Birds Aren’t Real:
Starting in 2017, Bird’s Aren’t Real is a viral conspiracy theory created and lead by Peter McIndoe, that captured the attention and minds of thousands across America and the world. Believers of the conspiracy insist the American government systematically replaced millions of birds with surveillance drones to spy on the civilians. But what does it all mean?
Bringing back humour and satire to the American political climate amongst all the seriousness and fear surrounding politics and protests, while members will swear its real and an unspoken rule of protests is that everyone is in on the joke and is in character, the idea was to unite people and see how far they could take the idea.
For context, Peter McIndoe grew up heavily religious and when he turned 10, he questioned his parents on the legitimacy of the bible, this resulted in his parents wanting to perform an exorcism on him. When Peter discovered the internet he was able to realise that people could have different beliefs and that any and all information he desired could be found online, which is where the fascination with conspiracy thinking started. Due to his younger life, McIndoe says he felt to exist he had to play a character, and that eventually lead to ’Birds’ which is a character based of off people he knows in his own life, a caricature of someone with such strong beliefs – someone who has allowed themselves to be consumed by conspiracy.
The followers of this movement are mostly gen-z or millennials, people who have grown up with the internet and understand the new wave of satire, and while this movement is a joke, it has very real roots, commenting on the surveillance of citizens, pop up consumerism and other political conspiracies.
“So ive asked myself why I’ve played this character for five years I thinks thats because that was the story that felt worth telling, it seemed to become more and more of a reflection of America” – Peter McIndoe
“Birds Aren’t Real is taking advantage of the meme-ification of previous conspiracy theories, people really want to believe in conspiracies – but more than that, people want to make fun of people that believe in conspiracies even more. Starting a conspiracy theory and selling Bird’s Aren’t Real merchandise allows them to sell both sides.” – Mike Metzler – Audubon.com (birds in the news) article written by Fernando Alfonso
In Vices documentary ”The Truth Behind ’Bird’s Aren’t Real’, My Life Online” the Peter McIndoe metaphorically unmasks the whole operation, explaining the movement, how it started, and why he is stepping back from it. The movement brought people together and shows the power of the internet all while mocking modern politics and beliefs.