Don't follow the walking dude
April 28, 2009 9:01 PM   Subscribe

Is Swine Flu Captain Trips? Probably not. But Mother Abigail's following is growing all the same.
posted by tylerfulltilt (84 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
I mean it, don't follow The Walking Man
posted by tylerfulltilt at 9:03 PM on April 28, 2009


Hopefully those two can one day learn to play their games without killing us with swine flu, or what have you.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:05 PM on April 28, 2009


Wat
posted by nowonmai at 9:09 PM on April 28, 2009


Excellent.
posted by Kwine at 9:10 PM on April 28, 2009


@tylerfulltilt Come down and eat chicken with me, beautiful. It's soooo dark.
posted by adipocere at 9:11 PM on April 28, 2009 [6 favorites]


Ha! I was just looking at the google mashup flu map, and thinking about captain trips....
posted by gofargogo at 9:13 PM on April 28, 2009


Firstly, let me just say that this whole "swine flu" thing is a crock. As of late, there have been a few thousand infections in Mexico followed by a virtual handful of deaths. It has spread here to the US only to infect less than 200 people, and only then to produce a mild disease that clears within a few days. Only one person has been hospitalized in the US.

There are two factors driving the flu hysteria: the government's desire to cover their asses and the 24hour news network's desire to pad their ratings. Don't forget the desire of certain ideologues to blame all of our problems on Mexico, as well.

I predict that this is going to be no worse than SARS. A few hundred to a few thousand dead worldwide, while tragic, is not the end of civilization as we know it. The far, far greater danger right now is the panic and hysteria causing anybody with a bad head cold to run to the ER for what amounts to a $3000 checkup.

Everybody relax. Relax and wash your hands. Christ.
posted by Avenger at 9:15 PM on April 28, 2009 [27 favorites]


I mean it, don't follow The Walking Man

I can barely follow this post.
posted by ob at 9:15 PM on April 28, 2009


the entire cast of characters is popping up on twitter. There's Tom cullen and Nadine Cross so far. I really hope they play it out to the end.

Mother Abigail, for her part, appears to be following her characters storyline from the book, having just tweeted that she needs to close up the house.
posted by tylerfulltilt at 9:17 PM on April 28, 2009


@avenger. We're just funnin'
posted by tylerfulltilt at 9:18 PM on April 28, 2009


Everybody relax. Relax and wash your hands. Christ.
posted by Afroblanco at 9:20 PM on April 28, 2009


I know you don't mean to be spreadin' hysteria. I think the twitter thing is actually pretty funny.

BTW, Randall Flagg paid me big $$$ to tell everybody not to worry.

Then I used the money to hitch a ride to a small town in rural Maine where I bought a baseball card which foretold my future. Then I was killed by an evil clown. Or something.
posted by Avenger at 9:22 PM on April 28, 2009 [4 favorites]


Wait, no random impersonator's Flickr feed? This post sucks!
posted by iamkimiam at 9:23 PM on April 28, 2009


You got a funny way of relaxin' there, partner.
posted by arto at 9:23 PM on April 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


I predict that this is going to be no worse than SARS. A few hundred to a few thousand dead worldwide, while tragic, is not the end of civilization as we know it.

The thing about SARS -- from the first indications, it looked both wildly infectious and quite deadly. It was being spread in that first apartment complex from bad plumbing that left fecal wastewater on the sidewalks, so infections were rampant and outcomes were very poor. Given that data, it made sense to panic a little.

But H1N1? Unless it mutates again, it's probably a non-story, not much worse than most flus. Flus are bad, no doubt about it, but a truly severe outbreak of a genuinely deadly strain will be dealt with swiftly and powerfully. The world, and America in particular, is so driven by fear of everything that a genuine threat will send us absolutely insane with terror, and things will all but shut down until the disease passes.
posted by Malor at 9:24 PM on April 28, 2009


pigborne toxic event
posted by sanko at 9:26 PM on April 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


