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Laid up on the couch after a particularly shitty medical exam, I came to know the divine Pennsylvania Dutch treat that is corn pie, thanks to my boyfriend’s obsessive need to cook the dish of his ancestors. It’s a meal born from the culinary crossroads of Amish purity and German immigrants in need of hearty (yet not completely bland) comfort food. And as I took my first bites of the sweet-corn-meets-green-pepper pie, I could not imagine the recipe turned upside down and swapped with wheat.
Sure, you could point to the fact that the corn pie’s crust—its very backbone—was composed of wheat flour. Corn, not pie crust, is driving this dish, though. This type of enlightened perspective is exactly what 28-year-old Everett Byram was banking on when he created the Corn is the best crop & wheat is worst Facebook page.
“One day I was really high eating some corn and thought, ‘Wow this is really delicious. Corn is possibly the best crop of all time. Wheat doesn’t come on a cob,'” Byram told the Daily Dot. “I figured I should make a new page in order to shout from the mountains of the internet about my love for corn as a crop.”
A USDA report on world agriculture supply and demand estimates doesn’t necessarily corroborate Byram’s view of corn. Wheat’s a utilitarian staple; the U.S. government is projecting that 925 million bushels will be shipped from farms across the country during the 2016-2017 crop seasons. Corn gets lumped into the “coarse grains” designation, and its output is nothing compared to that amount.
Add to that the touchy issues of gluten sensitivity, and Byram could easily be turning this stroke of Weird Facebook genius into an issues-driven buzzkill. That’s not what Corn is the best crop & wheat is worst is here for. Byram thrives on the “us vs. them” narrative he’s concocted, though he’s more pure-hearted about his beef with wheat. Admins deny knowing what the hell gluten even is, and memes steer clear of using corn as a politicized tool.
“It strictly focuses on corn being better than wheat merely as a crop… Staying vague and innocuous actually brings about more opportunity to make memes about [it],” Byram explained. “Another big push I had in creating the page was that, in that same week, several other popular Facebook meme pages like Cabbage Cat and Gangster Popeye were unpublished without warning, much to the chagrin of all the meme fans out there. I knew that it was the right time to strike, to inspire hope, to give the people something to believe in again.”
What Byram describes is a puzzling development in the wild world of Weird Facebook vs. the very platform it adheres to. Chalk it up to user complaints that Cabbage Cat and Gangster Popeye were somehow rocked with swift removals. Throughout that drama, Where my shrimps‘ original page, which was taken over by clickbaiters, stayed stagnant despite mass public outcry. It was eventually removed due to fan complaints, only to return with a vengeance. As of Aug. 10, it has disappeared once more.
In the thick of what’s become a widespread problem, Corn is the best crop & wheat is worst has so far been untouchable. The page made the most of an innocuous concept, firmly rooted itself in memes, and delivered quite the bountiful harvest indeed. In just over a month’s time, its fan base has shot up to nearly 22,000 likes, with nearly half of those followers coming within the first week of posting.
“The post that really got things going heavily for the page was from one of my editors, who runs the page KornFan420. It was a video he took while driving down a road passing a corn field and cheering for it, then passing a wheat field directly after, where his tone chang[ed] to one of disgust,” Byram said. “That was hilarious and captured exactly what the page is all about. I’m glad people started getting on board with the imminent Crop War.”
Corn is the best crop & wheat is worst is enlisting the best minds in memeing to aid its rise. Joining Byram as admins are folks from the likes of Lettuce Dog and Shithead Snake, as well as KornFan420 and many others. Byram jokes that he hopes to attract the support of at least 30 million fans in his quest to silence wheat fans around the world with his fiery brand of cropaganda sprouting up all over the internet.
The Los Angeles-based comedian doesn’t have a whole lot of options when it comes to planting his own analog crops, but digital works just fine. Besides, he’s got other pursuits he’s more focused on than urban farming. Byram’s looking for a writing or social media job and hoping the impressive semi-organic growth of Corn is the best crop & wheat is worst catches the eyes (and ears) of potential employers.
As for the actual act of consuming corn, Byram says he does enjoy it, though it’s not part of every meal. “I personally don’t eat that much corn,” Byram admitted. “Although I cherish its sweet, bold flavor any time I eat it. I think it’s one of the best foods available on a cob.”
A former Weekend Editor at the Daily Dot, April Siese's reporting covers everything from technology and politics to web culture and humor. Her work has been published by Bustle, Uproxx, Death and Taxes, Rolling Stone, the Daily Beast, Thrillist, Atlas Obscura, and others. Siese joined Quartz in December 2016.