Friday, November 20, 2009

Sockpuppet smackdown


Convincing sock puppetry is difficult, but cross-cultural impersonation is nearly impossible.


Names on posts in support of El Naschie sometimes appear to be chosen according to some diversity quota system. Arab, check. French, check. German, check. English, check. Scandinavian, check. This may seem like a good idea, but it's not. You just can't pull it off.

Math blogger Thilo Kuessner, exasperated by a sockpuppet named "Peer Hanson"

Kommentar-Direktlink Peer Hanson· 10.10.09 · 17:38 Uhr

The true scientific value of this blog is as 99 percent to similar blogs could not be more documented by anything better by the last 2 comments. The authors of these 2 comments are meantime very well known to all of us and their motives are evident. It is an absolute waste of time to say anything more. Except an advice to consult a psycho analyst as a matter of urgency.

delivered this stinging rebuke:

Thilo Kuessner· 10.10.09 · 21:45 Uhr

Hehe - after english, german and indian sounding names this time a scandinavian one? What comes next? A comment under a chinese name?

Not that it would matter, but - if you want to pretend a swedisch name, you should call yourself either peter hansen or per hansson. (Or if you want to pretend a northgerman name you should choose peer hansen.) But peer hanson - such a name does not exist.

Ouch! LOL

This reminded me of my amusement at a sockpuppet named "Jane Astor" who left this comment on SCIAM:

This is a great reading. Please log into http://elnaschiewatch.blogspot.com. If Mohamed El Naschie is half what is written there, then he is my man. If this handsome looking civil engineer can cause this stir and frighten the daylight out of a few people, some backed by Nobel Laureates and some driven by deadly jealousy, then I would like to be wedded to him immediately.

It may be that you need to be a native English speaker to understand why this is funny. I'm not sure I can even explain it. It has to do with an incongruity between the name and the voice. "Jane Astor" is an upper-class sounding English name that seems like it ought to belong to some toff on the BBC's Masterpiece Theater. The quote, while perfectly understandable, is horribly mismatched. It's non-idiomatic, and somehow very very wrong.



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