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Bird Flu: The Movie!

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Type “Avian Flu” into imdb.com, and you’ll get Fulvio Ottaviano (Director, Cresceranno i carciofi a Mimongo (1996)) and Flavian Bulfon (Art Department, eXistenZ (1999)) for starters. (Type in “bird flu,” and the results are even more delightful.)

But soon, very soon, the search will give you Joely Richardson and Stacy Keach in Fatal Contact: Bird Flu in America. It’s a made-for-TV movie (airing May 9 on ABC), so you can be sure it’ll be sober, intelligent, and deucedly well-researched.

Terrifying, isn’t it? No, not bird flu: The fact that more people will watch, absorb, and (shudder) learn from a hyperdramatized version of a frightening — but still theoretical — epidemic than will read any one of a dozen excellent articles on the subject. Which reminds me, I’ve got to finish my sternly worded letter to Samuel L. Jackson, in which I excoriate him for exploiting the very real threat of snakes on a plane…