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Birds do not exist: the story of a comic conspiracy theory that all birds are spies of the US government

In two years, the joke of a 20-year-old student turned into a movement with tens of thousands of supporters, promotions and his memes.

Birds do not exist. At all. Each bird is a drone spy with which the CIA monitors North Americans. Other governments have similar programs. And they all pursue one goal – total control. For this, the US agency destroyed billions of birds in the late 1950s. Once again – the birds do not exist.

Tens of thousands of supporters of the Birds Aren’t Real movement adhere to this comic conspiracy theory. What a student invented for the sake of laughter in 2017 became a large-scale satire on how easily people believe everything they see on the Internet. TJ tells the story of the community and its founder.

From the Dulles Plan to the Kennedy Assassination

A detailed history of the government conspiracy can be found on the website birdsarentreal.com . Once the birds existed, in the middle of the 20th century they began to be brutally destroyed. The idea belonged to Allen Dulles – the director of the CIA of those times and the author of the very “plan of Dulles.” From his order from 1959 to 1971, more than 12 billion birds were killed: the bombers injected a special poison into the air, which not only acted deadly, but also accelerated decomposition.

In the first six years of the operation, Earth lost 72% of the bird population. Why do we still see them in the sky? Because they are not birds. At the same time, in the 1950s, Dulles selected 23 engineers who went to Zone-51 to design drones that follow people. After the end of the projects, 22 out of 23 engineers died, and only one survived, in order to tell the secret to the descendants.

A rare photo – the US government with a prototype robot

Naturally, at that time no one called roboptits drones – then they did not come up with such words. But every year technologies improved, and disguise became more natural. But sometimes you can still find flying robots of the old model. According to rumors, US President John Kennedy sharply spoke out against the destruction of birds, but on November 22, 1963, he was killed. After that, the CIA adjusted the election results so that only candidates who closed their eyes to the drones won.

The last real bird died in 2001 in a closed ceremony that took place on an island near Virginia. There are no more birds left on Earth.

Single picket at the Women’s March

Of course, the whole story is fictional. And it started with a student at the University of Arkansas named Peter McIndoe, who came to friends in Memphis, Tennessee. On January 17, 2017, he entered the city for the first Women’s March – a major action for the rights of women, which took place after Donald Trump came to power.

Around the world, more than two million people took part in the march with posters on the topic of equality, freedoms and rhetoric of the new US president. But 20-year-old Peter had his own poster – a crossed-out bird and an inscription: “There are no birds”.

“I always wanted to go to a rally with a slogan that doesn’t fit the protest at all, Mackindo explained two years later. The day after the march, he and his friends developed the idea of ​​a poster into a parody movement, ridiculing all modern conspiracy theories at once.

All the next day, the students went with a poster and, for fun, interviewed passersby in Memphis. “Have you ever seen birds?” Asked Peter to the woman. “Of course,” she answered. After that, the guy began to prove that they are actually government drones.

Peter with a poster “Pigeons are liars”, autumn 2017

Friends liked the joke so much that they created the “Birds Does Not Exist” traffic accounts on Twitter, Instagram and Reddit. Peter and his company also made a website where they painted the entire history of the government program for replacing all the birds of North America with Drones. Mackindo also continued to shoot videos, where he played a crazy fanatic on a single picket. “I share myself with the real one and myself as a character in the movement,” the student noted.

American Birds Truth Movement

In the first year, Peter actively developed a comic conspiracy theory, attracting people to his pages. By the summer of 2018, “Birds do not exist” had more than 11 thousand subscribers, and then the next stage of the movement began. Mackindo began selling merch, and also called for distribution of leaflets to colleges, schools and other cities.

Soon they really began to appear on the street pillars. “Birds do not exist! Wake up, city N. Birds are CIA drones for surveillance, ”read the posters. In October, one such leaflet was noticed by a journalist from Chicago, and then a snapshot of a poster from California hit the Reddit top.

So tens of thousands of people discovered the movement for themselves. More of them became after the review of PewDiePie, who spoke about the comic conspiracy theory on his YouTube channel. By June 2019, the “Birds Does Not Exist” movement already has 92 thousand followers on Reddit , 103 thousand followers on Instagramand 41 thousand followers on Twitter .

Peter and his friends began to interview, but at first they played the roles of people who really believed in the government plot. Only then did they begin to talk openly about the joke.

Followers began to develop a fictional universe, where there are no birds, but there are spy drones. For example, subscribers began to think over how we eat bird meat, how technology is called, and who hides the truth from people. The movement began to appear regional offices.

In November 2018, I wrote to Peter and asked if I could open the Birds Aren’t Real branch in Ohio. He agreed.

Personally, I see this as a satire on real conspiracy theories like a flat Earth. I try to write my posts in the regional department with humor, but at the same time in a serious tone. This is a challenge for me.author of the account “Birds do not exist – Ohio”

Memes against drone birds

In two years, the movement began to surround many of its memes. Of course, almost all of them are associated with those who are disguised as birds (sometimes very clumsily). Jokes and pictures can be found in any of the “Birds do not exist” accounts.

“They warned us” / Your government lies to you! / You are a little better than a slave! / Wake up, you stupid human bastard! / Perfectly

Old model

Russia has its own drones

Government becomes careless – this drone is still not unpacked.

Not the most successful prototype
Caption: There are currently no animals in this area

At one time, Peter wanted to abandon the movement. He moved from Arkansas to Tennessee and sales of the first t-shirts with the print “Birds Does Not Exist” were not going well. But now it is his main source of income, the plans for the 22-year-old guy – a documentary film about how you can turn an absurd theory into something more.

In November, after the hype with the media and PewDiePie, Peter went with a girl to a coffee shop in the center of Memphis. And at the next table, the founder of the movement saw a girl with a “Birds Aren’t Real” sticker on the laptop. Proponents of the bird drones theory were closer than he thought.

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