We make it no secret that our research program here is all about using natural language processing to identify and measure narratives in the world. But is narrative truly only shaped by verbal and written communication? Do missionary statements have to be made with the mouth?
Of course not.
Here’s narrative missionary Max Scherzer, pitcher for the Washington Nationals, providing an exaggerated form of protest against the revised MLB enforcement policy regarding the use of foreign substances. The umps have generally been inspecting hats gloves and belts for these substances. Max decided to give them a little, shall we say, extra on the belt removal.
Here’s Oakland Athletics pitcher Sergio Romo, picking up every nuance of Scherzer’s crystal clear communication to the commissioner’s office.
Scherzer and Sergio’s sticky substance strip show is memetic perfection in the form of malicious compliance. There is no press conference speech either pitcher – or the others who will no doubt mimic their displays in the coming days – could have made that would have more clearly shifted common knowledge to the belief that the foreign substances rule was being applied, interpreted and policed in an absurd, preposterous way.
Bold prediction: this narrative doesn’t peak until Joe West enrages Zach Greinke into an NC-17 display on national television.
— Rusty Guinn | June 23, 2021 | 9:21 pm