‘The lunacy is getting more intense’: how Birds Aren’t Real took on the conspiracy theorists

In early 2017, Peter McIndoe, now 23, was studying psychology at the University of Arkansas, and visiting friends in Memphis, Tennessee. He tells me this over Zoom from the US west coast, and has the most arresting face – wide-eyed, curious and intense, like the lead singer of an indie band, or a young monk. “This was right after the Donald Trump election, and things were really tense. I remember people walking around saying they felt as if they were in a movie. Things felt so unstable.”

It was the weekend of simultaneous Women’s Marches across the US (indeed, the world), and McIndoe looked out of the window and noticed “counterprotesters, who were older, bigger white men. They were clear aggravators. They were encroaching on something that was not their event, they had no business being there.” Added to that, “it felt like chaos, because the world felt like chaos”.

McIndoe made a placard, and went out to join the march. “It’s not like I sat down and thought I’m going to make a satire. I just thought: ‘I should write a sign that has nothing to do with what is going on.’ An absurdist statement to bring to the equation.”

That statement was “birds aren’t real”. As he stood with the counterprotesters, and they asked what his sign meant, he improvised. He said he was part of a movement that had been around for 50 years, and was originally started to save American birds, but had failed. The “deep state” had destroyed them all, and replaced them with surveillance drones. Every bird you see is actually a tiny feathered robot watching you.

Someone was filming him and put it on Facebook; it went viral, and Memphis is still the centre of the Birds Aren’t Real movement. Or is it a movement? You could call it a situationist spectacle, a piece of rolling performance art or a collective satire. MSNBC called it a “mass coping mechanism” for generation Z, and as it has hundreds of thousands of followers on social media, “mass”, at least, is on the money.

It’s the most perfect, playful distillation of where we are in relation to the media landscape we’ve built but can’t control, and which only half of us can find our way around. It’s a made-up conspiracy theory that is just realistic enough, as conspiracies go, to convince QAnon supporters that birds aren’t real, but has just enough satirical flags that generation Z recognises immediately what is going on. It’s a conspiracy-within-a-conspiracy, a little aneurysm of reality and mockery in the bloodstream of the mad pizzagate-style theories that animate the “alt-right”.

Birds Aren’t Real didn’t stay in Memphis – in a sequence reminiscent of the Winklevoss scene in The Social Network, when they realise just how big Facebook has become, McIndoe recalls being back at college, five hours away from Memphis. “I remember seeing videos of people chanting: ‘Birds aren’t real,’ at high-school football games; and seeing graffiti of birds aren’t real. At first, I thought: ‘This is crazy,’ but then I wondered: ‘What is making this resonate with people?’”

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40 Years Ago, Monty Python Predicted (and Mocked) Wokeness

Monty Python’s Life of Brian is the most prescient movie ever made, predicting exactly in 1979 the cultural madness you see around you today.

Despite that, the flick was wrongly derided four decades ago by the very people who might find it gob-smackingly funny today.

Life of Brian was vigorously protested during its U.S. release by various groups who believed — apparently without having seen the movie — that it was anti-Christian.

Nothing could be further from the truth. There are only two appearances by Jesus in the movie, one of which is off-screen. The first is the night of Jesus’ birth (Brian’s, too) and what little we see is true to the Bible.

Well, except for the part where the Three Wise Men first tried to deliver their gifts to baby Brian in the manger next door.

In the other scene, years later, we briefly see Jesus giving the Sermon on the Mount. No mockery is made of Jesus or His message.

Of all the jokes, gags, and barbs thrown in every direction, Jesus is the only figure shown respect. Monty Python trouper Eric Idle later said of Jesus, “What he’s saying isn’t mockable, it’s very decent stuff.”

For a non-believing, take-no-prisoners comedian like Idle, that’s practically a whole-hearted endorsement.

Instead, the film — Python’s only real film, the others were basically collections of sketches, even Holy Grail — is anti-authoritarian, anti-fanaticism, anti-nihilism, and anti-humorless prigs.

Life of Brian is, however, very pro-funny.

The Pythons even saved their sharpest barbs for political extremists and self-deluded lefties.

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HERE IS THE SILLY VIDEO Rep. Paul Gosar Posted that Tyrant Pelosi Is Using to Demand He is Removed from His Congressional Committees — What a Joke

No, this was not a threat to AOC or Joe Biden’s life. Only Democrats do that.

The Washington Post published an article stating that “Rep. Paul A. Gosar (R-Ariz.) shared an altered, animated video that depicts him killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and swinging two swords at President Biden”.

The video in question is literally a cartoon where Rep. Gosar is depicted flying on a jetpack using lightsaber-like weapons to defeat the colossal Titan with Alexandria Occasio-Cortes’ face photoshopped onto it.

It is a spoof of the fictional Japanese anime ‘Attack on Titan’.

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Babylon Bee CEO says satirical site ‘punching back’ against liberal media, Big Tech censorship

“Facebook recently announced they’ll be moderating satire to make sure it doesn’t ‘punch down.’ Anything that punches down—that is, anything that takes aim at protected targets Facebook doesn’t want you joking about—doesn’t qualify as ‘true satire,’” Dillon wrote. “In fact, they’ve made it clear they’ll consider jokes that ‘punch down’ to be hatred disguised as satire.” 

