Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Other White Meat Virus
For some reason, people are continuing to refer to the latest flu outbreak as "Swine Flu", despite the fact that a more accurate name would be H1N1 Virus. The most vociferous opponents of the name "Swine Flu" happen to be U.S. pork producers, who think we should call it "H1N1 Virus". Clearly their marketing department did not give this new name a lot of thought.
Where U.S. pork producers failed, Israeli politicians succeeded. In Israel, they no longer refer to the virus as "Swine Flu", but not because they worry about the fate of pork sales. Israelis deemed the name too offensive because of Jewish and Muslim sensibilities toward pork. They opted for the less-offensive name: "Mexican Influenza."
Surprisingly enough, Mexican officials are not on the same page as their Israeli counterparts. In fact, one Mexican health official, Jose Cordova, thinks we might be jumping the gun in claiming the outbreak originated in Mexico. Said Cordova, "Where did the virus come from? We don't know. Did someone come from California or did someone go from Mexico to California? We don't have that information." Cordova thinks we should call the virus, "Pinche Gringo Flu."
This name business is serious business. Maybe we should come up with some names that EVERYBODY can get behind.