We’re coming up on an important Peking Duck anniversary, namely the first half-decade of comments from the
troll esteemed commenter known as Math.
Math is unique among my
trolls commenters. Unlike the loquacious Ferin-Merp, the detestable Hong Xing and the neuron-free pugster, he almost never fights back. He has responded to comments about his comments only two or three times over the past five years. He appeared out of the blue a twentieth of a century ago in this thread and has remained a mystery ever since. Note that in that thread, Math actually responds to commenters who criticize his little “essay,” something he almost never did again. His style is a bit different in his first comment as well; he actually seems to be talking to the readers (“Who wants to help me”) as opposed to preaching, as he does in virtually every other post to follow.
Math of course rails against America, its inferior food and women and government, and lavishes praise on everything China, including the Great Leap Forward and, needless to say, the TSM. He rejects the creativity of the West in favor of the “discipline” of the East. He lauds Mao’s genius in adding brilliant new phrases to the English vocabulary (!), and he lambastes the US for its freedom of speech.
Which raises the question, why was his very first diatribe sent to us via the servers of Columbia University in Upper Manhattan, and why have virtually all of his following posts come from a New York City IP address? (His kissing cousins, Merp, pug and Red Star, also comment exclusively from within the confines of the Evil Empire.)
I don’t have the fortitude to chronicle every one of Math’s contributions. There is plenty more from the archives.
Several readers have asked over the years why I don’t ban Math and delete his tomes. The answer is simple: Math is amusing. Math is bizarre. Math may be deranged, but he’s never made personal attacks (he just tosses his grenades and runs away, unlike his more confrontational comrades). And I have to give him credit for his sophisticated taste; in half a decade I don’t believe he’s graced any other blog with his sagely remarks.
The year he first appeared, 2005, was a tumultuous one, for those who’ve been here that long. It was the year of Mark Anthony Jones and the Duck Pond and the first open threads. But if I’m going to get nostalgic about the good old days, Math has to play a leading role among our fond memories. Of course, he’s clinically insane and the closest thing I’ve ever seen to a highly customized spam-bot, and there’s a lot of hatred and aggression in those comments. But let’s put all that aside as we wish Math a happy anniversary.
Now, Math, why don’t you return the favor and tell us: Who the fuck are you?
Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.