily Allen