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Friday, July 16, 2021
MRC Melts Down Over Racist History of Birdwatching Being Exposed
Topic: Media Research Center

How much of a snowflake is Matt Philbin, the Media Research Center managing editor for culture? We've already seen him freak out over plastic bricks refusing to hate LGBT people as much as he does. In a June 7 post, he has a total meltdown over exposure of some of the racist history of birdwatching and the people some birds are named after, a screed that includes a bizarre, fact-free fantasia of how conservatives actually think newspapers work:

Washington Post Editor: “We’re not stirring enough woke outrage. Who haven’t we smeared as racist yet?”

Washington Post Editorial Flunky: “Ornithologists.”

Washington Post Editor: “Genius! Get me 2,000 words on bird bigots.”

You don’t think that’s how decision-making is done at The Post? Well how else do you explain “The Racist Legacy Many Birds Carry?” It’s a long June 3 piece by Darryl Fears that tackles “The birding community’s … difficult debate about the names of species connected to enslavers, supremacists and grave robbers.”

So they’re havin’ a go at the birds now. The problem seems to be that birdwatching isn’t immune to wokeness and the deeply stupid pieties that come with it. Therefore ornithologists may need “to change as many as 150 eponyms, names of birds that honor people with connections to slavery and supremacy.”

Fear wrote: “Even John James Audubon’s name is fraught in a nation embroiled in a racial reckoning.” It seems the great bird artist and cataloger owned slaves and didn't think much of emancipation. “Some of his behavior is so shameful that the 116-year-old National Audubon Society — the country’s premier bird conservation group, with 500 local chapters — hasn’t ruled out changing its name.”


How about you leave it packed and go back to watching birds? It’s an option. Maybe it’s all the public hand-wringing that’s making the legacy painful for black, indigenous, etc. Maybe those people just want to see a belted kingfisher or an American yellow warbler. Maybe they’re healthy, well-adjusted individuals who understand that, however odious Audubon’s views on slaver are, his contributions to the science and study of birds is worthy of acknowledgement.


Fears quoted J. Drew Lanham, “a Black ornithologist and professor at Clemson University in South Carolina”: “Conservation has been driven by white patriarchy,” this whole idea of calling something a wilderness after you move people off it or exterminate them and that you get to take ownership.”

There you have the issue, such as it is, in a nutshell: resentment. The crimes of Audubon et al don’t matter. Wokies are simply angry they have to use names they (or people that look like them) didn’t come up with. They hate that history has ordered the world a certain way and they harbor the jacobin dream of starting over from Year Zero. 

Birdwatching is now a profoundly political act. Bird-brained? You bet.

Thoush not as bird-brained as Philbin's utterly serious belief that racist birdwatchers are too important to be held accountable for their racism -- or that racists shouldn't be head accountable, period, simply because they're long dead and must continue to be honored no matter what.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:34 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, July 16, 2021 1:41 PM EDT

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