574: Swine Flu
Title text: Bad flu epidemics can hit young adults hardest because they provoke their powerful immune systems into overreaction, so to stay healthy spend the next few weeks drunk and sleep-deprived to keep yours suppressed.
Swine flu is a strain of the flu which can be transmitted from pigs to humans. In 2009, it was the origin of the Pandemic H1N1/09 virus, which most news stations called either "H1N1" (the subtype name) or "swine flu". Because of the ambiguous name given to it and the somewhat hazy description of the transmittal process and dangers to humans, many people were concerned about the virus in ways that weren't going to be threats. This comic pokes a bit of fun at the overreaction by users on Twitter.
Randall (or someone else) seems to have created Twitter accounts for all referenced handles (that may not have already existed). Some of the handles continue their interactions with each other in later tweets.
SKEEVE37 is a self-described hypochondriac. The tweet exemplifies the general populace's over-concern with the "animal themed" pandemics. Similarly after the "bird flu" scare, people avoided eating chicken.
HANNELOREEC is a self-described "young lady who is concerned about many things". She is a reoccurring character in the webcomic "Questionable Content" by Jeph Jacques, who also manages her twitter handle.
PAULYSHOREFAN's tweet is a reference to the flash game "Pandemic 2", in which players try to create a disease that infects the whole world. Madagascar is the most difficult country to infect, as it only has 1 port and often closes it at the slightest hint of an infection. The difficulty of infecting Madagascar has caused it to become a meme.
CrackMonkey74's tweet is a parody of viral Christian(?) messages that say that current tragedies are God's punishment, despite the fact that the Bible says that the end is not yet to come. More specifically, Crackmonkey74 blames the ACLU, lesbians (a reference to the current culture wars that give big press towards proponents of gay marriage against fundamentalist Christians), 9/11 (the day when the Twin Towers fell, causing controversy on whether Muslim terrorists crashed their planes on the towers or whether the government staged this by purposefully demolishing the towers) and nanobots (possibly a reference towards the highly promising but still relatively not understood field of nanotechnology, plus another reference towards the phrase "playing God").
Twilight7531's tweet implies that she got a bone fracture which ended up protruding from her arm. However, she seems to lack medical knowledge (or intelligence in general, given that her name carries both something that may be a reference toward the infamous Twilight books and a "gimmicky" naming scheme (7531 has the numerals of every odd number that is less than 9)), so she is worried that her fracture is actually swine flu (though how can she be typing with a broken arm is confusing).
Wigu's tweet is a reply towards Untoward's. Given the context, Untoward seems to have "gotten intimate" with a pig (since syphilis is a venereal disease). Given the fact that Untoward got sick because of a pig, Untoward seems to have concluded that he got swine flu. (In light of the fact that Randall considers furries in general to have an animal fetish, to consider Untoward a furry would be a safe assumption here.)
The last comment by 2011SENIORSRULE references a medical paper published by the journal The Lancet, in which it is proposed that autism is caused by vaccination. Since then, the paper was partially retracted in 2004, and fully retracted in 2010 because of conflicts of interest. The entire incident has been defined as the MMR vaccine controversy and more details can be found on the Wikipedia page. This stance has still been seen since the retraction of the paper, and still holds some popularity. The most famous figure in support of it is Jenny McCarthy. Also, fear of germs is common among autistic people, so "licking an autistic kid" would be a difficult and possibly painful experience.
The title text refers to the common notion that young adults are hard-drinking individuals who get little sleep.
- Twitter is great for watching uninformed panics unfold live.
- [Twitter search results page with "Swine flu" in the search box.]
- Realtime results for Swine flu
- 1,918 more results since you started searching. Refresh to see.
- [All tweets are "Less than 10 seconds ago from web"]
- SKEEVE37: Oh god I ate pork yesterday before I knew about swine flu!
- HANNELOREEC: Without duct tape I can't seal the door to keep out swine flu but I can't get duct tape without going outside! Help!
- PAULYSHOREFAN: How long until the swine flu reaches me here in Madagascar?
- CrackMonkey74: Swine flu is God's punishment for the ACLU and lesbians and 9/11 and nanobots!
- Twilight7531: I fell down the stairs and there was a crack and a jagged white thing is sticking out of my arm guys is this swine flu?
- Wigu: @Untoward: No, that sounds like syphilis, not swine flu. What did you say you did with a pig?
- 2011SENIORSRULE: My Dad said flu vaccines are linked to autism, so to be safe from swine flu I'm trying to lick an autistic kid.