I HATE that Jamey Sheridan's face is in my head as belonging to Randall Flagg. I'm OK sometimes seeing Gary Sinese as Stu, Rob Lowe as Nick, and even Molly Ringworm as Frannie, but Jamey Sheridan (who I like as an actor) just ain't the walkin' dude. Period.
posted by dirtdirt at 9:28 PM on April 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


You know dirtdirt, as far as bad king adaptations go, The Stand has nothing on Desperation. Perlman's performance as entragian was just, blech.
posted by tylerfulltilt at 9:29 PM on April 28, 2009


Man, I'm pissed. This is going to make me like Twitter.
posted by Afroblanco at 9:30 PM on April 28, 2009 [8 favorites]


I was just thinking earlier about making a Randall Flagg Herald for Arkham Horror using Strange Eons. I think he'd be a lot more thematically appropriate for the game than a lot of the custom material one sees online. The Crimson King could make a good Ancient One, too, but I'm a little unsure as to how I'd structure the final combat rules. It wouldn't really be possible to replicate Roland's actual final battle with the Crimson King. Oh, and I made a pretty decent Roland Investigator earlier.
posted by Caduceus at 9:32 PM on April 28, 2009 [5 favorites]


What? What are you guys looking at?
posted by Caduceus at 9:34 PM on April 28, 2009


Lord knows how many of us MeTa regulars could ably pen Harold Lauder's feed.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:37 PM on April 28, 2009 [12 favorites]


@MOM - it's not my fault these things keep growing on my chest!!

(oops - wrong book)
posted by pyramid termite at 9:39 PM on April 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


I HATE that Jamey Sheridan's face is in my head as belonging to Randall Flagg.

I hate that Corin "Corey" Nemic is in my head for Harold Lauder. Harold is supposed to be a fat sixteen year old for pete's sake.
posted by moxiedoll at 9:39 PM on April 28, 2009


and i thought jerry garcia was captain trips
posted by pyramid termite at 9:40 PM on April 28, 2009


hey all i wanted was to complete my lousy jewelry collection - fucking bagginses

(oops, wrong book again)
posted by pyramid termite at 9:42 PM on April 28, 2009


King Horror
posted by tellurian at 9:47 PM on April 28, 2009


Can someone explain why the deadly virus in THE STAND was called Captain Trips? What is a Captain Trips?
posted by Justinian at 9:53 PM on April 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Thank you Justinian, I thought I was the only one who didn't get it!

Also, what the hell is a "Pocket Savior"?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:00 PM on April 28, 2009


Also, what the hell is a "Pocket Savior"?

One step up from a pocket protector?
posted by Afroblanco at 10:02 PM on April 28, 2009 [4 favorites]


There's Tom cullen

It might be pronounced "tom cullen," but it's spelt "m-o-o-n"
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:05 PM on April 28, 2009 [9 favorites]


24hour news network's desire to pad their ratings

I don't know if they needed it... all CNN seemed to be covering over the weekend was missing white people and some story with the ridicuous name of "tot mom".
posted by crapmatic at 10:22 PM on April 28, 2009


I am Abigail Freemantle and I am 110 years old and I still bake my own bread!
posted by twoleftfeet at 10:36 PM on April 28, 2009


@StephenKing: well? what the fuck are you waiting for?
posted by Pronoiac at 10:36 PM on April 28, 2009


The outbreak in Mexico seems to involve a new type of swine flu that contains DNA that is typically found in avian and human viruses

Why isn't it called the FLYING PIGS FLU?

And of course, I demand that when it inevitably infects bears, it gets renamed ManBearPig flu.

Why is it inevitable that it will affect bears? Well, Panda bears*! You can't have a pandemic without pandas.

* not really bears
posted by qvantamon at 10:51 PM on April 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


Don't forget the desire of certain ideologues to blame all of our problems on Mexico, as well.

You're including WHO in this?

The thing is, this isn't a "wait and see whether it becomes globally virulent and kills thousands of people before we spring into action" situation. It is actually necessary to evaluate this new variant, which has proven deadly to a cohort normally not affected (otherwise healthy midlife adults). It has spread to seven widely-separated populous countries and to at least two of the world's largest cities. It is, in every sense, a public health emergency. It has in the blink of an eye passed beyond containment and into mitigation.

