Friday Videos: Angry Birds vs. Middle East Despots

Posted: April 1st, 2011 under Uncategorized. Tags: ,

Love the fact that this goofy samizdat apparently came from a grassroots websavvy protestor with some cool animation skillz.

I love the fact that around the world, the emerging global culture plays off the fads&trends that have their origin in what kids in the U.S. find cool & interesting. In this case, it’s doing a mash-up between the soundtrack from a 1930s-era cartoon about the three little pigs, combined with the Angry Birds mobile/tablet game. (I love how the video includes little gems of gameplay that shows that the animator has actually played Angry Birds, and knows enough about it to make it funny & honest to the game experience. Also: note that the big savior is the Mighty Eagle, with the American flag branding. More on that in a bit.)

All the work I’ve done internationally has shown me over and over again, that while people around the world (quite rightly, at times) view the U.S. government with suspicion, skepticism or frustration … they eagerly embrace the latest videos, music, online games, online technology or silly internet memes that come from the U.S. It’s not a case of the medium being the message – it’s that the medium is so rooted in U.S. culture that American values and points of view just start to permeate thinking.

The whole argument that “Twitter doesn’t topple dictators” is a tired one, and Jay Rosen has a great article with exhaustive links explaining why that is such a straw man for People Who Should Know Better By Now. However, I do agree that Twitter itself doesn’t topple anyone – but it’s the shift in attitudes that occurs because of the slow drip, drip, drip of American open-source/democratic/anti-authoritarian discourse that is landing in the brains of web-connected young people around the world, that the powerful, slow but relentless force driving these uprisings.

More than anything else, this gives me hope for the future. These changes have been taking place incrementally, under the radar, really. But it’s why when I talk to the nerd/New Media outlaws in Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Colombia or Azerbaijan – they all speak great English. Because that’s the language that the tech manuals come in. English & American is the language of freedom & hope. Which sounds corny, but when you have these kids in their teens & 20s coming up to you with this look shining out of their eyes … it’s hard not to choke up just a little.

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