Warning: Do Not Go to CPAC 2022 Dressed as Big Bird

Warning: Do Not Go to CPAC 2022 Dressed as Big Bird
Big Bird at the 76th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in Herald Square, New York, in November 2002. (Photo: Matthew Peyton, Getty Images)

Snowflake alert. Repeat, snowflake alert: conservatives are super mad about vaccinated puppets and won’t let them into their little safe space next year, Insider reported on Monday.

On Nov. 6, a Twitter account belonging to the fictional character of Big Bird of the Muppets tweeted that it had received a covid-19 vaccine, adding “My wing is feeling a little sore, but it’ll give my body an extra protective boost that keeps me and others healthy.” It’s a stretch to find anything objectionable about this other than that Big Bird apparently took his goddamn time to get a shot (especially because he doesn’t wear a mask around Oscar the Grouch, who lives in a trash can and is presumably at elevated risk of severe disease). But the organisers of the Conservative Political Action Conference, the nation’s biggest annual get-together of Republican weirdos, are very mad about this and have banned the Muppets from attending their 2022 conference.

Senator Ted Cruz, who is both vaccinated and an adult man, tweeted that Big Bird was spreading “government propaganda…for your 5 year old!” Last week, CPAC’s official account tweeted that Big Bird, as well as Bert and Ernie for some reason, are “NOT INVITED”. This was the same week the president of CPAC, Matt Schlapp, got extremely angry that the Muppets would be introducing an Asian-American character named Ji-Young and demanded that Sesame Street broadcaster PBS be defunded in response. “What race is Ernie is Bert?” Schlapp tweeted, ignoring the obvious precedent set by the Swedish Chef.

We assume attending a conference full of people who claim unrestricted access to semi-automatic rifles with 100-round drum magazines is necessary to hunt turkeys was not high on Big Bird’s list.

Republicans have long since caved to the antivaxx movement, and furious resistance to mask mandates and vaccine requirements has become a mainstay plank of both GOP policy and hordes of angry parents threatening school administrators across the country. This is often posited as a defence of vaccine or mask “choice,” just so long as everyone makes the choice conservatives already agree with. The party has also proven no piece of culture-war gristle is too embarrassing to try and capitalise on, categorising every piece of media as either good or bad based on whether it stokes some depraved talking point at the moment. In the past few years, conservatives have gotten mad at everything from Keurig machines and Gillette razors to Disney World rides and Dr. Seuss.

Still, this is a notable pivot from CPAC 2021, where Donald Trump Jr. ranted at length about how liberals have “cancelled” and “banned the Muppets.” It is, however, perfectly in line with a coronavirus outbreak at CPAC in 2020 and mass refusal by attendees to wear masks at the 2021 event.

So, this is your last warning: It would be incredibly unadvisable to show up to CPAC this year wearing a full-on Big Bird costume. Don’t do it.