Swine Flu gets a Name Change

from iwona_kellie, flickr

from iwona_kellie, flickr

Has anyone else noticed that the media has made a conscious effort to refer to this sickness as N1H1 rather than its nickname “Swine Flu?” Of course, I understand that this is in response to what’s been happening with pigs/pork. Egypt has been killing their pigs, Russia has banned any importation of pork, and pork sales have dropped even though you’re not supposed to be able to contract N1H1 from eating pork. Heart disease, yes. Swine flu, not so much.

Food groups always carry a fair amount of weight when they want something done. Remember Oprah and the whole mad cow thing? In this case, though, I actually kinda support the move. When innocent pigs are being killed for the mere association of a name, well, maybe creating a distance between a nickname and the reality of the disease is necessary. And if you can create that distance by calling it by its scientific name, then I think that’s acceptable. It’s not that the name is changing to some commercial marketing ploy.

Bottom line, if innocent and healthy pigs are saved in this move, then I find it a comfortable and ethically reasonable shift.

Oh, and another somewhat misconception I find interesting: there’s all this talk about Mexico and California and Texas and the Southwest in general; however, the state with the highest confirmed cases (as of May 2nd), according to the CDC, is New York. Seriously, look into it.

What’s in a Name?

Being someone whose name is butchered on more than one occasion, I can tell you a whole lot. MSNBC.com reports on some of the all time worst baby names.

Just recently, I went on a job interview where one of the interviewers made a comment that he hadn’t seen my name spelled like that before (Kaitlin) and I responded that I’d seen it all my life. He didn’t find that funny.

It does beg the question, though. How much are you rewarded or punished based on your name? My grandfather was named after the steel mill his father worked in (being child number 13, we like to joke that they just ran out of names by the time he came along). There was an article written about him in the local newspaper when he was born and he even went on to work in that mill himself, but now that that particular company has since been bought out, walking around with the name Armco just seems a bit odd.

Well, I’m sure it’s odd no matter what, but think about it like this. Let’s say a kid was named Coke after Coca-Cola, but then Coca-Cola goes out of business (hey, suspend your disbelief, this is a hypothetical). Mr. Coke Smith would then sound a bit, well, stupid. Not to mention reminiscent of drug terminology.

So, is it that because my name is a bit more on the normal side, I’m not allowed to be a bit quirky? Strangers have already placed me in a category restricted to the Micheals and Michelles of the world? If I were named Sunshine would that interviewer have been expecting someone a bit different right off the bat?

Mmm, perhaps I think about this far too much, but from my days of being a file clerk I can tell you my two favorite names: Muhammed Mohammed and Cocoa Hershey. Oh yes, they really exist. And I remember them; I appreciate those names more than the James Smith III files.