In 1963, Hitchcock’s The Birds focused on strange and unexplained bird attacks. It’s one of the strangest ideas that’s somehow become a popular meme – the idea that birds are our enemies, and are plotting against us.
In July 2019, the chilling phrase “the birds work for the bourgeoisie” was first uttered, subsequently becoming a surreal internet meme.
But what exactly does it mean – and what are its origins? Read on to find out!
The original video from which the phrase originated was uploaded by user @slymcooper to the viral video site TikTok on July 7th 2019.
In it, Kendrick Smith makes the (as yet unsubstantiated) claim that “All of the birds died in 1986 due to Reagan killing them, and replacing them with spies that are now watching us.
The birds work for the Bourgeoisie.”
Now, of course, Kendrick Smith is a comedian, and isn’t seriously accusing President Ronald Reagan of secretly organizing both one of the largest avian massacres of all time, and a flying spy network with cameras on every tree and rooftop.
It’s a great surreal idea, and hilarious to think about, but it’s not true. Honest.
The video of Kendrick was popular, and was shared widely. Of course, along the way, various memes were also made in reference to the original video! Kendrick Smith himself
The Bourgeoisie are generally defined as the middle class, or in some schools of thinking, the capitalist class. in society.
Therefore, the phrase “The birds work for the Bourgeoisie” proposes the idea of class warfare – that the middle class has even turned the animal kingdom against the working class!
Now, obviously, birds aren’t drones – we all know this, right?
But this kind of surrealism is the perfect sort of thing to go viral online – it’s such a wild and crazy idea that you just can’t help but think about it and explore the possibilities!
It’s no surprise, then, that the meme became such a hit. It’s so obviously not true – but you can’t actually check every bird to see if they’re not drones either!
Birds Aren’t Real
This meme is related to an older idea that started gaining traction on Reddit from around 2017.
The simple premise of this idea, and indeed, the name of the subreddit itself, is that birds aren’t real. Or at least, not as we know them.
According to posts on the subreddit, birds aren’t living creatures, but drones disguised as animals – and that they are spying on us.
There are many different ideas around this theme – there’s Kendrick Smith’s Reagan idea, there are “theories” that birds are a CIA plot – but the basic idea is the same.
We’ve been lied to all of our lives. Ornithologists have either been taken in by one of the greatest scams in history – or must be in on the conspiracy.
Every nest is an enemy outpost, and every squawk and chirrup a coded transmission. They could even be using their sweet songs to lull us into a false sense of security – and yet, who knows for what nefarious ends. The birds are watching.
Or, they’re not – they’re merely vectors for someone else to watch through. They’re all remote controlled drones, with hidden cameras, available to infiltrate society at will.
You may even have some living near your house – or in it!
The website birdsarentreal.com unravels one of the theories in tragicomic fashion.
A CIA director in the 1950s was in charge of a surveillance program with the simple yet difficult remit – they were to put cameras in the sky.
A man with an unrelenting hatred for birds, he took it upon himself, his team, and the entire CIA to achieve this goal by massacring every bird in North America, and replacing them with drones.
Now, such a plan might seem crazy, but even crazier is the suggestion that not every bird was killed out of necessity for the program.
Indeed, by some accounts the surveillance program could have been successfully implemented with a mere quarter of the drones – and by extension, the avian casualties.
The reason for the overkill was purportedly in part down to the CIA director’s anger at the amount of pigeon poop on his and his team’s cars.
The CIA decided to attack the birds from the air, spraying them with poisonous liquid deployed from 120 bombers.
Billions of birds were supposedly wiped out and replaced with drones, creating the most intricate and secretive surveillance system the world has ever seen.
Some questions, of course, remain unanswered.
Such as – if the CIA wiped out all of the birds because of pigeon poop (an idea which, as much as we all love birds, I’m sure we can have at least a little sympathy with) – why is pigeon poop still around? And who keeps putting it there?
OK, obviously, none of this is true.
But it’s fun to think about, right?