quoted with comments

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed Apr 29 14:17:26 UTC 2009

At 3:45 AM -0700 4/29/09, James A. Landau <JJJRLandau at netscape.com> wrote:
>In the most babyish political move since Governor Mark Sanford's
>tear-shed, Israeli Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman has renamed
>the "Swine Flu."

Actually, the association of pork producers, whatever it's called,
has already weighed in on this, but not for religious reasons.  Since
it's from a combo of bird, human, and pig sources, they would like us
henceforth to distribute the blame by referring to the proto-pandemic
as "Hybrid Flu".  Presumably, Toyota will not be pleased.  But I see
there are already >2000 g-hits for "hybrid flu", most of them
apparently relevant.

LH, also noting for the record Jon Stewart's suggestion that the most
plausible way an infectious disease with such components might have
originated is from some guy...having sex with a turkey club sandwich.

>So as not to offend Jewish or Muslim sensibilities, Litzman prefers
>a less descriptive (and less accurate) term for the pandemic.
>You see, both Judaism and Islam view pigs as unclean for consumption
>- which makes both faiths not unlike Jules in "Pulp Fiction."
>Apparently, according to Litzman, what can't go in one's mouth also
>can't come out of it.
>So that no Jew or Muslim has to utter the word "swine," it's now
>being called the "Mexican flu."
>Of course, for American Jews, this poses a whole other quandary in
>terms of political correctness: Better to offend God (of whom there
>is only one) or Mexicans (of whom there are, oh, 12 million)?
>And speaking of political correctness, when the hell did Israel
>start caring about offending Muslims?
>A serious note: epidemiologists have learned to be careful before
>naming a new disease.  It's not a good idea to name a disease after
>a city or country.  A common policy is to name a disease after a
>nearby river, on the assumption that rivers do not have partisans
>who throw stones and shoot AK-47s.  However, one virus which
>appeared in a desert now goes by the macabre name of "Sin Nombre".
>from Fox News:
>"Obama Calls for Probe into New York City Flyover Photo Flop"
>I think the headline writer meant to say "flap" ("a sudden
>embarrassing public discussion or controversy").  There are many
>other things you can call it, but *unless* the desired photographs
>did not turn out to be usable the mission could not be called a
>I wonder if "felony stupidity" will become a standard phrase or
>remain a nonce usage.
>Last night at Yom Hazikaron I heard a talk by an American who had
>joined the ZHL (Israeli army, for you goyim).  He said his first
>three months were spent in "infantry training and intensive combat,
>er, language instruction".
>I know from personal experience that learning a foreign language is
>extremely difficult, not to mention stressful, but "combat"???
>            James A. Landau
>            test engineer
>            Northrop-Grumman Information Technology
>            8025 Black Horse Pike, Suite 300
>            West Atlantic City NJ 08232 USA
>Netscape.  Just the Net You Need.
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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