We told you last week about the fever dream of one lonely Favre-lover in West Bend, Wis. Now we have a Favre fever dream that blanketed cyberspace.
A week ago, sports anchor Lance Allan of WTMJ-4 in Milwaukee told us that Brett Favre had arrived on Twitter, and that @BrettFavre4 was his handle. Seemed likely enough. His first tweet, which has since disappeared: "Hello friends, family, and fans. This is my official account I finally found the time to join twitter." That sounded like the ol' gunslinger, all right. Peter King followed the account. Simultaneously, though, the SportsCenter Twitter account recommended another handle for Favre: @Favre4Official. Peter King didn't follow that one, and it just looked like some extended ESPN marketing ploy, anyway.
But then a strange thing happened: the @BrettFavre4 account changed its handle to @Favre4Official, presumably to align its synergistic branding priorities for dynamic revenue streams or something. Suddenly things got weird, because an opportunistic Favre imitator snapped up the old account, and Twitter verified that one. (They just removed the blue check mark—Twitter's usually-reputable stamp—this morning.) This gave a plausibly real Favre free rein to wreak havoc on Twitter, starting Monday. He held court on whatever crossed his mind:
All this bounty talk really does effect me. The fact that they were trying to hurt me really kind of catches me off.gaurd
That Kobe Bryant really is something isn't he?
For the next 2 minutes, I'll retweet every nice thing someone says.
"@bigjimst: @BrettFavre4 you made interceptions an art form" Thanks man! Hahaha
Adele is a really great artist.
I think im gonna pursue the NBA. New career, watching the Celtics, motivate me.
He bantered with Randy Moss:
@BrettFavre4 whts up #4 man I've missed messing wit u!jus getting back in the swing of things.hope ur doing good
@DaRealOtisMoss It's going okay. My daughter is being hospitalized, but other than that, I've been great!
@BrettFavre4 well hope all is ok with ur daughter.if u got anything going on in miss let me know I'd luv to come.tell Mrs I said hello
@DaRealOtisMoss Will do brotha!
And then he owned up to being a phony:
This isn't the real brett farve. I apologize to everyone.
Ill change my name now
As for logistics, Fake Favre appears to have exploited Twitter's sloppiness—mis-verification has happened before.
But we're more interested in the implications of this impressively modern thing, that someone, somewhere, would take to his Android and be just innocuous enough (e.g. "Time to mow my lawn, most relaxing part of the day") so that he might appear to be Brett Favre. Aside from the Adele tweet, what did Fake Favre say that was all that uncharacteristic or subversive, which is to say, interesting? In "The Reality Effect," Roland Barthes warned that literary realism increasingly demanded of its authors a "vertigo of notation," an incessant listing of mundane props. And that's what we had for five days this week, a fake Dongslinger who seemed real, deriving unusual pleasure out of pranking us by boring us all to sleep.