Now if your entire life is cable news, you're only getting the clueless hysteria end of stuff. Maybe you need to recalibrate your sources.

I predict that this is going to be no worse than SARS.

Then our money has been well-spent.
posted by dhartung at 11:18 PM on April 28, 2009 [6 favorites]


qvantamon: Panda bears are actually bears. Koala bears are not.

I hate that this is my sole contribution to the entire pig flu discussion on the interweb.
posted by mmoncur at 11:38 PM on April 28, 2009


Awesome! The 1994 made-for-tv version is still my classic example of Laughably Awful TV Miniseries, complete with grotesquely bad acting and special effects from the Halloween Superstore. Still, it confirmed what I have known all along: we will know Satan by his stonewashed jeans and his mullet.
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 12:34 AM on April 29, 2009 [8 favorites]


Sam Shepard could've been a good Walkin' Dude, circa 1983.
posted by kenlayne at 12:45 AM on April 29, 2009


Bacon flu.

All the flavor of bacon with all the benefits of flu.
posted by twoleftfeet at 1:20 AM on April 29, 2009


If they were real fans, they would've realized it's spelled Mother Abagail.
posted by cmgonzalez at 1:48 AM on April 29, 2009


But Mother Abigail's following is growing all the same.

Oh fer fuck's sake.
posted by bwg at 1:50 AM on April 29, 2009


Excellent.
posted by WPW at 2:15 AM on April 29, 2009


Tom Cullen has a Twitter? That must be the most boring read imaginable.
posted by mannequito at 2:19 AM on April 29, 2009


This virus is no Captain Trips, so this is no 'The Stand'. It's probably going to be more like 'The One-Night Stand'. M-O-O-N, that spells Tamiflu.
posted by jamstigator at 2:32 AM on April 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


mannequito, 'Nick Andros' is tweeting for Tom Cullen. Tom was too upset to tweet on his own when he found out @moon was taken.
posted by crataegus at 3:16 AM on April 29, 2009


The original Captain Trips

No, it isn't Jerry Garcia.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:24 AM on April 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


Kirth Gerson,
Great reference. I was about to post that Jerry was the original Capt. Trips. Jerry is the better guitarist, but Hubbard is the better pharmacist.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 3:36 AM on April 29, 2009


Rome falls.
posted by paddbear at 3:37 AM on April 29, 2009


Count me among those who thought that "Captain Trips" in The Stand was a ref to something, possibly Grateful Dead related. Incredibly, the Wikipedia page talks about it as if it were completely isolated to the works of Stephen King.
posted by DU at 4:56 AM on April 29, 2009


Jerry is the better guitarist, but Hubbard is the better pharmacist.

Not having heard Hubbard play, I can neither confirm nor deny the allegation.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:56 AM on April 29, 2009


Walken Dude. That's how it always should have been.
posted by rusty at 6:32 AM on April 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


the Wikipedia page talks about it as if it were completely isolated to the works of Stephen King.

Well, there is the disambiguation link at the top of the article...

I always thought it was pretty cool that King didn't belabor how it came to be called Captain Trips. It's strange though, does he mention in the book that Captain Trips was a nickname for Jerry Garcia too? Because when I first read The Stand, when I was 16 or whatever, I remember thinking it was so odd, and somehow authentic, this misappropriated, fairly unrelated name for Jerry Garcia had become the de-facto name for the disease, but I didn't know the Jerry or the Dead from an ass in the ground.

How did people learn about the minutia of pop culture before the internet?
posted by dirtdirt at 6:37 AM on April 29, 2009


This is fantastic...
posted by jon_hansen at 7:06 AM on April 29, 2009


how do I turn this tweeter off?
posted by filthy light thief at 7:09 AM on April 29, 2009


I mean it, don't follow The Walking Man

He might start playing that violin of his.
posted by Smart Dalek at 7:19 AM on April 29, 2009


Hugh Jackman could probably do a more or less acceptable RF.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 7:21 AM on April 29, 2009


Justinian, in The Stephen King Universe, it says this about Captain Trips:

"First published in the men's magazine Cavalier in 1974, the short story 'Night Surf' was included in King's first short-story collection, Night Shift. A precursor to The Stand (1978), this story introduces the idea of the superflu, nicknamed Captain Trips (an ironic reference to the Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia), which kills most of the population of the world."

