Birdbrain Revolution

Ostensibly, Angry Birds delivers a simple, moral message. The wicked are punished by the dispossessed. But there is another, implicit message that is not at all moral.

This week I understood the reason for the silence enveloping the buses I ride. Initially I thought it had something to do with me. Maybe my hearing problems, the fact that I can no longer hear the reverberating shouts coming from cell phones around me. Until I realized the reason is the revolution - that is, the revolution taking place in the talking habits of my fellow passengers who have downloaded the game Angry Birds to their iPhones and become completely addicted to it.

Gone are the vapid conversations along the lines of, "Hey, bro, where ya at? What's up, bro? Everything okay, bro?" The "brothers" aren't answering, and they aren't calling either: Bent over their little devices, they are helping the angry birds whose eggs have been stolen by the wicked pigs, aiming slingshots at the swine's fortified bastions and killing them. And the more they kill, the better.

Angry birds
Eran Wolkowski

Ostensibly, Angry Birds delivers a simple, moral message. The wicked are punished by the dispossessed. But there is another, implicit message that is not at all moral. The game "gives permission" to the birds to strike at the pigs with no mercy and to derive sadistic pleasure from the very fact of the vengeance and the destruction of their homes. And this is entirely legitimate, because the birds have a moral justification for rampaging: to settle accounts with those who have done them ill.

The Angry Birds game does indeed presage a revolution in its field. Instead of the addiction to the straightforward sort of war games between the good guys and the bad guys, it has succeeded in implanting a new, addictive inclination in people's brains: an addiction to taking revenge on behalf of the side that sees itself as robbed, against those who have done it an injustice.

In general, it is worth knowing that any change from one kind of addictive stupidity to another kind of addictive stupidity is known nowadays as "a revolution." If the Orange smartphones revolution is a revolution, and the Subaru third-generation revolution is a revolution, and the nursing care insurance price revolution is a revolution, then definitely the demonstrations that deposed Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak constitute a revolution, exactly like those trying to topple Muammar Gadhafi in Libya, and the president of Yemen, and some of the rulers in the Persian Gulf emirates.

There is nothing the worldwide worship of improvements and upgrades of technical devices could have wished for more than proof on the ground that these improvements and upgrades really do work.

"Look," a citizen of the world, whose brain has already been completely addled by running after upgrades, will say. "Just like in the Angry Birds game, the pig Mubarak, and the pig Gadhafi, and that pig Whatsisname from Tunisia, and the one from Yemen and those ones from Bahrain and Oman - they are all getting what they deserve from the angry birds after all those years in which they suffered the theft of their eggs in silence."

"Look, look," urges his compatriot, who is equally idiotic. "Look at how they're collapsing, the tyrants, one after another thanks to Twitter and Facebook. That means the more I become addicted to this idiocy, and keep upgrading, and other people upgrade in my footsteps, the world will be more just, won't it?"

What is so sad and discouraging in this situation is that sooner or later there will no longer be anyone left in the world who is not entitled to upgrade by means of some revolution. This one will upgrade by buying a mobile phone from the fourth, fifth and sixth-G revolutions. Another will upgrade by toppling a tyrant from the old G in the revolution of the third generation of sufferers from his tyranny. A third will upgrade by removing the hair from his body in the depilation revolution.

And it is infinitely sadder and more discouraging to think that perhaps the fact of the addiction to the word "revolution" is what connected the chain of blood that began in Tunisia, went to Egypt and jumped to the Gulf emirates and Libya, without anyone noticing that it isn't enough to call something a revolution for it to be a revolution. It is quite possible that some time soon various television panels will be hosting historians specializing in the Arab countries, who will nod their heads and say, "It has emerged that those angry birds do indeed have birdbrains. True, they have wiped out the pigs and we have applauded them. It has been fun for a while, but what now?"

However, it is equally possible that such discussions will not take place, since, as the human brain is shrinking more and more and converging with the bird brain, just as the word revolution has changed its meaning, so the term "history" will soon find itself interpreted as "Hey, bro, what G is your iPhone from?"