Belfast Telegraph

How Michael Jackson and swine flu continue to baffle us

It is difficult to know which is the more baffling — the continuing investigations into Michael Jackson’s death or what advice to follow over swine flu.





There used to be a fine old tradition that one did not speak ill of the dead. Whatever their foibles, frailties or failings in life, they, like a credit union debt, died along with the person in question.

But that does not apply to the likes of Wacko Jacko, as the tabloids loved to call him with all its attendant implications.

One Sunday newspaper yesterday claimed that Michael’s nose had dropped off leaving a hole in his face and that he had a series of false noses to wear when he went out. The proof for this was a photograph of Michael with a white mask covering all of face except for his eyes!

Then there is the continuing speculation over what medication he was on when he died and whether a doctor prescribed the wrong drugs for him. Police are said to be building a criminal case against Michael’s doctor, Dr Conrad Murray.

Although the authorities say Dr Murray is not a suspect in the death, police seem keen to trace all his treatments and drug purchases.

And then there are the allegations that a Norwegian dancer, or is that rapper, Omer Bhatti was Michael’s secret son, the result of a one night stand with his mother.

The allegations first surfaced after Omer was photographed in the front row at Michael’s commemoration ceremony along with members of the Jackson family.

However now Omer says Michael was not his biological father and just merely regarded him as like a son.

If you think that is all puzzling, then consider the various statements on swine flu. Most worryingly of all was the news that up to 10,000 graves are being held in reserve in and around Belfast in case of mass deaths from the infection this winter.

If that doesn’t make you feel bad then nothing will. Do the authorities really expect mass deaths or are these graves just land that was purchased to provide burial ground for the normal run of deaths.

Of course, I am still puzzled why there are such grim predictions of deaths, when even those who have had the disease say it is really quite a mild infection and not much different from ordinary flu.

Although it targets young people, its effect is much like the ordinary flu. Those most at risk are people with underlying health problems. They would similarly be at risk from ordinary flu.

Yet, because of all the conflicting suggestions — pregnant women shouldn’t go to areas where lots of people congregate and should avoid public transport was the advice one moment. The next, was that it was perfectly safe for pregnant women to go to work on the bus.

A week ago it was even being suggested that women should avoid becoming pregnant until after the swine flu pandemic had been brought under control. Not tonight dear, think of the swine flu, could become the new headache.

So we are either going to see the dead carried by the cart load like some scene from the days of the Black Plague to Roselawn cemetery or else people are going to have a few sniffles and a few extra days off work. It seems like a case of take your pick.

Just like with Michael Jackson, you can choose to believe what you want, because there is no story too outlandlish to tell in either case.

Belfast Telegraph

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