Sometimes joking works great: I find a soulmate of sorts and something inside that is wound tight relaxes half a turn. Sometimes it’s not great: My potential co-conversant edges away or, almost worse, leans in, taking me seriously on something that is so not serious.
So it is with the experience of decidedly mixed results that I caution (Too late! Of course!) the creators and perpetrators of Birds Aren’t Real. Guys. Don’t we have enough conspiracy theories without deliberately creating them for a joke?
Mr. McIndoe then walked around and improvised the Birds Aren’t Real conspiracy lore. He said he was part of a greater movement that believed that birds had been replaced with surveillance drones and that the cover up began in the 1970s.
In the last few years, the Bird Brigade flock has burned the flag of the Cardinals Major League Baseball team in St. Louis, petitioned Twitter to change its logo, and outchanted anti-abortion protestors. (I’d say that one of those things is not like the others, but hey.)
“I have a lot of excitement for what the future of this could be as an actual force for good,” he said. “Yes, we have been intentionally spreading misinformation for the past four years, but it’s with a purpose. It’s about holding up a mirror to America in the internet age.”
“It’s a safe space for people to come together and process the conspiracy takeover of America. It’s a way to laugh at the madness rather than be overcome by it.”
Well, OK, as long as you have a noble purpose. I mean, what could go wrong as long as you’re armed with good intentions?