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Transformative Bloodborne Pathogens

While watching a documentary about zombies on Mars ("Doom", 4/5 of which is a setup for the last 1/5, a non-interactive version of a first-person shooter video game) I saw a commercial for the upcoming documentary Zombieland. (Which I take as a signal of a return to normalcy. After Dawn of the Dead, 28 Days Later, and 28 Weeks Later expressed the ridiculous Republican fear of takeover by multitudes of mindless minimum-wage masses on medicare, it is good to see responsible journalism on the subject.) It reminded me of an article that came out several years ago pointing out a significant correlation between the number of zombie documentaries and whether a Republican is president, and a weaker correlation between the number of vampire documentaries and whether a Democrat is president. Someone always asks, "Who are the werewolves?" and someone always answers, "Libertarians."

And that led to the realization that these represent four blood-borne illnesses that we need to remain ever-vigilant to protect ourselves from. Numerous histories and documentaries, ranging as far back as the Bible and as recently as the Anne Rice books and subsequent documentaries, can be assumed to have the same levels of reliability and accuracy, and form the basis of research for this article. These four diseases follow disturbingly similar patterns and thus may even be related in some fundamental way. Each is transmitted by contact with blood; each causes, to some extent, irreversible physical and mental changes in the victim; and each brings with it a miraculous extension of life and even immortality.

Vampirism is the classic transformative bloodborne pathogen. Drinking the blood of another vampire transmits the affliction, which brings with it a number of frightening symptoms: deadly hypersensitivity to sunlight, a thirst for blood, and good taste in wardrobe. The benefits include eternal (or at least very long) life and thus the ability to acquire great wealth over the long term. It is this acquisition of life and the ability to give and take life from us ordinary mortals that makes vampires the classic Democratic Fear. Like Republican business owners, they can suck your blood and leave your dead corpse for the social services agencies to find, or they can grant you the favor of eternal life and wealth as long as you don't expose their secrets. For further research I refer you to now not-quite-so-recent sources on the subject such as Anne Rice's novels (or, for the literally challenged, the documentary versions), and the documentaries Nosferatu and Blade. Vampires are quasi-adapted to our society: their effect on us is confined to a small number of unexplained deaths and murders. But as no one wants to be killed, and the transformation into vampire is a net cost to society, vampirism, like Republicanism for similar reasons, must be discouraged.

Zombies are another result of a fearsome, deadly transformative bloodborne pathogen you must at all costs avoid contacting. This illness is some kind of fast-acting virus that kills you, then reanimates your cells by taking over the metabolism at the molecular level. Unlike vampirism, however, the continuity of consciousness is lost. Apparently the neurological damage caused death resembles that caused by stroke, leaving the victim entirely without his previous sense of self. Theological questions about the sanctity of zombie life have long ago been answered conclusively: the soul has already left the body of a zombie, and using the lurching carcasses as target practice for firearms novices is universally portrayed as morally acceptable and even a social good. (More on the irony of this theological position later.) Zombism is perhaps the most dangerous of these pathologies, for every recorded outbreak has resulted in catastrophe.

Werewolves also fall into his category. The written and film documentary evidence is not as extensive, but the similarities to vampires and zombies are striking. Like vampirism, the disease is spread by biting; like zombies, werewolves undergo significant ontogenic transformations. As made evident in documentaries on the subject (for example, An American Werewolf in London), the transformation is quite painful, but unlike zombies, the pathogen does not actually kill the host. Apparently it does case temporary experiential discontinuity: the victim commonly cannot remember the transformations. This pathology appears to be less potent than either vampirism or zombism, for the transformation is episodic, and unlike vampirism, it is not believed to confer longevity. Werewolves are apparently well-adapted to society; their cost in innocent lives is probably hidden in the noise of unexplained deaths, and as the transformation is episodic, one afflicted with this pathology may continue to function normally and undetected for many years.

The final transformative bloodborne pathogen in this essay shares many characteristics with the three others so far described, and is well-documented in numerous theological writings and even the Bible itself. (Indeed, the Biblical standard of proof has been accepted in evaluating source materials about the other three pathologies.) This pathology is superficially much less harmful to the individual and society than the Big Three, and its transmission is generally much less violent, although it does involve the consumption of bodily fluids (blood and flesh) from the progenitor. The physical and mental changes in the victim are not nearly as evident, partially because it is usually (and deliberately) conferred to offspring early in life and must apparently be frequently repeated. Indeed, and quite frightening when considered, the transmission of the pathogen has been ritualized into a social event. Like vampirism and zombism, this pathology confers eternal life; however, one may have to wait a while after death for reanimation to occur. (Latest estimates are 2012.) Clearly this transformative bloodborne pathogen has adapted itself much better to human society; it has established itself as a foundation for our culture, existing openly and without fear of exposure or retribution.

Is Christianity an example of a transformative bloodborne pathogen that has established a benign symbiotic relationship with its host species? When one counts the numerous wars that have been fought by those afflicted with this disease—not just against its rivals for human hosts, but even against those afflicted with closely related variants—and one considers the intellectual impairment the disease causes, one must wonder. For example, Christians are quick to judge as "evil" those afflicted by the other three pathogens described here and are ready to nail their hearts and souls to the earth with an iron spike, shoot them with silver bullets, or use them self-righteously as target practice, all extralegally but with the well-documented blessing of law enforcement officials. The effects of this pathogen on intellect are frightening, and most commonly displayed as childish belief in certain magical events but a rejection of others, cognitive dissonance, and astonishing failures of logic.

Given the obvious social maladaptation of all four of these well-documented diseases, it becomes clear to all that we must be vigilant to protect ourselves and our loved ones from exposure to them. Strict public health policies and quarantine measures must be put into place at once. Protect yourselves!


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 27th, 2011 04:15 am (UTC)
Chic^Wbunny bunny bunny
User porsupah referenced to your post from Chic^Wbunny bunny bunny saying: [...] enjoying: I should like to direct your attention to 's guide to transformative bloodborne pathogens [...]
Jan. 27th, 2011 04:46 pm (UTC)
This is the most awesome thing I have read in quite some time! I'm shocked to see no comments!
Jan. 27th, 2011 05:30 pm (UTC)
Oh, don't just pick on christianity. You've got the radical Islamists killing people and blowing shit up over a cartoon. You've got the atheist Communists from last century who murdered anyone daring to say that anyone bigger than the party would judge them. You had the Bushido who believed you could die under their blades or you could surrender and die a coward under their blades.

I daresay the problem isn't people believing or not believing in invisible men, but believing in visible ones and committing evil acts when that man told them to. This encompasses religions, monarchys, governments, etc. People are sheep and easily misled.
Jan. 27th, 2011 07:32 pm (UTC)
So in other words, I must not write about any specific injustice without also mentioning all the other injustices that have ever been done—or at least, mention all the injustices close to the hearts of anyone who reads my blog. Hey! You left out the Armenian Genocide!

You may have the right to say that, but I'll defend to the death my right to disagree.
Jan. 27th, 2011 08:56 pm (UTC)
Oh no, I didn't say that at all. Just that one can be so narrowly focused on a few colored dots in the comic that one misses the image produced at a distance.

Frankly anything that ends in -ism is automatically suspicious to me. If one has worked so hard to create a rulebook of what is in and what is out, they probably aren't all that eager to hear probing questions about the details. That's true in religion or race or nationality or anything else where blind faith in your -ism is all you need to get ahead. Again; people are bleeting sheep.
Jan. 27th, 2011 09:30 pm (UTC)
Yes, I agree with that. But that's not what I was writing about this time.

People are sheeting bleep. I'll remember that. ;-)
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )