“Flipping the bird” means to give someone the finger. Of course the “flipping” part means to put your hand into the proper position and the “bird” means either F—, or F— Y– or F— O–. For the purpose of this crude essay, I am taking it to either mean F— or F— Y— since off isn’t something you mean when you are pointing the bird directly at somebody.
Now there’s this song called Surfin’ Bird (Bird is the Word) from 1963 by the Trashmen. It appears like a nonsense song meant to poke fun at the nonsense fad of surfing or singing about surfing. But is it nonsense?
I believe that the expression “flipping the bird” was already in use by 1963. And “bird is the word” is by far the most repititious line in Surfin’ Bird. So it is my belief that the Trashmen meant to say “f— is the word” over and over again. It is my belief that the writer of this song had found a way to say f— on the radio with no repercussions. And that is the beauty of this song.
Even if the Trashmen did not mean to stealthily swear over the radio, it is my bet that the show Family Guy did when they played this song. They played it over and over again and wrote it off as Peter getting an ear worm. But knowing the show Family Guy, I bet that they did think of this “flipping the bird” definition. Family Guy would definitely try to get swearing past the censors. I used to watch Family Guy when this ear worm was featured. I don’t watch anymore because racism.
There is one other example that started in the 1960s where I think someone tried to use the disguise “bird” to get past the censors.
Jim Henson knew that any swearing or even something slightly unseemly wouldn’t get by the censors when he put his muppets on Sesame Street. But the muppets are all puppets except Big Bird. Maybe there is a reason that Big Bird doesn’t seem to fit. Maybe Big Bird is a Big F— Y– to the censors.
And that, ladies and gents is the bird conspiracy.