Earlier this year, Republicans went all-in on protecting children’s entertainment. It was shortly after some of them had played some kind of role in the lead-up to the Jan. 6 riot. They needed to distract people from Donald Trump’s disgraceful exit from office. So they made a big deal out of a few problematic Dr. Seuss books being pulled from circulation. They claimed the left was trying to “cancel” the Muppets, Pepé Le Pew, Mr. Potato Head, and certain Disney animated classics. Jump to the back end of the year and now they’re doing the opposite: They’re coming for Big Bird.
It all started with a tweet from the official Twitter account belonging to one of Sesame Street’s most beloved figures: the towering yellow avian, who’s been educating and delighting children since 1969. Last week, COVID-19 vaccines were finally approved for children ages 5 through 11. And so Big Bird did his part by telling kids, and their hopefully not brainwashed parents, that they should get vaxxed against a highly transmissible and very deadly disease.
I got the COVID-19 vaccine today! My wing is feeling a little sore, but it’ll give my body an extra protective boost that keeps me and others healthy.
Ms. @EricaRHill even said I’ve been getting vaccines since I was a little bird. I had no idea!
— Big Bird (@BigBird) November 6, 2021
“I got the COVID-19 vaccine today!” Big Bird wrote. “My wing is feeling a little sore, but it’ll give my body an extra protective boost that keeps me and others healthy.” He thanked CNN’s journalist Erica R. Hill for pointing out that, like most kids, he’s been receiving vaccines “since I was a little bird. I had no idea!”
It was cute! And it will save lives. Nice work, Big Bird! But there were some people who were not happy that a fictional character was telling children to stay safe. Those people were Republicans.
Leading the charge was arguably the most dragged person on Twitter, Senator Ted Cruz. But he wasn’t the only one mad at a children’s character dispensing sound medical advice.
Government propaganda…for your 5 year old! https://t.co/lKUlomnpq1
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) November 6, 2021
Isn’t it illegal to advertise drugs to children? https://t.co/DEa8P2ig4h
— Cernovich (@Cernovich) November 6, 2021
Soon people were mocking Republicans for getting mad at Big Bird.
They’re mad at big bird lol pic.twitter.com/S1ToEN5oEc
— Ken Klippenstein (@kenklippenstein) November 6, 2021
Did not have “Big Bird breaking people’s brains” on my dancecard but here we are pic.twitter.com/XbdAcBX6RR
— Don Moynihan (@donmoyn) November 7, 2021
GOP: threatening to kill local school board members is fine
GOP: Big Bird has crossed the line!! https://t.co/8r2pHkAofB
— Eric Boehlert (@EricBoehlert) November 7, 2021
— Jeffrey Wright (@jfreewright) November 7, 2021
This stupid asshole was ready to take a bullet for racist Dr. Seuss characters but now he’s going after Big Bird for getting vaccinated in a pandemic. https://t.co/X4XgCa6qs1
— A.R. Moxon (@JuliusGoat) November 7, 2021
I think endless culture war nonsense, like attacking Big Bird would be a good Kamala Harris cause to take up. “Come on, they’re attacking BIG BIRD,” is a good hook for a speech laying out how often they’re going to this idiot grievance well.
— Schooley (@Rschooley) November 7, 2021
Wait, are you telling me Big Bird isn’t a 8 foot tall bird monster?? pic.twitter.com/Na1KMcSPXc
— Joe Kassabian (@jkass99) November 6, 2021
Others pointed out that Big Bird has been receiving vaccinations against various illnesses since at least 1972.
Big Bird gets vaccinated, 1972 pic.twitter.com/M2mdmmjZ0N
— Muppet Wiki (@MuppetWiki) November 6, 2021
Big Bird has supported public health since the 1970’s, bird brain. pic.twitter.com/nTkUH4mTt7
— JJDiane (@JJDianeM) November 7, 2021
But some did wonder why it took so long for Big Bird — a performer who regularly works alongside cast and crew, in an industry that is by and large requiring vaccinations — to get vaxxed.
Why the fuck was Big Bird this far down the priority list https://t.co/Pc2W2uZySa
— Dr. Professor Sir Bane QC KCB MP PhD (@BaneNook) November 6, 2021
Then again, Big Bird may be over 50 years old, but he’s also perpetually a kid. And he’s not real.