This week we take a look at the Angry Birds conspiracy and Russian Swine hatred. Bleach Sandwich asks:
How do you feel about the Swine?
How do you feel about that? You know you love it. But seriously, this seemingly simple and innocuous question has roots that go deeper than you might care to know. Asking how I feel about the Swine necessitates taking a closer look at Angry Birds and the 2009 Swine and Avian Flu outbreaks.
We should all be familiar by now with the game Angry Birds unless you’re really old or really technologically inept, which both amount to the same thing. The game pits some pissed off flightless birds against pigs. Why pigs you might ask? What did the Swine do to deserve such violent treatment?
While Angry Birds didn’t really get going until 2011, it’s been around in one variant or another since 2009. The same year as the Swine Flu pandemic and the Avian Flu outbreak. Coincidence? Of course not. Everything is intentional whether consciously or unconsciously (unconsciously intentional!?? Yes.).
The game developers at Rovio Entertainment chose to aim their hatred at the Swine for their involvement in one of the most disappointing and overly sensationalized pandemics ever. One might even say that the lame Swine Flu pandemic was more successful than the Avian Flu “outbreak”. That success is enough for the birds to be pissed off, but what stake does Rovio have in a grudge between Avian and Swine? Quite a lot actually.
Rovio, for those who are unaware, is a Finnish company. Finland, in it’s not too distant past was under Russian rule, and today still has very close economic and political ties to the country. According to Economy Watch, Russia both imports and exports more goods with Finland than any other major world economy.
Finland and Russia represent the interests of the birds and the Avian Flu. Where was it that the Avian Flu hit first in 2009? China. China also happens to be the largest producer of pork in the world. China is represented by the pigs in Angry Birds. What this all amounts to is that Angry Birds is depicting a Secret Cold War between the allied nations of Finland and Russia against China.
While at the surface, Russia-China relations have appeared amicable for some time, there are underlying tensions. Russia has held its place as a military super-power for many decades, and China, a young upstart, has super-power aspirations. China has stopped purchasing large quantities of military weapons from Russia in favor of trying to reverse-engineer them on their own. This means two things to Russia: less money from China, and a more militaristically independent China. Neither of which is a good thing.
Russia responded to this slight by secretly infecting birds with the Avian Flu and sending them into China, while China retaliated with the Swine Flu. Not only did they infect pigs with the H1N1 variety, but they also infected the pigs with H5N1 and H3N2. Swine have the unfortunate ability to become easily infected by many varieties of Influenza, making them the perfect breeding ground for super-powered mutant strains of Influenza.
We all know that both of these past, potential pandemics fell flat, but there are still lots of Avian and Swine out there with potential super-strains of Influenza in them. So beware the wrath of the Secret Cold War, and watch out for pig farmers. But I still haven’t really answered the question: how do I feel about the Swine?
In truth you’re asking me how I feel about China, so here it is: I like tofu (I don’t care what the hippies say about soy). So, China’s cool. Plus if China ever becomes another super-power it might be like Firefly. So that’s cool too.
Viva la Swine.
You can also see me in action in the webcomic, One Die Short.