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18 September 2011

Why the birds are angry

Listen up, Glenn Beck: Angry Birds is a socialist analogy

By Eleanor Margolis

Late one night, while hurling animated birds at a fortress containing smug little green pigs, I began to wonder if “Angry Birds” – the smart phone game that’s sold over two million copies – could be seen as a socialist analogy.

For those who haven’t played Angry Birds, the premise of the game is this: malevolent pigs have stolen all of the birds’ eggs and barricaded themselves in wonky citadels, in preparation for inevitable avian retribution. The player’s goal is to catapult (understandably) “angry” birds at these structures, in order to topple them, kill the pigs and reclaim their eggs.

I Googled “Angry Birds socialism”, to see what the internet had to say about it. The first result was an article on tech news site TG Daily about ranting US radio show host and Tea Partyist Glenn Beck linking the game to the far-left.

“Ah”, I thought, “Glenn Beck denounces Angry Birds as socialist propaganda. How like him”. Then I read the article properly. Beck wasn’t condemning Angry Birds, he was using it for his own means. According to Beck, the birds represent the “wealthiest one per cent of society”. The pigs are the “mooching” poor, who have stolen the rich birds’ hard-earned eggs. This logic is completely upside-down. Beck has tried to claim Angry Birds for the right and it’s now my personal mission claim my favourite iPhone game for the left.

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First things first. The birds aren’t rich bankers and businessmen, they’re disgruntled workers. Birds don’t “earn” eggs, as Glenn Beck’s warped logic would have you think, they make them. The eggs represent the worker birds’ industrial output, the profits of which have been harvested by the capitalist pigs (could this be any more obvious?).

What’s more, although the birds come in several different colours, the original bird is red. Coincidence? And it’s also interesting that the capitalist pigs happen to be green – the colour of (cue drum roll) the US dollar.

And as if all this weren’t enough to set the player’s political compass twitching, some of the pigs wear soldiers’ helmets and even crowns. None of the birds have helmets. They’re a ragged band of unarmed freedom fighters. And the crowns? Could this possibly be a more blatant anti-monarchical message?

So, Mr Beck, you can spit all the bile you like about liberalism. You can foam at the mouth about gay marriage and abortion. But Angry Birds belongs to the left and there’s nothing you can do about it.