The Startling True History of the @DatDudeBP Twitter Handle

Cincinnati Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips has established himself, among baseball players, as one of that sport’s most active users of social media — and his Twitter handle (@DatDudeBP) is one of the league’s most recognizable.

What the author has uncovered today, however, while reading French — that is, a language very similar to English, were English spoken exclusively by pornographers with sinus infections — is that the Twitter handle @DatDudeBP actually belonged originally to noted, if tragically underappreciated, Surrealist poet Benjamin Peret (1899-1959).

Recognized by progenitor of the movement Andre Breton as the most faithful to Surrealism’s core values, Peret was an enthusiastic user of Twitter, even some 80 years before it (i.e. Twitter itself) was invented — a startling fact on the face of things, but less so when one considers that the Surrealist mission concerned itself primarily with the construction of new realities.

Below, in fact, we find evidence not only of Peret using Twitter, but also how it might have served him in the composition of his work.

Here’s the first of three tweets by Peret from February of 1926. Translated loosely it reads: “For seven centuries he commanded his fourteen lobsters.”

BP 3

A second tweet follows minutes later, and in the same aesthetic vein. The translation of this one reads: “[T]he lettuces losing their ears ran to ask him the secret of his pubic hair.”

BP 1

A third tweet finishes the series, written approximately 15 minutes after the first one, above. The English, again: “I search for the massacres of children in cloud shoes.”

BP 2

An inspection of Peret’s oeuvre reveals that three very similar lines to those found here also appear in a poem, “The Heroic Death of Lieutenant Condamine de la Tour” (or, in French, “La mort héroique du Lieutenant Condamine de la Tour”)*, which was first published in the March 1926 edition of La Révolution Surréaliste and later appeared in Peret’s collection, I Won’t Stand for It (French: Je ne mange pas de ce pain là).

*A link to the French text is available here. An English version appears in Death to the Pigs, and Other Writings (University of Nebraska Press).

The presence of these three tweets before the publication of the full-length poem to which they below suggests that Peret might have used Twitter as a tool for composition — or, at the very least, as a means by which to record certain lines as they occurred to him.

Peret’s death in 1959 — coupled with the fact that Twitter wasn’t actually invented until 2006 — made the handle @DatDudeBP available for Brandon Phillips when he joined the social-networking service in 2011.

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Carson Cistulli has just published a book of aphorisms called Spirited Ejaculations of a New Enthusiast.

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I’m starting to understand where the inspiration behind Some Common Weaknesses Illustrated” came from.