FWIW.
posted by Houstonian at 7:45 AM on April 29, 2009


But what was the ironic connection between superflu and Jerry Garcia in 1974/78? Or does "ironic" here mean "totally out of left field"?
posted by DU at 7:47 AM on April 29, 2009


Count me among those who thought that "Captain Trips" in The Stand was a ref to something, possibly Grateful Dead related. Incredibly, the Wikipedia page talks about it as if it were completely isolated to the works of Stephen King.

It first appeared, as the Wiki page noted, in the earlier King short story ''Night Surf'', which I now see was also made into a low budget movie.
Captain Trips is also a main plot element in "Night Surf", a short story in King’s Night Shift. There are a few differences from The Stand therein, however.

The story centers on a group of superflu survivors on a New England beach. They are teenagers who appear to have rather sinister natures and seem to be sort of partying at first. Later, though, they become frightened when one of them gets sick and they realize it may only be a matter of time until they are all dead.

In "Night Surf", Captain Trips is also known as “A6” and was said to have originated in East Asia rather than in California. It was not said if the disease was man-made or a natural mutation. A story circulates after A6/Trips crops up that a person who has contracted Hong Kong flu will be immune to the new virus. However, this appears to have been a falsehood by the end of the story, Hong Kong flu merely stalling the disease.
I assumed back then that it was King called it Captain Trips because of the trope on the name Grateful Dead--and because it was something which he thought teenagers might give such a disease irregardless. As in ... when I first read The Stand, when I was 16 or whatever, I remember thinking it was so odd, and somehow authentic, this misappropriated, fairly unrelated name for Jerry Garcia had become the de-facto name for the disease, but I didn't know the Jerry or the Dead from an ass in the ground.

And what dhartung--Man, first rodii and now dhartung: it's like old home week around here this week--said above. This is serious, serious stuff until we find out otherwise. I have to admit, though, that I thought of The Stand, too, when I saw the first swine flu story this time around.

'S funny. I remember passing through Denver in 1976 with the then love of my life, on our way to Seattle from New Orleans, and staying with my sister when her oldest daughter was still in kindergarten. It was around Halloween and my sister had a Hallmark Halloween bat made of expanding tissue paper and cardboard, as such things were made then, hanging from a string in her breakfast nook. I remember asking my niece what it was and her replying quite perkily, It's a Swine Flu Bat !
posted by y2karl at 8:02 AM on April 29, 2009


I can't take it one more minute: the character's name is Mother AbAgail. Abagail, Abagail, Abagail.
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:52 AM on April 29, 2009


Why do I have this sudden craving for a Payday candy bar?
posted by Crabby Appleton at 9:01 AM on April 29, 2009


Baby, can you dig yer man?
posted by jquinby at 10:55 AM on April 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


So my takeaway is that there is no reason for the plague in King's work to be called "Captain Trips" except he heard the name and thought it sounded cool. Ehh.
posted by Justinian at 11:21 AM on April 29, 2009


I think the reason it's called Captain Trips is because King's stories often have "the government" or "the military" doing something which has negative results. In The Stand, the military created the virus.

Similarly, the military experimented with LSD. So did Jerry Garcia.

Also, I believe I read that King and Jerry Garcia were friends? So maybe it was a shout-out to his friend (although pretty rude, calling your friend a virus!) I think Garcia did the voice for one of King's audio books.

