7 Tricks The Black Death Can Teach Us About Containing Ebola


Ebola sure is scary. It’s killed thousands in Africa. It’s killed one guy in Dallas. Some nurse rode a plane. Basically we’re all going to die unless we act fast. Like really fast. Like so fast that it’s not really acting so much as engaging in a sort of blind, irrational panic.

But what should we do in our panic?

Perhaps a lesson from the past is in order. Hard as it is to believe, Ebola isn’t mankind’s first ride on the plague bus. We’ve been here before. In the 14th century, the Black Death crashed into Europe way harder than Ebola has ever crashed into anywhere. In just a few short decades, it killed off as much as 50% of Europe’s population! Whole cities were wiped out! Kingdoms collapsed! The entire social order was completely thrown into chaos as millions fled in all directions trying desperately to survive a disease they could neither stop nor understand! So, you know, pretty much the same thing we’re experiencing now. In fact, it’s so similar that there are people right now looking up how people blamed the Black Death on the appearance of a comet and thinking, Maybe they were on to something. Maybe they were! Maybe we should do the exact same things they did!

I mean, yeah, 50% of Europe died from the Black Death, but 50% also survived!

Here’s a few tips Obama’s new #Ebola Czar can take from our medieval forebearers to help us cope with a disease that’s presently on track to kill fewer Americans than the common cold.

1. Kill Everyone Who Leaves Their House

Apollo_11_crew_in_quarantine (That's why Dick Nixon was the greatest President America ever had.)

When the Apollo astronauts came back from the moon, Richard Nixon had the good sense to lock them in a box for two weeks until he could be sure they didn’t have space Ebola. It’s that sort of leadership that made Dick Nixon our greatest president.

You can’t spread Ebola if you never come in contact with anyone right? Just lock everyone in their houses and take away the keys and we’ll all just sit inside and wait for it all to be over. Maybe everyone else will die but you and your family, you’ll survive safe and sound in your basement eating peaches out of aluminum cans. Wait! The world’s largest Bauxite (the shit you make aluminum out of) reserves are in Guinea. Guinea has Ebola! YOU’RE DEAD

2. Start Flagellating Yourself

Black Death 2

God hates you. Really, really, really hates you. Because you deserve it. Because you are a sinner. Because you eat too much, drink too much, jerk off too much. Why do you keep enjoying life? Why do you keep feeling joy? To feel joy is to piss in the eye of Jesus. Suffer. Suffer. Suffer. Repent. Repeat. Suffer.

3. Inexplicably Blame Jewish People

Kulturgeschichte / Religionsgeschichte / Juden / 19. Jh.

“I’ve never met a problem yet that rabid anti-Semetism can’t solve.” ~Everyone in Europe from 70 AD to 1946

You know your college roommate? The one who took you to your first college party? The one who introduced you to the girl who took your virginity? The one who got you drunk for the first time on Manischewitz? He is personally responsible for Ebola. Don’t ask me how. I just know. You should drive him out of town. You should beat him with sticks. You should burn down his house. Not before I steal all of his good stuff though.

4. Wear Awesome Masks

Plague Doctor

So cool! It’s like he’s in the Knife or something.

The doctors who used to go around treating the people dying from the plague used to wear these long, beak like masks to protect themselves against catching the plague. Did they help? No they didn’t do shit because the Black Death wasn’t airborne. It was spread by fleas. But they looked really, really cool. Way cooler than those dumb white paper masks Japanese people are always wearing. If you’re going to die anyway, better to be a fashionable while you do it, amiright?

5. Be Polish


Medieval Poland, perpetually underrated.

For some reason the Black Death never really struck the Kingdom of Poland. Just skipped it somehow. They didn’t shut themselves off. They didn’t stop trading or traveling. They even gave refuge to the Jews! And yet hardly anyone there died from the same disease that killed half of the population everywhere else. Do you know what nation hasn’t had one single death from Ebola yet? Poland. NOT ONE! Coincidence? Well, let me put it like this: If I were you, I’d be having my name legally changed to Casimir and my chin surgically altered to look like a boot.

6. Become Convinced the Apocalypse is Coming


Yeesh, War, put on some clothes. You’re War not harlotry.

All across Europe thousands and thousands of clergy and laymen alike predicted that the massive death caused by the Black Death was the beginning of the end for life on Earth. The world, they thought, was ending. The Antichrist was coming. The looked for signs in everything. They drew lines connecting the boils of the dying to create pentagrams. They accused witches of intentionally spreading the disease at the behest of Satan. They engaged in elaborate numerology to prove that the date the plague began actually counted up to 666. Wait. No. That was some people on the internet two days ago.

Ebola Plague

7. Completely Fail to Understand How the Disease You’re Trying to Save Yourself From Works

No less stupid than thinking a comet caused Ebola.

No less stupid than thinking a comet caused Ebola.

During the Black Death, people had no idea what germs or bacteria or viruses were. Just no idea at all! So they really sucked at containing any and all plagues. Everybody dying of Typhus? That’s no reason to stop dumping all our feces and garbage and rotting corpses in the drinking water! Today we know a lot more about biology, diseases, and immunology than they did. But here’s the thing: science is dumb and never ever did anything to help anyone. So why listen to it?

Just because Ebola isn’t an airborne disease is no reason not to go around wearing paper masks everywhere! Just because hand-sanitizer doesn’t kill the Ebola virus is no reason not to drown your children in tub full of Lysol. Just because you have to actually exchange bodily fluids with someone to catch their Ebola is no reason not to scream in terror and flee every time you see a black person. Remember, no one ever survived the plague by being smart. They only ever survived it by being paranoid lunatics whose idiocy endangered others.

(Did you enjoy this? Then share it! Otherwise all of us good folk at the U4E are going to starve to death. Or, failing that, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter or Tumblr so you can keep up to date on all the sensuous content we deliver to the interwebs every week.)