It’s a “sign of the times” story, but thankfully not of the “man sells newborn for Beatles: Rock Band” variety. The Brooklyn diocese of the Catholic Chuch may forego one of the nicer innovations of Vatican II — the passing of the communion cup to worshipers for swigs of the blood of Christ — for fear it may spread swine flu. (Wasn’t that what Burgess Meredith was afraid of in Hurry Sundown? No, that was was syphilis.) Priests will also put communion wafers in parishioners’ hands rather than on their tongues, and “the diocese is also asking people to be mindful when shaking hands during the sign of peace.” (We see they no longer kiss each other. Looks like we got out while the getting was good.)
Don’t like the religious angle? How about Swine Flu Strike City; Blcks, Latinos Hardest Hit? We shit you not: in the Daily News today, Juan Gonzalez laments that the greater impact of swine flu on people of color in the U.S…
For example, African-Americans comprise 25 percent of Boston’s population and 37 percent of of its swine flu case load. And here in New York, “health officials have not even begun the kind of study” that this hate-criminal virus demands. Surprisingly, the News does not include a counterpoint article about how racism in the pathogen community came to an end with the rise of black doctors such as Dr. Ralph Bunche, Dr. Martin Luther King, and Dr. Bill Cosby. Hiyo!
Seriously, we agree with Gonzalez that America is a racist hellhole, but what are you gonna do? The best idea we can come up with is a free federal Purell distribution program. Meanwhile, as Gonzalez counsels, “parents should not hesitate to have their children inoculated.”
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 7, 2009