Analyzing the Metta World Peace Twitter Account

NY Knicks practice

With Metta World Peace being released by the Knicks, it’s time to really dive into what Metta’s good at: Twitter. Josh Spilker and Bryan Harvey, who both have advanced degrees in English, found ample material from the past few days to discuss.

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Josh: Clever wordplay by Mr. World Peace on the idea of “walnuts” belonging to “a wall.” What do you think it means that he’d rather tape almonds to his wall than say, pecans or cashews? It’s also interesting that he “tapes” the almonds to his wall rather than gluing them or possibly hanging them. It seems that Mr. World Peace is demanding attention for the purpose of “walnuts” in creating artificial divisions in society and that instead we should pursue “almonds” which in the past few years has gained resurgence as a “mass nut” due to its increased usage in milk and other various spreads and in salads, etc. I think Mr. Peace is pleading for a call to unity, to unite behind the “almond” as its already gaining steam, rather than the inherently divisive “walnut”.

Bryan: Aren’t “almonds” currently at risk of extinction or depletion depending on the health of America’s bees? If so, then I perceive Mr. World Peace’s decision to temporarily taping, as opposed to permanently gluing, as a commentary on how even though America chooses the “almond”, the choice is dependent on the almond’s sustainability in nature, which is dependent on the health of beehives everywhere. Moreover, Mr. World Peace’s own health as a basketball player has always been tied to the health of the hive. From St. John’s to Chicago to Indiana to Sacramento to Houston, LA, and New York, his career dictates that the almond alone is not as valuable as the almond ingredient. The almond therefore is a metaphor or metonym for Mr. World Peace’s material adaptability, which like the material adaptability of the almond is directly tied to the health of the hive. Without a healthy hive to sustain the pollination of the almond tree, there is no almond and no almond versatility. At this juncture, the binary between walnut and almond as Mr. World Peace presents it is clear: the walnut is a sign of colonial imperialism–the English and the Persians–while the almond is a sign of the colonized and its classes of other–in the Middle East and Southeast Asia–to which Mr. World Peace identifies.

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Josh: It’s interesting that Mr. World Peace specifically wants to walk in a pool. The public nature of a pool (usually in some sort of outdoor space or public area) rather than a bathtub (more private, indoors) gives credence for Mr. World Peace’s desire to be publicly admired. It’s also interesting that Mr. World Peace’s main, recognizable talent was, at one time, on the basketball court and that since he has been playing less and not as well for a few years, maybe he feels that he can no longer “walk on water” ie “play basketball” and that he wishes to rage against the very thing (the court) that holds him back. And no matter how many times he enters the court, he is still figuratively “sinking” much to his dismay. Also, Mr. World Peace chooses to place no blame on himself and instead is blaming his surroundings for his failure.

Bryan: I see what you’ve found in his attempted appropriation of the pool, its water, and their combined purpose. I believe this reading is consistent with his statement on the almond versus the walnut. The almond, too, is not to be blamed for its temporal nature, for the almond did not execute the honey bee. If Mr. World Peace cannot perform tasks that would signify him as the allegorical equivalent of Christ, it is not the fault of his body, his talents, or his well, but his environment and the construction of the water. Perhaps, in agreement with David Hume, Mr. World Peace believes that miracles and the symbolism of miracles are indeed unnatural to the world in which we lived. His statements on the pool are an attack on allegory, and yet, and I’m sure you’ll agree, he not only refills the pool but threatens it, which not only personifies the pool but interpellates the concrete and the water as subjects in a miracle that fails not because of impossible physics but because personified objects refuse to allow it.

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Josh: Now the “sinking” tweet makes more sense in relationship to the “alphabet” tweet in that the alphabet is a metaphor for the full range of basketball skills and now Mr. World Peace feels that he is only operating with a limited “vocabulary” compared to his peers who are exceeding his abilities on the court, who therefore possess the full “alphabet.” Mr. World Peace is struggling with his lack of “language” but is trying to make the best of it and maximize what limited “word skills” he has left.

Bryan: You may be right. I think an intertextuality exists between each individual tweet, even if each tweet is read as its own text with its own exigence. It would be interesting to compare this period of Mr. World Peace’s tweets, that is to say his current psychological grappling with environments that subvert success, and compare them with earlier tweets in the World Peace oeuvre. Did he always feel so overdetermined? Or, did he ever feel possessed of agency?

One more thing on the “Alphabet Tweet”, who are the players that use only one of the 26 alphabets and who are the players who use all 26? Also, how do we know that the language of basketball is limited to 26? I’ve read Dr. Seuss’ theory on alphabets, and he argues for On Beyond Zebra. Why not On Beyond 26?

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