‘Birds Aren’t Real’ Founder Proves People Will Believe Anything

‘Birds Aren’t Real’ Founder Proves People Will Believe Anything
High Times

Birds Aren’t Real is a conspiracy movement that’s exactly what it sounds like: the concept that birds aren’t real, and they’ve been replaced by robotic replicas, installed by the “deep state.” But founder Peter McIndoe, 24, broke character on CBS 60 Minutes on May 1 to explain that his conspiracy theory is simply a parody and that his movement is more of a social experiment—and it’s working like a charm. Bird Aren’t Real slogans and imagery appear on billboards, bumper stickers, and even places such as an NCAA men’s basketball national championship game. The website sells “Truther Gear” like crazy. Birds Aren’t Real now boasts over 1 million devoted followers and over 400,000 followers on Instagram. “Once a preventative cause, our initial goal was to stop the genocide of real birds,” the organization states on its website. “Unfortunately this was unsuccessful, and the government has since replaced every living bird with robotic replicas. Now our movement’s prerogative is to make everyone aware of this fact.” The organization provides a faux history of supposedly launching in 1973 after learning of a secret C.I.A. operation to wipe out birds dating back to the 1950s. Despite the level of absurdity, the movement attracted actual followers who are convinced birds aren’t real. On April 14, profiled in The Guardian, McIndoe said the “absurdity is getting more intense.” McIndoe realized his own movement had become larger than he could control. “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?’” Sometimes, he joined in on the fun himself and fanned the flames. “If it flies? It spies! If it flies? It spies!” McIndoe chanted at a…

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