Friday, October 17, 2014

Time, gentlemen

Check this out:

More than two dozen African countries have already imposed restrictions or outright bans on travel to and from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, and numerous air carriers have canceled flights.

I earlier mentioned the stalwart stance of KSA, in banning the inflight of (pourtant) Muslims  from the top three infected countries, to the Hajj;  thank goodness, this year’s pilgrimmage seems to have gone off especially well.
But I had no idea that so many African countries  were less paralyzed by political correctness, than is America, Belgium, or France.

Ebola nurse, enjoying her Caribbean cruise.

[Update 20 Oct 2014]  And now yet another African country has decided it doesn’t want to be a sacrificial lamb just to please the bleeding-hearts:  Morocco has just rescinded its commitment to host the Coupe d’Afrique des Nations (soccer tournament) in January, owing to the risk.   The soccer authorities tried to twist their arm, but Morocco held tough.


There has been much tut-tutting about ‘scare tactics’ re ebola.  In principle, that is a valid concern.  There have historically been many cases of media-inflated panics, simply to “sell newspapers” (permit me this somewhat archaic formulation, propre à  un sexagénaire).  In our own day, “shark attacks” (or child abductions) regularly fill the news vacuum during the summer doldrums; eventually it is acknowledged that there was  statistically  nothing to it.
But there is a contrary possibility, that of “sedative tactics” or “soporific tactics”.  Thus, consider what your impressions are, of the progression of ebola.

[Pause while you reflect.  Then, scroll down.]


The sense one gets from the media is:
(1) First, one has a slight fever, then perhaps diarrheia and vomiting.  All quite familiar symptoms of a host of minor illnesses, from childhood on, and in that sense  almost reassuring.
(2)  Next, either
(a) you are all better again, feeling your oats, clicking your heels, and immune for evermore,
(b) somehow, silently, in the night, (no-one knows quite how)
a gentle death spreads o’er thee,
like some sweet dream,
and thou art risen among the angels,
world without end.

Actually, as a matter of medical fact, there seems to be an intermediate stage, at least in some cases.   These you will not generally hear of.

The standard image in the media these days, is this:

Kinda cute li'l critter, big eyes and a lopsided grin

Not very threatening;  might almost be one of those ribbon stick-ons for your car, in support of Breast Cancer Awareness or whatever.

But if you google-image “ebola symptoms”, a different picture emerges:

Coming soon ...
... to a nursery school ...

.... near you.

Enjoy the epidemic!
Heaven forbid we should offend anyone, by actually protecting ourselves...

Sorry to have to display such things;  but the fact is, the airbrushing of ebola's real nature   amounts to a kind of cover-up.

[Update 18 October 2014]  Never mind, stand down.  Everything is now under control.
The President has just appointed a lawyer and “longtime political operative” as “ebola czar”.   That should fix things.
Problem solved.

(Wonder if, a few months from now, we’ll be hearing “Klainy, you’re doing a heckuva job.”)

[Update 19 October 2014]  Hmm …

President Obama on Saturday evening met with members of his national security and public health teams for an update on the administration's response to the Ebola outbreak. The president's new Ebola czar, Ron Klain, did not take part in the meeting, according to the White House.

Interesting.  Second such meeting he’s missed, so they say.  Is he perhaps, ahh, feeling a little under the weather?  Running a slight fever? ….
OK, let’s go back to panic.


Yes, all this is kind of harsh;  but that is called-for, given the continuing fog of obfuscation and patronizing Pollyannaism we are being fed.

Thus, the other day, one of the major media outlets had a nice simplified graphic, of the sort that could be understood even by illiterates, to “educate the public”.  Eager to learn, we set down our crayons and pulled our chairs close.

There we saw an icon of a meal with one of those diagonal ‘Not’ lines through it.  Actually that isn’t as easy to interpret as the editors apparently thought, since the most obvious interpretation -- “Don’t eat” (here, or this, or whatever) -- is the opposite to the one intended.   What they meant was:  Go ahead -- “Whatsoever ye find in the market, that eat” (as St Paul put it):  you “can’t get ebola from food.”

Now, we shall readily grant that the chances of contracting ebola from a pizza or whatever  are effectively nil;  but that cheerful slogan brushes over the generally accepted account that this outbreak entered the human population precisely via food:  Namely, bushmeat.

Oh well, true enough (you might tut-tut), but none of that has any relevance to the West, where we don’t eat monkeys and pangolins and bats and what-have-you.  Only … wherever you have pockets of African ex-pats, you are going to find illegal importation of bushmeat, generally in the suitcases of travelers (which means that, in addition, it will not be of the freshest).   A recent article states that 270 tons of the stuff -- viande de brousse -- is smuggled-in annually via Roissy airport alone.

270 tonnes de viande de brousse illégale transitent chaque année par l'aéroport de Roissy (France)

De la viande de brousse est toujours importée illégalement en France

Don’t take their word for it; here is an official source:

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