By Tim Baffoe-
(CBS) You can't understand light without dark.
For me, the brightest of lights in the face of darkness is humor. To be able to laugh at tough situations helps to ease pain and put some more breathing room between the rock and the hard place. And the real beauty of the light of humor is that a small quantity of it destroys so much darkness.
The Cubs, unfortunately, have provided a whole lot of darkness for a long time. On the field, sure, but a history of futility also has a residual effect on the people with severe issues that choose to root for the team. Many, many dumb fans have been created in the wasteland of Cubs baseball, creating a culture of stupid that has led to the negative just-here-for-the-party stereotypes of Cub Nation.
But a different fortunate byproduct of a historic lack of winning is comedy. It is born of pain and channeled into laughter by certain people that refuse to be consumed by the wasteland, to instead laugh as they are led up the steps of the gallows, to both self-medicate and rankle the mouth-breathers who think sports must be taken super seriously, the "you can't joke about that" awful people. No better has this been exemplified of late than by a cult Cubs meme of 2013.
The witty sports fans of the Internet have grown to harness typos for comedic purposes. During this upcoming football season, don't be surprised to see a mention of "#Devner," should the Broncos not be playing up to snuff at a given time. This may be an honest mistake on a keyboard by someone too flummoxed to proofread before submitting to the masses, or it may be an intentional attempt to boil down a fan's head shaking into a tight little hashtag and to try to laugh instead of crying.
The granddaddy of sports team typo memes is the fabulous #BARVES. Mocking the tendency for people to cry "JEEZ ITS JUST INTERNET" and therefore are apathetic to their own spelling and grammatical errors, the Twitter hashtag gained lots of traction last year among sports fans that also get that none of these final scores really take food off of our tables, so rather than wallow in misery, let's make fun of those who get all hot and bothered about it all.
This spring I happened to come across a Twitter account I instantly fell in love with. @FacebookCubs decided to take the aspect of humanity that will certainly cause our future alien overlords to show us no mercy—people who comment on company/organization Facebook pages—and shine a very simple light on them for intelligent people to laugh at. It's a pretty simple yet comically brilliant concept—take people's comments on the Cubs Facebook page and copy and paste them verbatim on Twitter. The comments are inane and so sadly hilarious.
With smart fans understanding that 2013 wasn't going to bode well for the Cubs, humor was needed to sugarcoat the turd we knew we'd be dining on all season. @FacebookCubs helped sprinkle some at first, but then a giant sugar cube fell into their laps that encapsulated everything about the hysterical laughter that comes from Cub fan frustration. "the cubes r going to win the world serious." Pure beauty. If there was a metric measure for stupid, that fustercluck of a sentence would sit in a room at the International Bureau of Weights and Measures for which we base all considerations of idiocy.
That pseudosentence and more so "#Cubes" became the rallying cry of fait accompli Cubs fans this year, and it has helped ease the pain of yet another season of losing baseball. So who is responsible for this meme? Two Cubs fans calling themselves S and H run the omniscient @FacebookCubs account. What do they think about all this Cube-ism? How did we get here? Co-founder S talks about it.
What made you decide to start the Facebook Cubs Twitter handle?
A friend retweeted an account called "@FlyersFacebook" into my feed a few times. It's the same concept as FacebookCubs except for the Philadelphia Flyers. I laughed hysterically at a lot of the comments. My first thought was "Wow, what a brilliant concept." My second thought was "Wow, I need to do this for the Cubs because meatball Cubs fans can be a goldmine of stupidity."
Are you receiving more popularity than you expected?
I wasn't sure how popular it would be and I never really had any expectations to begin with. It caught me by surprise when it took off thanks to the Tony Campana trade. H had joined me by then and we were both shocked at how popular it was getting, especially when people started asking for shirts. My guess as to its popularity is people like to laugh at silliness and stupidity, even if that stupidity comes from those among their ranks. If you can't laugh at yourself, what can you laugh at?
Ah, Tony Campana—the gift that keeps giving. Do you have anything to do with the spinoff accounts that have come since yours like @WhiteSxFacebook and @FacebookBears? If not, what's your take on those accounts?
Other than people just seeing @FacebookCubs and deciding they liked the idea, we don't have anything to do with any other "Facebook Team" accounts. We've actually had people ask our permission to create new accounts in our mold as if it was our idea in the first place. Apparently, Flyers Facebook got the idea from someone else who got the idea from someone else. As far as how I feel about the similar accounts, I'm perfectly fine with it. It wasn't our idea in the first place so I have no reason to feel animosity towards an account created to be similar to ours.
Do you have a screengrab or link to the original "Cubes" post on Facebook?
I wish I had a screenshot of it but alas I do not. Didn't have the foresight to grab one.
I hate you and want to end this interview, but we've come this far, and I don't feel like doing an actual column on the Cubs instead. So, we'll continue. At the time you tweeted it, did you think the "Cubes" post was especially funnier than the others you'd made?
As soon as I saw the Cubes post, I burst out laughing and had a feeling it was going to be at least semi-popular. You can sometimes just tell which ones are going to strike peoples' funny bones so to speak and that was one of them.
What do you think it is about the "Cubes" one that has turned it into a cult meme?
Quickly after it was tweeted, my mentions filled with people already hashtagging (is that a verb?) [this English teacher can confirm] it and claiming it as the Cubs version of #barves. Apparently people were looking for that. People probably find it funny because it's silly and it just sort of came out of nowhere, much like Barves is silly and just sort of happened. But I don't think those are the sole reasons it's so popular. It may sound ridiculous, but I think the Cubes meme helps people gloss over the pain of being a Cubs fan or at least temporarily distance themselves from it. People call them the Cubes when they do something really dumb or awful, which happens frequently since the Cubs are dumb and awful. Everybody not commenting on Cubs Facebook pages knows the Cubs are rebuilding and aren't going to be good for at least a little bit longer. As a fan, that hurts. Joking around and calling them the Cubes helps to alleviate the immediate sting of a boneheaded Castro throw or watching Cody Ransom do anything on a baseball diamond.
Have you heard from the person that made that original Cubes post?
We've not heard from the Cubes poster, unfortunately.
He or she must be a sort of meatball oracle that emanates pure luminous beams containing processed meats that act as a sort of fountain of youth and holds the secrets to the meaning of our existence in the universe, so that's too bad you haven't been contacted. What about other posters from Facebook whose words you've tweeted? Do they ever contact you on Twitter?
Every now and then, we'll get someone tweet at us and inform us they were the posters of that comment. It's almost never anger as much as it is embarrassment. Even then, they'll sometimes joke about being the butt of the joke, which I'd say is a plus. Haven't really run into an angry person telling us to take it down yet, which is surprising to me.
Has any member of the Cubs organization contacted you on Twitter, positively, negatively, or otherwise?
Nobody from the Cubs organization has contacted us as of now but they do know we exist and have known for some time. I guess the fact that they know we exist and haven't said anything to us one way or another is a good thing.
I'd say so, especially since MLB, always the buzzkill, called the cops on the Barves house party it wasn't invited to in the past. Are you just used to the stupidity on the Cubs Facebook page by now, or are there times where you really have to question the future of humanity?
Sifting through the comments has become almost routine for us. You never really get used to the stupidity, at least for me. It's not quite as excruciatingly mind-numbing as it used to be, but every now and then I'll come across one that just makes me want to throw my laptop against the nearest wall and take a flamethrower to it.
I personally don't read comments on company Facebook pages including 670 The Score's because people that comment on organization Facebook pages need to be neutered with soldering irons for the good of humanity. What do you believe possesses someone to comment on the Facebook page of a business or organization as though they'll be taken seriously?
I have zero idea as to what compels a human being to comment on Facebook pages or any other organizational Internet page. Everybody's got a strong opinion on something and for some reason, people think an organization or a business cares about someone on the Internet yelling at them in caps-lock about how their business is the worst group of people in the history of forever.
I purchased a Cubes shirt and a "the cubes r going to win the world serious" shirt for two reasons: 1. they're awesome, and 2. proceeds from the sales go to Cubs charities. How are sales of your t-shirts going? Which is the best seller?
Sales have slowed down recently, but I think that's partially our fault for not really making it obvious that's what the link in our bio is. The shirt with the Cubes logo (thanks to @rodperil for that) is the most popular, followed by the shirt with the Cubes logo on the front and "the cubes r going to win the world serious" on the back. [Thanks for the shirt store plug, by the way]
I just realized sales will increase for you because people want to be like me, which is really inconvenient when I'm in public. So if the Theo/Jed grand plan goes how they expect it to, when the Cubs actually get good, what then happens to @FacebookCubs and #Cubes and whatnot?
If and when the Cubs are a competitive team again, I'm sure @FacebookCubs will still be around. I mean, there are always going to be people saying dumb things no matter what happens. It's hard to say what'll happen to the Cubes thing. It'll probably still pop up every now and then, but it might die off to some degree. I'll gladly trade the Cubes meme for a competitive Cubs team any day.
Me, too, but it would still be sort of sad to see such a beautiful flower die. Anyway, go #Cubes go. Someday the light will shine on them and they'll get that world serious.
Tim Baffoe attended the University of Iowa before earning his degree from Governors State University and began blogging at The Score after winning the 2011 Pepsi Max Score Search. He enjoys writing things about stuff, but not so much stuff about things. When not writing for 670TheScore.com, Tim corrupts America's youth as a high school English teacher and provides a great service to his South Side community delivering pizzas (please tip him and his colleagues well). You can follow Tim's inappropriate brain droppings on Twitter @TimBaffoe , but please don't follow him in real life. He grew up in Chicago's Beverly To read more of Tim's blogs click here.
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