July 27, 2009

Worried about "Swine Flu"?

Defoe - a better Great Plague read than Pepys
The old feeder's family gives him a raft of shit for living a secluded, hermit-like life. Besides the fact that I've always preferred solitude to whatever the opposite is said to be, I avoid people partly to avoid the diseases they carry. Having cirrhosis of the liver, almost any nasty virus could finish me off.

There is certainly no shortage of swine flu alarmists. Oddly enough, most of them seem to one worlders who figure that only increased statism, big government health care, or UN rule can save us. There are others who disagree and advise the peasantry to relax and go to a movie. The old feeder sides against the alarmists, more because of their totalitarian bent than their science. I'm still not planning to hang out in crowded, virus and bacteria infested places.

One of my favorite books is Daniel Defoe's A Journal of the Plague Year. My old copy, bought when paperback classics could be had for sixty cents, is pictured above. I read it about once every two years or whenever the news talk turns to epidemics. Its a novel; Defoe was just a kid when the bubonic plague came to London in 1665. But it is nearly a first hand account by a great writer.

Samuel Pepys, the London diarist of the day, covers the Great Plague (and everything else that he saw) but his plague coverage is not as captivating to read as Defoe. Defoe's details can be shocking, disgusting, poignant and disconcerting. People avoided crowds in those days, even though they didn't understand how the plague was spread. I suppose it was a safe bet that some of the people you might have seen on the street in the London of 1665 had fleas. Fleas are great jumpers.

If you want pure plague entertainment, I suggest Edgar Allan Poe's very short story, The Masque of the Red Death. You can read it here and read about it here.
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