Thursday, 30 April 2009

Iconography of a Pandemic!

My Dearest Darlings, a new Pandemic is set to savagely strike the globe. The World Health Organisation have risen this new viral attack to level five, a level which encourages every country to prepare for an influenza outbreak that will rock your tiny worlds. The BBC have insisted on repeating the exact same coverage every fifteen minutes for the last few days, this would suggest that this story outweighs all other news stories currently breaking. The media it seems are fully aware that, though to be taken seriously this is perhaps just a small storm in quite a large tea cup though they cynically continue to ask you, various pundits and 'experts' alarmist and stupid questions. I have just seen an ITN reporter ask a school girl who attends the same school where a 'Swine Flu' case has been confirmed; “do you feel vulnerable?” to which she responded, “Yeah, people said we all might die if we get it!” This unhelpful and over emotive reporting is prurient at least and undoubtedly fuels the less calm of you to stock pile bottled water, lock all doors and windows and bathe regularly in Dettol - 'just in case'.

This rather uncouth coverage is without doubt in response to your inclination and addiction to the dramatic. As the BBC and other channels request 'your views' on such matters the 'dumbing down' of British Broadcasting has never seemed quite so apparent. Rather than adopt the no-nonsense attitude of yesteryear with well informed and balanced coverage viewers call in to the news studio and are given air time, sprouting irrelevant tales of airport confusion and mild cold symptoms. Many journalists reporting live from Mexico adorn themselves in what most officials proclaim as utterly useless face masks, this visual harbinger of doom fuels the dreaded apocalyptic notion that at some point in the near future martial law will be enforced and vast quarantine camps will house the infected. This I am happy to say is much less likely to happen than you may think. Many will become ill, a few of the weakest may die, though this is the nature of disease, a cruel yet efficient method of population control which has frequently rescued the globe from over population.

Official channels continue to emphasis the need for increased personal hygiene, “Catch it, Bin it, Kill it!” is the official strap line for this pandemic, in this commercialised world even a pandemic is 'branded' in order for it to be easily understood. A rapidly produced advertisement campaign attempts to homogenise the preferred reaction to this global threat. With emphasis placed on prevention, the actual details of the virus are glossed over. It seems as long as an issue has a unified appearance it can at least be conceptually contained. This is human nature's response to potential catastrophe, first it is examined and categorised, a governmental response is honed both nationally and internationally and then finally you hope it is officially dealt with. Though perhaps the greatest threat is not the virus but the overreaction of you to it.

I hope you survive the onslaught!

With Love Ms Coco LaVerne X