Radar: The Silly Revolution

Random acts of absurdity and folly are being committed throughout the country.

By MEREDITH PRICE
September 24, 2005 03:46

Random acts of absurdity and folly are being committed throughout the country, and reports of growing numbers of red-capped militia are flooding in as we speak. It seems the revolution has at last begun. But don't look for tired men in long coats marching across muddy trails with bayonets behind captains on horseback. This militia is comprised of the young, and they are frolicking out in the open, ready to fight their enemies for silliness and fun, ready to share their whiskey for a laugh and lay down their toys in order to eradicate all remnants of seriousness from society. The more militant of the group have even organized protests against passion fruit, lobbied for their rights to silliness with gigantic water fights in public squares and philosophize in their on-line open-source manifesto about the true meaning of farce on a daily basis. "Pharsh," the official title of the Silly Revolution, translates into English as "lame." And according to one founding father, Yaron Nahari, aka Darda Saba (Papa Smurf), a more suitable name could not have been found to describe the revolutionaries. "Pharsh takes silliness very seriously," says Nahari, adjusting his red hat as he purses a pair of bright red lips into a kiss for the air. He has just finished his makeover at the Cover Girl corner, one of the activities included in the open-air slumber party Pharsh recently organized at Kikar Hamedina in Tel Aviv. Between long blinks that reveal the electric blue shade of his eyelids, he explains that The Silly Revolution is about having fun and enjoying life, two things people don't seem to do enough of, especially lately and especially in Israel. Unlike previous revolutions, The Silly Revolution is not out to change the planet, solve global warming, or eliminate world hunger. The goal is simpler and easier to accomplish: spread as much silliness as possible without hurting others or yourself in the process. "Not everything in life always has to do with all the problems in the world," says Hila Nahari, one of the younger members of Pharsh who joined the group after tiring of the ideological dogma surrounding a youth movement of which she was a member. "If everyone in the world would just have more fun, the problems would decrease by themselves, and we're certainly not stopping others from helping in any way," she says, as a pajama-wearing red hatter skips by behind her on a broomstick. From the grin on his face and the ziggettyzag in his bounce, one might assume the broom wielder is on his way to the remote tent reserved for those revolutionaries wanting to participate in an old-time party favorite, "Seven Minutes in Heaven." Or maybe, as the number on his chest indicates, he's involved, it's his turn to play "Truth or Dare" and he's just warming up. Avi Goren, a biology student at Tel Aviv University and one of the founders of Pharsh, took on the task of organizing the game. More than 50 numbers were given out, and Goren personally made the rounds one by one, whimsically asking, "Truth or dare?" to every teddy bear-carrying, pillow hugging participant. "One person got dared to ask for electricity powder in a corner shop," says Goren. "Another girl had to call the Bezeq service center and complain that her phone was leaking. Eventually, another guy joined in pretending to be her father, and yelled at the Bezeq guy for his having to clean up the puddles on the floor. Together they managed to keep him on the line in a state of utter confusion for over 10 minutes and it was hilarious to hear!" says Goren. As if "Truth or Dare" and "Seven Minutes in Heaven" weren't enough to entertain the crowd, and the Cover Girl counter couldn't put enough sparkle into the night, Pharsh also organized a Twister game on an oversized mat, a fondue kiosk with delicious tidbits, storytellers, and more than one singer accompanied by a few guitars. "All in all, despite a few complaints about disorganization and the higher-than-usual percentage of younger kids at the event, silliness abounded and the revolution moved forward productively," explains Goren. The Silly Revolution aims to attract people from all age groups and with different interests, and they are trying to avoid all categorizations other than just plain silly, which they have thus far accomplished quite well. So how did the revolution begin? According to Nahari, like so many other revolutions, the idea was spawned amidst alcohol fumes and cigarette smoke in the most unlikely of pubs and then promptly forgotten about for many months. Shir Comay, a freelance videographer and another of the founding members, says that only after a large, iconic dinosaur was sacrificed to the cause did the real revolution start to take hold. "It all began with 700 liters of beer, 40 liters of spirits, an uncountable number of energy drinks and a dead dinosaur who was sacrificed for the cause, tragically deflated in a bath of alcohol," says Comay. "Something had to go. The dinosaur wilted." In October, Pharsh plans to install talk boxes, similar to the tin cans and string some of us may have used as kids, in Tel Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem. "People should be able to communicate across cities for a few hours one afternoon through our linking devices, and if it doesn't work, at least we had fun trying," says Goren. An Alice in Wonderland tea party is on the schedule for March, and the awards for the silliest acts across the country are currently in progress. Nahari expects a Pharsh splinter group, "The Pants Wetters" from Zichron Ya'acov, to take home first prize. "They built a giant Trojan llama and raided the streets with their silly antics," says Nahari. For International Speak Like a Pirate Day last Monday, Pharsh members, in pirate regalia, boarded buses across Tel Aviv, speaking like pirates until they had successfully "sailed" to their destinations and then quickly moved on to their next "ship." So despite the small number of revolutionaries currently fighting for their rights to have fun and be silly, the group seems to be growing at an alarmingly rapid pace, and they are everywhere. It is possible to get swept up unwittingly by the hilarity, and not all revolutionaries can be recognized by a red hat. Participating in the silliness around you and adding to the laughter may be the most effective civilian defense against this most unusual of revolutions.


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