The Obama Administration is finally getting ahead of this health care crisis: Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack have told reporters to stop calling this virus the “Swine” Flu — suggesting the ever-so-hip “H1N1′ virus. While it was the pork businesses that led to the change in nomenclature, Israel is moving to drop the reference due to religious objections to pork. It appears that even catching a swine-based flu is religiously problematic. The Obama Administration appears to have rejected “the virus formerly known as Swine Flu.”
“H1N1 virus” is a bit of a mouthful. Saying “I am down with “H1N1” sounds like you are good at the latest Wii game or you are entertaining a Star Wars droid. Besides, if we are going to substitute negative uses of pork we would be left with calling weight gain “H1N1y” instead of porky. Wasting effort on the unappreciative or unsophisticated would become “throwing pearls before H1N1. Indeed, consider what happens to such famous (albeit negative uses) in movies. Bette Davis in Of Human Bondage would be left with “You dirty H1N1! I never cared for you, not one bit. I was always making a fool of ya.”
Yet, using my favorite alternative, “Bacon Lung,” would probably not go over well with the pig people.
Israel’s move against the term misses the marketing opportunity revealed this week with an Imam citing the Swine Flu to show the superiority of the Muslim faith.
I doubt that this is going to be terribly successful. The Obama Administration may have to simply require the use of the word “swine” in a positive way. The President could refer to a friendly prime minister “as solid as a swine” or refer to the dollar “as solid as a swine.” Better yet, the Pork Industry could running commercials that say things like “There No Such Thing as Mad Swine Disease” or “Swines Do Not Pass Flu, People Pass Flu” or “Porky the Pig Was a Swine.” It could also quote Ryanair president Michael O’Leary that only slumdwellers get swine flu. Problem solved.
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