Recently, many famous figures have broken out their Twitter fingers, and taken to the popular social networking site to throw down in “Twitter beefs.” Among the circus of Kanye West, Meek Mill and others, a very unexpected argument surfaced. Rapper B.O.B and astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson had a extravagant debate about the shape of planet Earth.
The argument is about flat earth theory, the belief that the Earth is nothing more than a flat disk. Though the last major following of the theory was phased out in the 17th century, there’s still a small subset of people that hold on to the theory–including one Bobby Ray Simmons Jr., better known as B.O.B.
The episode began when Simmons tweeted a picture of himself from two cities that are sixteen miles apart, where he commented on the lack of a noticeable curve of the Earth. Then, he began posting over 50 tweets (with several images and diagrams) “proving” that the Earth was flat. One of his last tweets said, “I’m going up against the greatest liars in history. You’ve been tremendously deceived.”
Tyson decided to stand up to Simmons the next day. Tyson refuted every one of Simmons’s claims, with explanations behind the New York City skyline, the position of Polaris, etc. Tyson ended his side by affirming that “being five centuries regressed in your reasoning doesn’t mean we all can’t still like your music.”
That wasn’t enough for Simmons, as he took to the mic to support himself. He posted a song called “Flatline,” with lines such as “Globalists see me as a threat,” “Neil Tyson need[s] to loosen up his vest,” and “indoctrinated in a cult called science.” Simmons must’ve thought that making a song about his theory would give him a victory over a non-artist.
However, in a surprising twist, Tyson responded with a track of his own (performed by his nephew), dubbed “Flat to Fact” in the tune of Drake’s “Back to Back.” From the first line of “He learned the game from Carl Sagan, you can never check him,” to “I could make another one and another one/ The DJ Khaled of teaching Bobby about the sun,” it was a decent, albeit poorly-performed, rebuttal.
So there’s two things to be learned from this exchange–Bobby Ray Simmons needs to brush up on his elementary-level science, while the younger Tyson needs to brush up on his rap game. While it’s worrying that someone with as much influence as Simmons believes that the earth is flat, it did make for a pretty amusing exchange.
Let’s face it, there’s now a trend of famous people taking out their frustrations on others with 140 characters or a three-minute track on Soundcloud. Personally, I don’t have a problem with it. Twitter beefs are a relatively harmless way of settling feuds between artists, especially considering how messy the East Coast-West Coast rivalry was in the 1990s.
I’m sure that both fans and artists alike will take a keyboard battle over the murder of two artists potentially due to a feud. Sure, it can be exploited for popularity and record sales (for the record, B.O.B’s last release was last September), but famous people have come out for attention prior to a release for a multitude of other reasons. For the rest of us, it’s certainly fun to sit back and watch the beef stew.