For the Birds: Wash Post Unhappy Society Won’t Erase Audubon

Matt Philbin | March 17, 2023
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Let me be clear: I have no bird in this fight. I care not a whit for avian kind. And I don’t care what people who do like birds want to call their voluntary associations. And if they get the woke warblers of the Washington Post in a flutter, so much the better.

A March 15 Post headline screeched that “National Audubon Society, pressured to drop enslaver’s name, keeps it.” And I’m pretty sure you’re supposed to read it with the stress on “enslAAAAAver” As the headline so subtly suggests, America’s premier birdwatching group, in the words of Postie Dino Grandoni, “decided in a closed-door vote this week to retain the name of John James Audubon, famed 19th-century naturalist and wildlife illustrator who was also an unabashed enslaver.” (Remember, readers, stress that “AAAA!”) 

A closed door vote? Typical. Three enlightened board members reportedly quit rather than be not really associated with a guy who did bad stuff hundreds of years ago. And, Grandoni said, “The move comes even as about half a dozen of the organization’s regional chapters have pledged to scrub his name from their titles, part of a broader reckoning over the U.S. environmental movement’s history of entrenched racism.”

Well, at least there are enlightened regional chapters out there reckoning against the entrenching of the environment of racism. Er, wait … Eh, forget it.

You know who else is against the National Society’s Aryan Avianism? The ornithological proletariat. The Bird Union represents the employees of the Audubon Society. It only sounds like a strategic alliance of Tolkien’s Eagles, Poe’s Raven and Hitchcock’s feathery hordes. Just this month, that august brotherhood dropped Audubon from its name. 

Union rep Rodrick Leary said, “Ultimately, if Audubon wants to have a space with a younger population in a more diverse America, it has to change its name.” 

Yeah, all those Tik-Tokers whose only ornithological experience is “Angry Birds” will be driven away by the name. You might as well be the Jeff Davis Society – except that name would mean nothing to them either. 

Susan Bell, the society’s chair, seems to have a better handle on what “Audubon” means to modern Americans. “The name has come to represent not one person, but a broader love of birds and nature.” 

Ah, Susan, that might be what the name would mean in a world without woke weenies at the Post and elsewhere, but they’re not going to let it mean that ever again. They’re been pounding this for at least a couple of years – and not just the society’s moniker. They’re having a go at the names of individual birds.

Bell admitted to Grandoni that, although the Society hadn’t caved, “I certainly have been on a learning journey, just like everybody else.” Yes, but to the Post et all, the journey didn’t take you far enough. You’re still an apologist for an enslAAAAver!

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