And yeah, it sounds cool.
posted by Houstonian at 11:50 AM on April 29, 2009


I thought Capt. Tripps was the guy who took the flu off the base.
posted by Eideteker at 1:00 PM on April 29, 2009


You ain't no nice guy!
posted by Crabby Appleton at 1:02 PM on April 29, 2009


Pandemic alert level 5! Let's get ready to.... RUUUUUMBLE!!!
posted by Justinian at 1:18 PM on April 29, 2009


Sounds like you're pumped for the rematch, Justinian.
posted by Iridic at 1:42 PM on April 29, 2009


I think Captain Trips is a great name for a killer virus. I mean "Swine Flu" just annoys the pig farmers and makes people think they can't eat pork. "Mexican Flu" is a bit mean to Mexicans - I mean, it's not like it's their fault it started there, is it?

I suggest we start calling H1N1 Swine Flu "Siamese Dream". Just because.
posted by Jimbob at 2:10 PM on April 29, 2009


Or Lost100thepisode4815162342, for that matter....
posted by y2karl at 3:30 PM on April 29, 2009


What was wrong with "Tube Neck"?
posted by Smedleyman at 3:48 PM on April 29, 2009


You know, this is all fun and games, but I confess I felt a slight chill when I saw that Randall Flagg had begun following me on Twitter after I'd begun following Abigail (sic).

I guess it's because I'm not absolutely certain that characters are unable to escape from the books in which they appear....
posted by lord_wolf at 4:22 PM on April 29, 2009


I think we do have an epidemic on our hands
posted by crataegus at 7:36 PM on April 29, 2009


I think The Stand has made me a truly twisted human being because I actually actively HOPE that the Swine Flu will become Captain Trips and wipe out most of civilization. I would love to be one of the few remaining folks should that happen - of course I'd be horrified and sad to have lost all my loved ones, but man! After I got over that, I just can't possibly imagine how much more FUN the world would be. *shrugs*
posted by Bageena at 8:06 PM on April 29, 2009


I would love to be one of the few remaining folks should that happen

You wouldn't be, sorry.

how much more FUN the world would be

It wouldn't be, sorry.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:59 PM on April 29, 2009


Hey, I could be. You don't know for sure. Even if I wasn't though, I'd still be joyous for the ones left behind. Maybe your right and the world wouldn't be more fun for them, but I'm sort of into camping and exploring the remains of old buildings and ghost towns. A world that's nothing but that wouldn't bother me much. All the food I want in every supermarket, long as I have my trusty can opener, and after a few years, I'm sure the wildlife would be prevelent enough that I could hunt for fresh meat. In the meantime, I could hike out to Area 51 and see what all the fuss was about. I could explore the White House without a tour guide. I could come over to Alvy's house and tell you that there was a chance I'd make it.
I don't think I'd miss a thing until I realized this means no more 30 Rock, IT Crowd, or Adult Swim.
posted by Bageena at 7:21 AM on April 30, 2009


I actually actively HOPE that the Swine Flu will become Captain Trips and wipe out most of civilization. I would love to be one of the few remaining folks should that happen - of course I'd be horrified and sad to have lost all my loved ones, but man! After I got over that, I just can't possibly imagine how much more FUN the world would be. *shrugs*

It's a universal fantasy that all dystopia science fiction and horror movies exploit. The hero, heroine or group of heros live in a penthouse or mansion and the thing that always gets me is how the power is always left on. The convenience! Either the power grid is still up--The Quiet Earth--or they are genius survivalists with a way with a generator--I Am Legend--and they tear through the world with a Brontosaurian sized carbon footprint, tear through the world guilt free because that global warming and mass extinctions thing is handled.

There is a parallel theme in ecologically themed science fiction novels and stories--either the alien race shows up and takes away everyone's car keys and fertility as in Judith Moffet's The Ragged World or natural events or people take the other people away as in a solar flare wipes out most of Asia and Africa, taking care of that pesky race problem in the process--although this is not explicitly noted--as in Larry Niven's Inconstant Moon or some human agent wipes out the bulk of humanity with a PC run from the bedroom, albeit connected to a super string super weapon as in David Brin's Earth.

The full tilt everyone's gone books and films all are consumer fantasies. The couple in Inconstant Moon actually pig out on gourmet foods and drink when one of them realizes what happened with the Sun. ANd, as for the movies, ooo-wee, Baby! It's Alvin Cash & the Crawlers with 'Product Placement Time'... Can I get a witness ?

