Thursday, April 30, 2009

Some Things Are More Important Than A Pandemic

By Darryl Mason

The biggest story in the United States today is the "imminent" pandemic of Swine Flu/Pork Fever/Frankenstein Flu/H1N1/Bacon Lung. Right?


At least, it's not at KFSN-TV in Fresno California :

The very popular video of a 61 year old Californian cannabis grower standing out front of a courthouse, unpacking, weighing and then repacking the twelve pounds of medicine (to check it was all there) that has just been returned to him by police, by order of a judge, can be viewed here.

More on that story and America's news obsession with cannabis stories here.

As I mentioned yesterday, while Bacon Lung, or Pork Throat (it is an upper respiratory virus) is at the top of the evening news, as the World Health Organisation raises its pandemic alert level from 5 to 6, the Australian media is having a hard time selling this story to a mostly skeptical public. There are still no deaths in Australia from it, there is no celebrity connection to it, yet, and outside of colourful heat scans of airport arrivees, and I Am Legend-like projections of what life will be like during and after a full-blown influenza pandemic, the rest of the visual story of what's actually going on is not very exciting to watch.

At all.

And readers of online daily newspapers in Australia couldn't be less interested. For now.

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Outside of The Australian, not one pre-pandemic or H1N1 influenza-related story makes the Most Popular Stories lists in the Murdoch online tabloids. In Sydney's Daily Telegraph, what may be one of the biggest story in a generation doesn't even rate in the Top Ten most viewed :

Readers of the Fairfax online newspapers are only slightly more interested, and only because Hugh Jackman's cancelled a premiere for his new movie in Mexico :

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All the Australian media would get more readers clicking on swine flu headlines if they called it Pork Throat. Or Bacon Lung. Or Year Long Sex Celebrity Weight Loss Alien Flu.

Public disinterest will change if an 'Oh, Fuck! Pandemic!' leads to the cancellation of the State Of Origin, of course, or if any of the following becomes reality :

* Belinda Neil returns from Mexico with Mad Pig Brain Fever, causing her to rant about "demon babies" and the poor service of wine bar restuarants in Mexico.

* International cricket players wind up on a slab.

* Long dead Osama Bin Laden announces in a "new video" that Al Qaeda bioweapons specialists released the virus to end the Allah-insulting American lust for deep-fried bacon.

* Barry Hall goes into 'voluntary' home isolation, coughing blood.

* The entire casts of Neighbours and Home & Away decide to do some "location shooting" on a remote, uninhabited island in the WhitSundays for the next six months.

* Mel & Kochie start broadcasting their morning show from the top of a 100 foot tower, surrounded by a moat of fire, in a remote Queensland rain forest.

* The Footy Show hosts appear in biosuits, or in glass bubbles.

* Federal parliament decides to "temporarily relocate" to a huge sealed plastic dome on top of Uluru.

* It turns out that 10% of all H1N1 victims are likely to turn into brain-hungry zombies.

US Vice President Says New Flu So Dangerous He's Already Warned His Family To Stay Out Of Planes, Trains And Automobiles - But When Did He Warn Them?