Cultural Revolutions

Life Was Simple Once. . .

Monkeys—when you consider how many subspecies of them are native to Wisconsin, Indiana, and Illinois—were sure to cause an epidemic of some kind in the Upper Midwest.  In fact, monkeypox has been traced to prairie dogs sold as house pets after being infected by a single imported specimen of the giant Gambian rat, a three-pound rodent Godzilla being held in captivity by Phil’s Pocket Pets in Villa Park, Illinois.  As of this writing, 82 people in five states have contracted the illness, and an entire family has been quarantined for the duration.

Prairie dogs, African gerbils, African dwarf hedgehogs, Gambian rats; camel-pox, cowpox, skunkpox, raccoonpox, rabbitpox, birdpox, mousepox, monkeypox; West Nile Virus . . . we finally have a pet and virus profile in the United States that looks like America, and American epidemiology obediently reflects the trend.  So many exotic creatures and diseases, from everywhere!  Diversity is our strength, now more than ever.  (Except in the national forests, where good ol’ boys bearing arms are compelled by law to feed certified weed-free hay at six or seven dollars per bale to their horses: The Department of Agriculture learned a lesson from a mistake by the Department of the Interior, which, a century ago, imported from Asia a bush called “salt cedar” that, in addition to controlling erosion, is busy choking off and drinking up...

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