“Swine” Whine Is Just in Time

It was only a matter of days before someone took offense to the term "Swine flu," archaic as it is (really, who says "swine" anymore?).

Israeli health officials were quick to step up to the plate, and are now calling for the porcine influenza to be renamed "Mexican flu" -- in respect of Jewish and Muslim sensitivities over pork.

Israel's Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman said the reference to pigs is offensive to both religions and "we should call this Mexican flu and not swine flu," he told a news conference at a hospital in central Israel.

Two Israelis who recently visited Mexico have been hospitalized with symptoms of the flu. Health authorities have not yet confirmed whether they actually have the virus.

As nice as it is to see Jews and Muslims come together over any issue, their unity efforts might be better suited in another venue. 

Because it's not like "swine flu" is a public-relations win for pigs -- the term actually supports the religious argument that pork is filthy.

And "Mexican flu" would probably be just as offensive -- to Mexicans. They didn't necessarily invent the flu, rather the country is merely the source of the first major outbreak.

Scientists are actually unsure where the new swine flu virus originally emerged, though it was identified first in the United States. They say there is nothing about the virus that makes it "Mexican."

Besides, the strain is actually a combination of human, avian and swine influenzas, which means we should call it man-bird-pig flu, with all due respect to Al Gore.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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