Ebola, Obola, Obama: How Crazy Can We Get About a Virus?

The Rude Pundit doesn't talk much about his non-bloggy professional life because, well, Batman never discusses Bruce Wayne's investment portfolio. However, he does feel it's important in this time of media-fanned fear and burgeoning hysteria to let you in on one interesting detail: The Rude Pundit works and sometimes plays in the largest Liberian community outside of Liberia. He has taught and will no doubt in the future teach Liberians, some of whom have recently been to Liberia. He advises and interacts with Liberians on a one-on-one basis constantly.

And you know what? He's not even a little afraid of catching Ebola from any of them. He ain't even gonna wash his hands any more than he does. Why? Let's just say he's got bills to pay and other shit to do, and he's more likely to catch tuberculosis or Enterovirus D-68, which has actually killed two kids in the U.S. so far, but, of course, it doesn't sound African and jungle-y.

Neither does Marburg, which is another fun filovirus like Ebola. In fact, going back in time, Marburg and Ebola were pretty much the Bobsey Twins of Bleeding-Nipple Doom in the book The Hot Zone, where most of us first heard about either of these diseases in the 1990s. Marburg is a big, bad virus from, among other places, Uganda. And back in 2007, Michelle Barnes had traveled to Uganda. When she got back to the U.S. in January 2008, she got sick a few days later and ended up in the hospital in Colorado as many of her organs were starting to shut down. She was treated as if she had pneumonia or a serious flu and got better.

When Barnes heard about a woman who had contracted Marburg in the same cave in Uganda she had visited, she got tested in July 2008. Turns out she had Marburg (or MARV, in medical acronym terms). According to the CDC, she was the first person we know of to walk around America with filovirus-caused hemorrhagic fever. And no one knew until she was all better. No one she touched or kissed or anything, all with an illness that has a roughly 80% mortality rate.

You know how many other people got sick? None. You know when we found out about it? In February 2009, long after the whole thing was over. How much did we all freak out? Pretty much not at all.

Now, with one case of a dude who was out and about for a day or so with Ebola, with the disease trashing Liberia and Sierra Leone and more countries in West Africa, we're collectively losing our fuckin' minds despite the fact that no one known to have been in contact with said dude has shown any signs of Ebola.

But what we get is bullshit artists like Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, who went on Facebook to say, in a status update from Dumbassville, "The Obama Administration needs to stop accepting flights from countries that are Ebola stricken. Even countries in Africa have cut back on or stopped accepting flights from countries with Ebola outbreaks." You hear this as if there's some sort of logic at work instead of blatant, appalling fearmongering. Essentially, Jindal and many others are saying that the American medical care is the equivalent of countries like Botswana, Cameroon, Gambia, and others that have banned flights to and from the, well, hot zone. What? The greatest healthcare system in the history of the known universe can't do better than Mauritania, Gov. Jindal?

And that's the sane stuff. Then there's the even more craven opportunists, the politicians and media figures who want everyone to watch while they suck their own dicks or eat themselves out. They blame Obama for "letting" Ebola into the United States. The height of tragic hilarity is that some lawmakers are calling for an "Ebola czar" to coordinate our efforts; meanwhile, the GOP has blocked consideration of a nominee for Surgeon General (or, you know, "Health Czar") because that nominee thinks guns might have an effect on the health of people and that made the NRA cry. Which leads to the right-wing media criticizing the placeholder Surgeon General for not issuing a "calm the fuck down, everyone" statement about Ebola. This doesn't even get into the perverse fucks like Todd Kincannnon, the disgraced South Carolina GOPer who thinks we should napalm villages with Ebola outbreaks. Seriously, are we blowing ourselves yet? By the way, not a good idea if you have Ebola.

The Rude Pundit has no reason to gobble up the phlegm or vomit or shit of someone from Liberia or rub it in his eyes or on an open sore. So, no, he's not worried one little fucking bit about it.

But if you're the hysterical sort, we'll have Marburg to freak the fuck out about soon enough.