If you’ll excuse him, he isn’t the prolific Brook
Pardon the interruption.
A Park Slope student says The Brooklyn Paper’s politest troll is giving him a bad name, because people think he is responsible for some ridiculous outlandish remarks on our website.
“I really hope people stop confusing me with ‘John Wasserman from Prospect Heights,’ ” said John Wasserman, a 22-year-old Brooklyn College junior studying political science. “It’s happened to me more times than I can count.”
Until recently, the Sloper’s homonymic counterpart didn’t cause him too much grief, but that changed when the internet’s Wasserman suggested councilman and hero to animals Steve Levin (D–Williamsburg) was going to wed a cat he rescued from the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway.
Young Wasserman is a member of three Brooklyn Democratic clubs and has political aspirations of his own, he said. He worked on Greenpoint District Leader Nick Rizzo’s 2014 election. So he had to answer to Rizzo when the Wasserman statement made its rounds in political circles, he said.
“I had to tell my former boss that I wasn’t the one who said Steve Levin was marrying a cat,” said the Wasserman from Park Slope.
Rizzo said he never thought the comment was a big deal, but he does have a theory about the Internet Wasserman’s motivations — and how the real John Wasserman should deal with it.
“It’s my belief that that persons’s name isn’t ‘John Wasserman’ but that he’s trying to troll the real John Wasserman [from Park Slope],” Rizzo said. “If John is serious about a career in public service, he’s got to get used to people using his name on the internet.”
Still, the imposter Wasserman’s off-color comment probably won’t hurt young Wasserman’s budding political future, Rizzo said.
“John is an amazing young man,” he said. “He is an extremely hard worker — he’s smart, he relates well to people, he’s got a real good heart. He’ll go far.”
Levin declined to comment for this story.
Longtime readers will no doubt be familiar with John Wasserman from Prospect Heights — the commentator who nitpicks minor details in articles and others readers’ remarks but is sure to always apologize for the interruption.
He (or she) also mistakenly refers to Bill Roundy’s world-renowned Bar Scrawl cartoons as “photographs.”
Until recently, the man behind the moniker was a relative mystery.
But an individual identifying himself as the commentator John Wasserman e-mailed The Brooklyn Paper on April 7 seeking to replace the venerable Carmine Santa Maria as a Sunday columnist. He did not return our e-mails seeking a comment for this story.
But, at this point, Wasserman-the-commenter may be more phenomenon than individual. Flame wars routinely erupt in article comments among two or more people claiming to be Wasserman — suggesting that, if there is a “real John Wasserman,” there are also several imposters.
Indeed, people have left nearly 1,000 comments posted from about 50 different internet protocol addresses — the unique number that Internet Service Providers assign to customers’ computers — since 2012, according to Brooklyn Paper web genius Sylvan Migdal.
The Slope Wasserman shared his address with the Paper, and it didn’t match any of the addresses used to post comments under the name John Wasserman.
Residential internet customers’ addresses can change over time, and the Slope Wasserman could conceivably be commenting from a device other than the laptop whose address he showed us, but overall, the evidence suggests that the Slope Wasserman is not the same person as John Wasserman from Prospect Heights, Migdal confirms.
Brooklyn newspaper references to John Wasserman date back to at least 1915 — when a Brooklyn Daily Eagle article notes that a John Wasserman graduated from Brooklyn’s PS 10, a Brooklyn Public Library database shows.
The Paper did not have a comments section in 1915 — and actually didn’t begin publishing until 1977 — but it has published letters to the editor since then. However, an archive search yielded not one letter from one John Wasserman.
The Park Slope Wasserman disagrees with the Prospect Heights commentator’s politics, but the Sloper said the troll has one thing going for him.
“He has a great name,” he said.