Election 2020

Are These Vulgarity-Spouting Birds a Threat to Democracy?

Aaron Reynolds is just trying to make people laugh, but his content may have been flagged on Instagram for interfering with the election.

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Aaron Reynolds is the Canadian author and humorist behind some of the most bizarrely funny meme accounts to grace the internet. His popular "Swear Trek" and "Effin' Birds" social media accounts have hundreds of thousands of followers—and provide the perfect reactions to just about everything that's happened in 2020.

Reynolds is just trying to make people laugh on the internet, but this is his business too—he's got a book out, and sells Effin' Birds merchandise through an online store.

So when Reynolds noticed that his usually very popular Instagram posts under the "Effin' Birds" account weren't reaching as many viewers as usual during the final weeks of the presidential campaign, he was worried. Though he hasn't been able to get a straight answer from the social media giant, Reynolds suspects his content may have been flagged for running afoul of an algorithm meant to weed out foreign election interference. (Reason has had its own troubles with Instagram's location services, which seem to think this publication is based in the United Kingdom even after we proved we are not.)

Last month, Reynolds sat down with Reason for a conversation about his vulgarity-spouting birds, the power of social media companies, and how greater government regulation of the internet is no laughing matter.

Hosted by Eric Boehm. Produced and edited by Justin Monticello. Written by Boehm and Monticello. Graphics by Isaac Reese. Audio production by Ian Keyser.

Music: "Speed Freak" by Evgeny Bardyuzha and "DuDa" by Ian Post licensed through Artlist.io. 

NEXT: Why President Trump Should Free Ross Ulbricht

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  1. SleepyJoe will tell us what is acceptable.

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  2. Obscene birds! Let’s just flip them the bird!

    You know WHOOOOOO else was unwisely obscene?

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  3. Read the prior article and told my daughter about it; as I suspected
    [she apparently inherited my warped sense of humor] she liked it; even got me the Effin’ Birds calendar for Christmas.

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  4. The Farmers Son And The Duck.
    So this farmer sends his one and only son to town to sell his last remaining duck. He tells his son to be careful and not be cheated. So the son gets going and along the way he meets an old prostitute coming from town.

    She tells him to hand over the duck. He refuses, so she tells him that she will fuck him in exchange for the duck. He agrees readily. They go behind some bushes take off their clothes and have sex for a while. The boy is satisfied and hands over the duck, but the prostitute is still not satisfied and agrees to give back the duck for some more sex. So the have sex until late in the evening and the prostitute hands over the duck as bargained, and walks away.

    The boy continues walking along the road to town, when an approaching truck honks it’s horn. The duck is frightened and escapes the clutches of it’s owner, runs into the middle of the road and is flattened underneath the tires of the on-coming lorry.

    The boy is beside himself with grief. He starts to sob hysterically. The lorry meanwhile has come to a full stop and the driver consoles the boy by offering the boy 10$ for the dead duck. The is delighted, as he was told to sell the duck for 5$ in town. He heads back home.

    Back home the worried father asks him why he took so long to sell the duck. He explains: “Dad, I got a fuck for a duck, a duck for a fuck and ten bucks for a fucked up duck!”

    1. Q – Know how to get a sweet, little old lady to drop the f-bomb?

      A – Get another sweet, little old lady to yell “BINGO!”

    2. That was a good joke squirrel. Credit where credit is due.

  5. Meanwhile a citizen journalist in China was sentenced to several years for reporting on the Wuhan China virus that the communists released into the world. And reason remains silent on that particular topic unless it’s to criticize the administration for something. Note the irony that they will hammer Trump and remain silent on the Chicoms.

    But yeah birds, good.

    1. Chicom censorship is a template, not a cautionary tale.

    2. Rich Uncle Charles doesn’t like his little Reasonistas talking smack about his business partners.

  6. If George Carlin were alive today, he’d be too much of a pussy to update his old list of the seven dirty words. The modern seven forbidden words include: nigger, kike, spic, chink, faggot, dyke, and tranny.

    1. Wop’s up? How’s your dago?

      1. It is Manuel’s day off.

  7. So vulgar bird memes is where Reason staffers think a social media platform political censorship standards may be a problem?

    I guess it is a place to start.

    1. I’m amused by Effin’ Birds, but I suspect this article sends message that it’s just those silly algorithms that mechanically tease out the ridiculous along with the sublime [along with anything that runs counter to proper wokeness, aka “extreme right wing”]; yes, this is most definitely censorship in sheep’s clothing, dressed up to look like something to address hate. And who doesn’t hate hate?

      1. Facebook has already acknowledged that they will begin censoring posts racially bigoted posts using a progressive algorithm that weighs the bigotry by referencing the victim group. By that I mean that anti-white posts (i.e. calling someone a “cracker”) on Facebook will be tolerated while anti-Black posts (i.e. complaining about crime) will be censored. The assumption is that bigotry is less harmful when targeted against whites while anti-Black bigotry is more harmful due to their “oppressed” status.

        1. So we inexorably migrate to our respective and increasingly “extreme” platforms. It does make me wonder where we will be just a few years from now, and if our migration will include more than just virtual forums.

          1. My concern is that the elite that determine these rules for social media tend to have a progressive racial worldview instead of a race-blind approach. How this new thought works it way through private corporations and government public policy over the coming years is what frightens me.

            As for your comment, I plan to return to Myspace where I can advocate for libertarian positions, such as Bitcoin adoption, ending environmental regulations, and no age of consent laws.

  8. If you have to italicize “afoul”, it’s not a good enough joke.

    1. Punnier as afowl

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