May 2, 2009

Swine flu? Try a reality check (up).

A post in this week's Ad Contrarian was devoted to the knee-jerk psychopandemic that is swine flu.

I think we may all be a little sick.

I used to write fundraising letters for a living. We tried it all: stories about sick children, pictures of scrawny dying babies, mothers with AIDS, towns wiped out by war, child soldiers (some who passed initiation by shooting their parents), dump scroungers, homeless families, you name it. Good lord, what we didn't try to get a rise (and a cheque) out of people. What the clients didn't do to get their cause in the news. Sometimes billboards went up. Sometimes a news conference got media attention. But mostly it was same-old, same-old: the same group of donors giving the same money. And we fought to keep them giving.

So, please, a reality check:

* Influenza--plain, old flu--kills up to 500,000 people around the world every year.

* Over 1 million people die from malaria every year.

* 540 people die of measles each and every day.

* And, my personal favourite, 9.2 million children die EVERY YEAR (that's over 25,000 A DAY) before they reach their 5th birthday. Mostly from preventable disease.

So far, there have been 615 confirmed cases of Influenza A(H1N1)--the fancy new name for swine flu--and 16 deaths. But if we held a fundraiser today, I'd eat my hat if we didn't raise millions for each and every one of those cases.

All we need is a few measly dollars a day to protect dying children. What, oh what can we do--I beg you, truly--to get this kind of coverage for the kids dying of stuff we've had vaccines against for years?

Lord help us all.


  1. I don't know where you are in Canada Teenie, but this isn't much different then the Ministry here spraying insecticides into the ponds and such because of the West Nile Virus pandemic while ago. I wonder how many years before we discover those poisons will maim and kill more people then the actual virus did/does.

    And this month they have banned over 300 chemicals used in herbicides for your lawns and gardens. I have never seen any reports on the sicknesses caused but wait until hay fever season or poison ivy or my kid gets nettles in his feet or bee stings from the dandelion fields popping up.

    Wish they would think these through more.

  2. The problem with government is that every decision they make is based on their ability to be re-elected. They rarely invest in the long-term, as they fear people will "forget" who made the decision in the first place.

    So we live in times based on short-term solutions (and forgive me for using that dreaded word--but it fits!).

    I guess feeding children in a far-off land won't earn votes. Protecting the world from a fly-by-night virus will.

  3. I described someone the other day in my employment as being a "Goldfish". He tends to start a task, then wander off to his original position/dept., like a stray cat coming home.I find him there and send him back to his assigned task.(temps..pshh.)

    Scientists think that because the Goldfish brain is so baic, it seems to be oblivious to where he just swam from and forgets. They bump into the glass bowl and turn around and start their journey again.

    We must be like that every election time. We forget what happened for the last 3-4 years and swim towards something shiny. "Ooooo...shiny"

  4. Yeah sick children is always an effective ploy. Think of the children.

  5. "Think of the children."

    I couldn't agree more, golublog.