News & Criticism

Panic! At The…Pig Farm



The swine flu, which has actually destroyed human lives, is no laughing matter. The good news is, after a quick analysis, Science Correspondent Ron Bailey is not panicked, nor scared. Neither, it seems, is Senior Editor Brian Doherty. But as long as you're huddled in the dark corner of your computer room safe and sound, here's an interesting news (flu) flash.

Kiss Of Death

Lebanese Health Minister Mohammad Khalifeh has encouraged the country's citizens to refrain from the traditional greeting:

"If you visit someone, don't exchange kisses… Let's stop the social kissing habit," Khalifeh said. Lebanese have long greeted each other with three kisses to the cheek.

Filthy Mexicans

Orthodox Jews will not be referring to the flu as it relates to filthy pigs. So dirty are the animals that their name can't be uttered. However, Israeli Health Minister Yakov Litzman has declared "Mexican Flu" to be a fittingly swinish substitute, making it Kosher to identify a particular country with filth and disease. Apparently, Kosher does not mean "it's cool," which confuse Goyim, who still struggle with the meaning of other Jewish words, like "shmuck."

Good For Business

While markets wobble over the news of the swine flu and travel companies expect a nose-dive, there is one company that sees a potential silver green lining: Telemex, one of Mexico's phone service providers:

A rising number of phone calls from Mexicans concerned about friends and family …could increase traffic for Telmex, a company official said.

"This could be reflected like positive impact for Telmex," Chief Financial Officer Adolfo Cerezo [said].

Telemex, however, is providing a toll-free number for information about the flu.

Salma Hayek Has Swine Flu

…Well, not really. Maybe. But that's just one of the headlines used by spammers to boost online pharmacy sales, steal information and infect computers. According to InformationWeek, the panic has, "spawned a spamming frenzy, like sharks smelling blood in the water…" There has also been an outbreak of Internet domain registrations related to all things swine flu. It appears however, that and are still available.

Masked and Anonymous

Mexican sketch artists might as well give up the pen. The same goes for surveillance operators:

Three armed thieves wore the blue surgical masks now ubiquitous in flu-hit Mexico City to hide their faces as they robbed watches from a department store, Mexican media said Monday….

Employees and security guards at a branch of the Sanborns department store told the daily Excelsior the thieves were able to slip through the shop Sunday without attracting attention as they blended into a sea of masked shoppers. 

If anyone discovers that some company has been making specially designed masks meant to "enhance and accessorize the cautionary step of a pandemic while maintaining the personal touch and character of today's modern woman" please, let me know. The Japanese–as always–are ahead of the curve when it comes to being prepared for airborne viruses and looking your bestest. Along with the Chinese, they have mask fashion covered.

On a random note: A quick Google Trends search on bacon, pork chops, pork ribs and chitlins reveals little significant change over the past year, month, or week.

NEXT: Trade War Pigs

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  1. Never trust a man who owns a pig farm.

  2. shmuck is yiddish

  3. Bacon supplies remain constant. Don’t Panic

  4. The “Mexican Flu” thing is funny, no matter how you look at it. Heck, hundreds of thousands could be dead and I would still think it’s funny. I live near a pretty big russian orthodox jewish population and I’ll report if they call it Mexican or Swine.
    *crosses fingers for Mexican*

  5. “Salma Hayek Has Swine Flu”

    Which I am willing to completely overlook.

  6. German measles.

  7. Authorities in Egypt have ordered the slaughter of the nation’s 300,000 pigs.
    Who knew Egypt had pigs?*

    *The Christian minority eats pork, so it’s ok. To kill all of them.**

    **The pigs, not the Christians. Yet.

  8. Spanish influenza

  9. Kane’s madness

  10. From the new DPA feature “Nerves in Mexico City on edge over swine flu”

    ‘I’m going crazy,’ lawyer Fernanda Salles told German Press Agency dpa.

    The mother of two girls opted to take her work home after the government closed city schools from last Friday until at least May 6.

    ‘I sit down to work a little, I stay with the girls a little. It’s crazy,’ the working mother explained.


    There is no daycare, school, or cinema. The authorities recommend keeping young children at home. And, of course, people have to keep working.

    They do not even have the option of taking the family out to lunch, because Mexico City authorities have banned restaurants from serving food on their premises to hinder the propagation of the virus. People can only resort to take-away.

    According to the video-rental company Blockbuster, rentals have soared since the outbreak began. The chain usually rents out some 70,000 films on the average day across Mexico, 20,000 of them in Mexico City.

    ‘Now we are 20 per cent above the same week last year,’ Blockbuster’s commercial director Eduardo Porras told dpa.

