Tag: viral epidemics

Is Anyone Surprised?

I have to give credit to right-wing extremists. They didn’t immediately turn the swine-flu epidemic into a xenophobic witch hunt against Hispanics.

They waited a few days.

Perhaps that was to gather their thoughts. Although if that is the case, I’m not sure why they bothered, because the empty, tired rants aimed at Latinos are shocking not for their offensiveness, but for their predictability.

A virus originates in Mexico, for reasons that scientists still cannot explain, but anonymous commentators have the answer: Because Latinos are dirty and “Mexicans are pigs!” (an actual posting to a conservative website).

Illegal immigrants are to blame, according to other wise sages, and will soon infect us all. Meanwhile, still other rational minds postulate that the outbreak is actually a terrorist attack, instigated by germ-warfare experts who are counting on Mexicans to infiltrate the country.

Actually, that last one gets bonus points for combining three right-wing obsessions (immigration, terrorist evil-doers, and conspiratorial plots) into a parfait of pure insanity.

This kind of hatemongering goes back to the Middle Ages, when Jews became a convenient scapegoat for the Black Death. Since then, the Irish, Italians, Spaniards, gays, and many others have been blamed for nature’s occasional hissy fits with us.

As MSNBC points out, “It’s ‘the other,’ the group not seen as part of the nation, the one who threatens it in some way that gets blamed for the disease.”

So Mexicans, already accused of bringing down America’s economy and values, are now destroying our health as well.

Well, it’s clear what we have to do: Let’s focus all our fear and rage on Edgar Hernandez, the five-year-old Mexican boy who has been identified as Patient Zero in this outbreak. Just look at him. Who knows what vile plot he’ll unleash on us next…

1_64_swine_flu_boy_320


Cough Cough

Thanks to Betty for her generous comments on my last post (“The Horror, The Horror”). She’s correct that the “The Fog” is worth watching again and again.

Thanks also, of sorts, to Eva. I believe that she meant to comment my recent post “Mi Casa Es Su Casa…” but she posted to the wrong topic. However, I’ve decided to leave her remarks under the “About the Author” section for the time being, if for no other reason than people can see that I’m not being paranoid when I assert that Latinos are being blamed for the housing crises. Most interesting was Eva’s assertion that as soon as the Hispanics in her area were foreclosed upon, “the sun began to shine again.” This verifies what I’ve thought all along: Latinos can control the weather.

Speaking of Latino-centric disasters, by now you’ve no doubt heard about the killer flu that originated in Mexico. Dozens of people are dead in that country, and cases have sprung up in the United States. In all likelihood, this virus – an offshoot of swine flu – will run its course long before the country turns into something out of Stephen King’s “The Stand.” Just in case, however, I suggest you check out that sore throat that’s been bothering you.

The flu outbreak has forced me to tack on an unpleasant addendum to my recent post about hugging. As I stated in that piece, Latinos love to hug, and warm embraces of even casual acquaintances are frequent in Hispanic culture. As such, it must have come as a shock to the Mexican populace that, in addition to fearing for their lives, they are being told to avoid hugging and that there should be “no kissing to say hello” and “no close contact” with others.

That’s right – the Latino impulse to embrace people may help to spread the virus. As such, good Hispanics everywhere must abruptly turn into Swedes and Norwegians, out of the fear that a quick squeeze of a friend could lead to an unpleasant death for everyone involved.

Of course, being forced to limit physical interaction is psychologically upsetting to people of any culture, but even more so for Latinos. As one Mexican woman said, “Mexico is a social place. People like to go out and be together. The sickness has taken that away.”

And it’s also taken away, at least temporarily, the Latino drive to be affectionate and demonstrative. That means no hugging, my amigos.

The most disturbing thing about this epidemic – aside from the inconvenient potential it has to cause whole civilizations to collapse – is that it has turned what we always viewed as a virtue into a detriment.

Latinos now have to wonder if maybe those Scandinavians, with their virus-killing cold weather and contagion-limiting handshakes, are on to something after all.

Mexico Swine Flu


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