Jillian Lovejoy Lowery and I take on the Swine Flu in this week’s Perpetual Post.  Yeah, we know we’re going to hell.  Read her delightful take here.

Smarten Up, Swine Flu!

Swine flu, you are all over the map here! Your public relations team is doing a terrible job. Your image needs some serious work—and you need a clear message. You’ve also got to stick to your talking points and stay on target. This isn’t rocket science, it’s influenza! Work with me here.

You started in Mexico, Swine Flu, and you really got going there, I’ll give you that. You built a strong groundwork and created the momentum to sustain quite a campaign. But your sloppiness began almost immediately thereafter—as evinced by a number of tiny, insignificant one-person outbreaks in far-flung places across the United States and eventually the globe. One confirmed infection in Hong Kong, one in Sweden, four in France—really? That’s the best you can do? You call yourself a pandemic? Not even close Swine Flu, and I’ll tell you your problem: You’re still thinking like an epidemic.

You got a foothold in New York, it’s true—your numbers are strong there, and they’re growing. I’m glad you understand the importance of getting your name out there in well-populated, panicky liberal areas. But you have to remember, those folks are also generally well-educated, and they learn quickly, which is not to your benefit. You should really start branching out to some more rural areas—places where a little suspicion and fear go a long way.

The name change, too—whose idea was that? Right in the middle of your launch into the realm of international recognition and fame—you swap the rock star moniker of “Swine Flu” for the deadly-dull and ultra-forgettable handle “H1N1”?! Really– what were you thinking? What was going through your mind when you decided to play the new-name game? You’re not Prince! You’re not even John Cougar Mellencamp! I’m telling you, switching up a classic, ominous name like Swine Flu for a letter/number combination—it’s crippled the rising careers of even bigger and deadlier viruses in their heydays. I would have fired my agent right then and there for even allowing me to consider the idea.

So here’s what we do, toots. We’ve got to get you back on track. I’m thinking a guest-star appearance or two. Strike down someone famous—but not too likeable; you want to keep public sympathy on your side. I’m thinking Kathy Griffin, or one of the Baldwin brothers. Keep working hard, keep your focus sharp, and you could be back on track in no time. Believe me, H1N1—you’re a real workhorse. And you’re going places.

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