    The most popular picks are action films, comedies and children’s titles. Employees hand them out wearing face masks, and they clean their hands with bactericidal gel.


    ‘I had to pace down my rhythm of work. Today I no longer wanted to come to the office, but I had to. In the coming days I am determined to cut down on (time in) the office to the absolute minimum,’ said Pilar Velasco, 43.

    Velasco, an insurance agent, usually travels all around the city [every day] to take care of her clients.

    Some supermarkets have registered panic buying.

    ‘I am scared that things may run short, or that the authorities could give the order that no one can leave home. I plan to buy at least enough for a month,’ Velasco said.

    Since the weekend, families have been pushed into the intense experience of having to live together all day, for days on end.

    ‘I tell my husband that after this you are going to have the births of the children of influenza, or there are going to be queues at the civil registry office due to the large number of divorce filings,’ said Esther de Sandoval, a mother-of-two who has been locked down at home since Friday.

  11. French pox.

    Asian flu.

  12. In movie news… has just been picked up by Quentin Tarantino to promote his upcoming remake of Deliverance.

  13. the picture looks more like a sheep or a dogs snout.

  14. Obamian malaise

  15. Moshe,

    in re: …other Jewish words, like “shmuck.”

    When referring to the language, “Jewish” generally means Yiddish, not Hebrew.

  16. I don’t see what the big deal is over the flu anyway. I only affects men and cops.

  17. David,

    He changed it to “Jewish” from “Hebrew.” I mean my name is Moshe for G-d’s sake, I think I’d know the difference 🙂

  18. The swine flu, which has actually destroyed human lives, is no laughing matter.

    Shame on you, Daily Show!

  19. WTF Jeff? Making the Chinese/Japanese mistake is bad enough. But claiming the same girls are both is beyond the pale yellow.

  20. Are Jew’s really forbidden from acknowledging the existence of swine? I can’t think of any other reason for the Israeli name change.

  21. Israeli Health Minister Yakov Litzman has declared “Mexican Flu” to be a fittingly swinish substitute,

    Actually, I think “Mexican Flu” may have already been taken, by gringos foolish enough to drink the water.

  22. The US is officially calling the swine flu, H1N1, its scientific name. I heard that the pig products industry was suffering from panic over the pig flu, so I bought and ate a package of baccon for breakfast to help prop them up. The name change in US announcements is partly an attempt to minimize the damage to the US pig products industry.

  23. The Jerusalem Post is still calling it the swine flu. They also have a 1999 article in their archive mentioning a swine flu, so I don’t think there’s any particular opposition against calling it the swine flu among the majority of Israelis.

    The English language version of the Israeli Ministry of Health website doesn’t mention swine flu or Mexican flu. Instead it mentions “Influenza Activity”. This week’s report on Influenza Activity mentions H1N1-like viruses, so it looks like Israeli government is using the same naming conventions as the CDC.

  24. Massachusetts. S18 gives the Governor the power to authorize the deployment and use of force to distribute supplies and materials and local authorities will be allowed to enter private residences for investigation and to quarantine individuals.
    us news Swine Flu Martial Law Bill Clears Massachusetts Senate

    The Associated Press reports:

    The Massachusetts Senate has unanimously passed a pandemic flu preparation bill that has languished in the Legislature before the recent swine flu outbreak.

    The 36-0 vote today sends the measure to the House. Both branches have taken it up in past years, but have not been able to agree on the details.

    The new Senate version would allow the public health commissioner – in a public health emergency – to close or evacuate buildings, enter private property for investigations, and quarantine individuals.

    The bill specifically mandates the following:

    (1) to require the owner or occupier of premises to permit entry into and investigation of the premises;
    (2) to close, direct, and compel the evacuation of, or to decontaminate or cause to be decontaminated any building or facility, and to allow the reopening of the building or facility when the danger has ended;…

    Any person who knowingly violates an order of the commissioner or his or her designee, or of a local public health authority or its designee, given to effectuate the purposes of this subsection shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than 6 months, or by a fine of note more than one thousand dollars, or both.

  25. All Yiddish words refer to genitals or food.

    “Oi, get your Schungem out of my Lemobyen!”

  26. Are Jews really forbidden from acknowledging the existence of swine? I can’t think of any other reason for the Israeli name change.

    I would suggest that the more probable reason for the name change is that they didn’t want religious Jews to (naively) equate a flu diagnosis with a failure to keep kosher by avoiding pork products. As in, “I’ve got the swine flu? OMG, now everyone at the synagogue is going to think I’ve been eating bacon on the sly!”

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