Dillon noted that Slate recently published a piece that accused the Bee of punching down. 

“This is not a coincidence. Having failed in their effort to lump us in with fake news, the media and Big Tech are looking for new ways to work together to deplatform us. They now hope to discredit us by saying we’re spreading hatred—rather than misinformation—under the guise of satire,” Dillon wrote. “But we’re not punching down.’ We’re punching back.”

Dillon feels “the left’s new prohibition of ‘punching down’ is speech suppression in disguise” and blasted anyone who plays along. 

“It’s people in positions of power protecting their interests by telling you what you can and cannot joke about. Comedians who self-censor in deference to that power are themselves a joke,” he wrote. 

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Mailchimp Suspends The Babylon Bee For “Harmful Information”

On Thursday, the online integrated marketing company Mailchimp suspended The Babylon Bee’s account, claiming that the system detected “harmful information” in the Bee’s emails. After Babylon Bee CEO Seth Dillon shared the news on Twitter, Mailchimp apologized. It was too late, however.

“I’d email everyone to let them know [Mailchimp] just suspended our account but Mailchimp just suspended our account,” Dillon announced on Twitter. Like many other companies, The Babylon Bee uses Mailchimp to send out emails to its broad email list. Without Mailchimp, the Bee could not tell its subscribers that Mailchimp had suspended the satire site.

Shortly after Dillon shared the news on Twitter, Mailchimp responded, saying that the company had reinstated the account.

“Hey Seth. We got this in front of our Compliance team and they’ve reinstated the account. Our team followed up in an email with more details. We apologize for the inconvenience,” Mailchimp tweeted.

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Twitter’s purge of the anti-woke satirists

Titania was not the only victim. The Babylon Bee, a US satire site, was also temporarily locked out, though it has since been restored. Other satirical accounts – Jarvis Dupont, Guy Verhoftwat, Tolerance Police, Liberal Larry and Sir Lefty Farr-Right QC – all remain suspended. Sir Lefty revealed on Parler that the only reason given for his suspension was ‘platform manipulation and dissemination of spam’.

All the accounts did was make fun of wokeness. But it seems virtue-signalling Silicon Valley nerds can’t take a joke. Apparently, this kind of comedy needs to be silenced.

Ironically, Twitter’s purge of the anti-woke satirists is a complete vindication of their work. In banning those who make fun of wokeness and criticise its censoriousness, Twitter has made it even clearer how authoritarian that wokeness is.

It has also shown wokeness to be totally humourless. Silicon Valley nerds need to lighten up.

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Twitter ‘accidentally’ suspends satirical site Babylon Bee after it mocked Kamala Harris and USPS conspiracies

Twitter suspended the account of parody news site The Babylon Bee after it mocked Democrat VP candidate Kamala Harris and ‘mail vote suppression’ conspiracies. It was shortly restored amid protests about censorship.

The Bee went dark around 6 pm on Monday. Archives showed that their last tweet was a story about President Donald Trump “riding around in an SUV” smashing mailboxes “to make it impossible for people to mail in their ballots.” 

The tweet before that one was about Harris proposing a “housing plan” where “everybody gets free 10’x10’ room and three meals a day” – a clear reference to prison, as Harris had been a prosecutor before getting elected to the Senate.

One conservative commentator pointed out that Twitter spokesman Nick Pacilio was previously the press secretary for Harris’s abortive presidential campaign.

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Cops Arrest Man for Having “Their Feelings Hurt” by His Satire Police Facebook Page

In 1988, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously agreed in Hustler v. Falwell, 485 U.S. 46, that a parody, which no reasonable person expected to be true, was protected free speech. In the three decades since, politicians and government agencies have ignored this ruling and attempted to go after those who mock them using satire and parody.

Police officers are the worst when it comes to getting triggered after being made fun of with parody or satire accounts. As the following case illustrates, their rage at someone’s free speech can manifest into deprivation of rights, kidnapping, and extortion.

Michael Samuel Joseph Freemen runs a Facebook page under the name Borger Police Department. Aside from the content of the posts, the logo looks very similar to the actual Borger Police Department except that on the right on Freeman’s version, it clearly states that this is a “Satire / Parody” Facebook page.

The Borger Police Department claimed it wasn’t always labeled in this manner. However, it doesn’t matter as “no reasonable person expected it to be true.” What’s more, the censors at Facebook didn’t have a problem with it and our readers know how ban and censorship happy they can be.

Because many police officers do not like to have their feelings hurt, for running the page that is clearly labelled as satire, a warrant was issued for Freemen’s arrest.

He turned himself in last week on a charge listed as “ONLINE IMPERSONATION-NAME/PERSONA CREATE PAGE” which is an apparent reference to Sec. 33.07. of the Texas Penal Code forbidding creation of an online page with the “name or persona” of another person.

Spoiler alert, the Borger Police Department is not a person.

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HBO Max Adds Introduction to ‘Blazing Saddles’ About ‘Racist Language’

If you go to watch Mel Brooks’ classic Western spoof Blazing Saddles on HBO Max this weekend, you’ll find something new: An introduction from film scholar and TCM host Jacquline Stewart. This follows HBO Max’s decision to briefly remove the controversial Oscar winner Gone With the Wind from its offerings, and then to make it available again with its own contextualizing intro, also by Stewart.

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