Hear ye, hear ye! UST student council goes viral over flowery tweets on basketball win

A passion for prose is a wonderful thing, and what better medium for flexing one’s metaphorical muscle than that time-honored chronicle of human endeavor, sports reporting?

Many’s the writer who’s waxed rhapsodic about athletic competition, in whose dizzying triumphs and gut-wrenching defeats we see reflected the very vicissitudes of life itself.

That said, it’s also possible to overdo it, as the student council of the University of Santo Tomas (UST) may just be finding out.

Live tweets posted by the council updating fans on the basketball match-up between UST and the University of the Philippines (UP) have gone viral since they appeared on Wednesday thanks to their unique combination of flowery verbiage and borderline incomprehensibility.

Many netizens were so amused, in fact, that the tweets themselves have somewhat overshadowed the fact that UST is now going to the finals after edging out UP by a mere three points.

Read: UST basketball coach lashes at other schools for allegedly wooing prized player Rhenz Abando

Here, for your reading pleasure, is one of the tweets announcing the result of the game:

“Even tides stirred differently by a hair at 1st half, the UST Growling Tigers belabored doubts and vanquish whilom finals candidate, UP Fighting Maroons, as they invoked a 68-65-coup to flip the script to a future finale matchup.”


As a miniature literary work, the tweet is fascinating. Its introductory clause — “Even tides stirred differently by a hair at 1st half” — evokes the poetry of mortal struggle in Homer’s Iliad, while also being very, very difficult to make sense of.

Meanwhile, the juxtaposition of the word “whilom” (a synonym for “former” whose use, according to Google Books, peaked in 1890) and the phrase “flip the script” (which first appears in LexisNexis’s extensive databases in reference to 1990s hip-hop) is either a playful commentary on the ever-evolving nature of the English language, or the result of overeager thesaurus-ing.

But it didn’t end there, sports/poetry fans. Another tweet from the student council reads: “Shifted tones at halfway inning by a back-and-forth offensive setting, the UST Growling Tigers cracked the elusive upper podium capper as they raze UP Fighting Maroons’ advantage. Navigated intense defense traffic at last ticks by a 66-65 victory.”


The propulsive, staccato rhythm, internal slant rhymes, and difficult-to-parse meaning of the tweet are all reminiscent of Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky,” while the apparently incorrect final score cited at the end cheekily thumbs its nose at sports journalism conventions.

The author of the tweet, like all great writers, clearly understands that rules were made to be broken.

Both tweets have since gone viral, with the first having been retweeted almost 1,400 times. Unsurprisingly, netizens had a lot to say about whoever was in charge of Tweetdeck that day, including a certain @greefenery, who cited the literary critic Drax the Destroyer’s famed dictum, “Do not ever call me a thesaurus.”


Following the outpouring of online ridicule, the president of the student council, Robert Gonzales, issued a statement yesterday apologizing for his team’s idiosyncratic phrasing. He added that he took full responsibility for the tweets, and accepted all constructive criticism in a discursive sentence whose very obtuseness underscored his central point: that writing “is not an easy task.”

“It is true that campus journalism and/or news-writing is not an easy task and is not just an act of using simple or complex combinations of words to convey the message to the readers but rather, the essence of making the masses understand the content of the message,” Gonzales said.

Allow us to offer one constructive criticism, if we may, UST student council: hire an editor.

Have you seen interesting and funny tweets posted about the UAAP basketball games? Share it with us by leaving a comment below or tweeting to @CoconutsManila.

 

 

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