Monday, December 31, 2007

From the isn't this silly department

A bunch of newspapers are reporting that there have been about 80 cases of norovirus aboard Queen Victoria's second cruise.

As we've discussed in the past, that's silly enough. They don't report it when a number of people at a local school or manufacturing plant infect each other with cases of flu - or norovirus - so why do they do it when it's on a cruise ship, especially in this case where the percentages are so small? But that's another story.

In this case what's really silly is that some of newspapers - especially in the UK - seem to be trying to create a link in readers' minds to the "bad luck" that superstitiously goes along with the bottle not breaking on the first try when the the Duchess of Cornwall named the ship a couple of weeks ago. You can check examples in The Times, The Guardian, The Telegraph, This is London (calling it "the curse of Camilla), and as far away as in Australia's The Age.

Much of their coverage of the ship's entry into service earlier this month centered on that bottle not breaking. Sure it's an interesting sidelight, but it's certainly not unique. It's not worthy of being the headline or the focus of the story, especially compared to the real story of the size of Carnival's investment in the British cruise industry and the number of additional berths Cunard will have.

Granted, the Duchess of Cornwall is not one of the more popular Royals in the UK, but three weeks ago she pushed a button and a piece of glass doesn't break on queue, and now trying to link that event to people getting norovirus this week is just silly. Every time a passenger has a bit of bad luck aboard the ship, such as losing in the casino, will these papers attribute that to the Duchess, too? Leave the woman alone.

Note: Links are valid at the time of posting.