Because I know that few of you will sit down with a 500+ page book about anything, let alone one concerning the influenza pandemic of 1918, I will give it to you in the quickest and dirtiest manner possible – The Five Essential Truths About The Great Influenza:
- Influenza is a quick, dirty, efficient killer; ever-changing and relentless in its quest to eradicate as many human beings as possible. Not only will it happen again, but it is likely that it will be far worse as we are more mobile than before and have killed our resistance through endless rounds of ineffective shots and antibiotics. While the 1918 variety killed as many as 100 million people worldwide (approximately 675,000 in the United States alone), few of the hardest hit countries have made sufficient strides in those ninety years to have any hope of keeping such numbers down. In sum, we’re all fucked.
- Woodrow Wilson is easily the worst American President of the 20th Century. No contest. A dozen terms of Reagan, Harding, or even Dubya would be preferable. Not only did the self-righteous prick do more damage to civil liberties than any other chief executive in American history, but his sanctimonious, narrow-minded pursuit of idiotic war aims helped foster the pandemic by stripping our nation of much-needed doctors, nurses, and research dollars. More than that, Wilson not once mentioned the pandemic in public, and no one can provide any evidence that he discussed it in private either. While cities like Philadelphia virtually shut down for months at a time (the deaths were so numerous that families stacked dead relatives at the morgue like firewood), Wilson railed endlessly about the evil Krauts and how nothing meant anything until the Kaiser was hung by his balls. Woodrow is truly evil man who deserves history’s strongest condemnation.
- Like so much of what is horrible and tragic in our nation today, the great influenza virus had its origins in Kansas. Due to wartime troop movements and encampments, the virus ate its way through closely packed barracks and did more damage than the gas and bullets of the Western Front. And as trains, teeming with sick servicemen, made their way across the country, the virus happily hopped off and ripped through small towns and hamlets that had never before known such disease.
- India lost nearly 20 million people to the plague. 1918, 1956, 2004, it’s all the same shit in the world’s greatest open sewer. It’s the least we can do to send them our telemarketing jobs.
- The strain of flu was so violent that victims often bled from the nose, eyes, and ears. A perfectly healthy person could be working and playing one minute and be stone dead within twelve hours. The most afflicted group was not the usual senior citizens or infants, but previously healthy adults aged 21-40. Given what I see of that age bracket today, the big “I” is certainly due for a comeback.