Okay, maybe not yet, but soon maybe (fingers crossed). The promise of a new worldwide epidemic (“pandemic” for those of you interested in expanding your vocabulary) that could top even the razzle-dazzle body count of the Justinian plague has the nipples of the world media outlets standing at attention. But does the chance of a massive-scale human cull translate into more than just another ratings bonanza for news networks that have been flying high on earthquake and flood footage with snazzier visuals than the boring political corruption that’s sweeping across the States on a scale Katrina could only ever dream of?
Panic Central, CNN, has been offering round-the-clock coverage of every chicken with a fever, duck with a chill, or pheasant with a chronic cough, just in case one of them has cooties that might leap onto the nearest television journalist, and then leapfrog across the rest of humanity from there. With no really interesting hurricanes left to cover, they have no choice but to sit around all day promising that Anderson Cooper will snag an exclusive interview with the first mutated avian flu virus capable of human-to-human infection the moment it evolves (or is created by God for viewers in the south). A microscope with a satellite uplink is ready to roll, and a set of blue index cards stands by for Anderson to read questions off of. Probing inquiries such as, “Are you a sign of the apocalypse?” “What do you have against mankind anyway?” and “How much money would it cost the American taxpayer to get you to leave our nation alone and go bother someone else like…say….North Korea?” should keep viewers riveted long enough for the virus to further mutate into one that can comprehend these questions and articulate a response in a known language (preferably English because CNN viewers don’t like subtitles unless they’re in the form of an amusing and insightful ticker that scrolls across the bottom of their screens and tells them who won a Grammy).
I know I may be jumping the gun, but I’ve already applied for a position as a mass-grave cart-puller. I’ve always dreamed of holding a job that allowed me to ring a bell and call, “Bring out your dead” all day long. You’d be surprised how rarely I get to do that as a professional screenwriter. I figure it’s a good idea to have another line of work ready since I doubt there will be much call for cartoon and miniseries scripts once most of the human population is wiped out and we descend into another dark age because everybody who knows how everything works will be roasting on a pyre with the billions of diseases chickens we used to need to feed ourselves.
You know, I recently had a pitch for a TV episode turned down because it was deemed “too ghoulish.” I can’t understand where they got that kind of idea about my work.