The Stand is another great example. Boulder, Colorado is emptied by a scare long before the pandemic hits and the folks just waltz in and dispose of the fewer remaining corpses. No stink, now let's get organically farming!

Everyone wants to live the rich life and so what if it's canned food, most of the time--we got guns, generators, freezers, TVs and DVDs for which we will never have to pay another late fee (Or we can watch Woodstock by ourselves in a theater like Charlton Heston in The Omega Man) or wait in line for ATM or the self check out again. Not to mention mortgages and credit ratings.

It's like everyone grew up with a Sears Roebuck for reading material in their bathrooms. To paraphrase Steve Martin, You can have the world's biggest Carbon Footprint and never feel guilty again!

First, getridofeverybodyelseexceptforfamilysandbffs!
Then, Let's Hop in the SUV and Go Loot Restoration Hardware!
posted by y2karl at 8:02 AM on April 30, 2009


I liked that King addressed, through Glen Bateman, the second die off. That is, all the folks who survived the plague but fell victim to accident or other disease, etc. without the large support system of emergency response.
Living life close to the bone isn't all it's cracked up to be. You get very utilitarian very fast. $100 bills become wound dressing or toilet paper or whatever use they may have or they're kindling. A Mercedes is only as good as it serves as a shelter without gas and battery power (lousy). Any building becomes interesting only insofar as its use as shelter provides.
I'd never come anywhere near the Sears Tower, post apocalypse. Perhaps as an observation platform, but never as any place to live. In the first place - all those stairs. Secondly - nowhere for wood smoke to go. Etc. On top of that you'll have wildfires running unchecked burning all sorts of things and the smoke from, say, a couch, can be toxic.
On top of that, loads of tricksy things still around that need to be maintained or they become dangerous. Nuclear power plants. Plain old coal fired plants. Lots of industrial outfits. Gasoline and oil runoff from all the cars sitting around with their tanks and engines rusting. Etc. Etc.
Most of the work of the next few generations would be finding all that stuff and dealing with it. Not to mention re-learning skills. Like farming. Medicine. Industrial production (you would need radios (Ham, et.al) that's if you're not putting the phone system back together) Etc. You'd need to invent a new form of money/barter for skills and labor because trade and capital is next to meaningless (most anything you need you can pretty much just pick up, and land is cheap).
All that is while you're learning to shake off the old ways of thinking that brought humanity to the brink of extinction.

Nope. Surviving that would really suck balls. I suppose there would be some freedom. But that's only if you want to dump your responsibilities. If there were so few people left that there wouldn't be a next generation, then maybe. But then, divorced of context, it's all meaningless anyway. Like a closed book. Doesn't much matter whether it's Shakespeare or Sesame Street if it's never going to be read.
posted by Smedleyman at 8:22 AM on April 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Captain Trips does not exist!
posted by IvoShandor at 8:25 AM on April 30, 2009


The Stand is another great example.

I think The Stand actually handled it pretty well. There was no electricity - a team of people got to fixing it, but when they turned it on the generators burnt out because everyone's appliances were still turned on. So they organized teams to go turn off all the appliances in people's houses over the city, while another team got busy re-winding the coils in the generators by hand. That's a bit more realistic than simply magically leaving the power on.
posted by Jimbob at 3:12 PM on April 30, 2009


Another SK 'character' has a Twitter account: either the meme jumped the shark or it's now much funnier. I can't decide which.
posted by crataegus at 8:08 PM on April 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think The Stand actually handled it pretty well.

King wrote more than one book in The Stand and one was an updated Whole Earth Abides Post Apocalyptic Survival Manual For Dummies for turning and keeping the power on while dealing with the problem of all those pesky decomposing dead bodies. He really spent some time on working out the details there. And then he threw in all that Grand Battle of Good and Evil voo doo, which was a whole other story.
posted by y2karl at 8:36 AM on May 1, 2009


It has just come to my attention that the evil antagonist in Monsters, Inc. is called Randall Boggs. I think that's just fantastic,
posted by Cobalt at 10:23 AM on May 5, 2009


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