Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Face Palm Moments in Journalism: Alyssa Bereznak makes fun of perceived nerdiness...on her tech blog.

(photo @ forbes.com)

Today, an internet firestorm erupted over this article that was posted on Gizmodo, a popular technology blog.  The author, Alyssa Bereznak, discusses/laments her attempts at online dating, until she meets a seemingly nice and normal guy by the name of John Finkel (pictured below).

How you doin'?

On their first date, she discovers that he was the world champion of a card game called 'Magic: The Gathering.'  This causes her to go into a fit of shock and outrage, of which she said:

Just like you're obligated to mention you're divorced or have a kid in your online profile, shouldn't someone also be required to disclose any indisputably geeky world championship titles?

Despite her apparent revulsion at his hobby, she decides to go out with him a second time.  She never mentions that the guy is a stone cold millionaire due to his 'Magic' tournament winnings, professional poker playing, and running a hedge fund; maybe that was the reason she decided he was worth a second date.

A little Ben Franklin=A lot of sex appeal

After confirming his status as a world champion Magic player (not sure why she needed a second date to do this), she decided that this guy was just too geeky for her.  

On the unedited version of her article that is still up on Gizmodo's Australian site, she is a little bit nastier, stating:

I was lured on a date thinking I’d met a normal finance guy, only to realise he was a champion dweeb in hedge funder’s clothing.

We'll help you hide who you really are...I guarantee it!

She goes on to claim that Mr. Finkel "lied" by omitting his hobby on his online dating profile and that because of this, he had "infiltrated" the online dating site on which she met him.   She finished up by saying:

So what did I learn? Google the [heck] out of your next online date. Like, hardcore. Also, for all you world famous nerds out there: Don’t go after two Gawker Media employees and not expect to have a post written about you. We live for this kind of stuff.

Okay, let's back up the tape a little and start from the beginning.  

First of all, dear Alyssa, why did you have to join the endless stream of people that claim that they made an online dating profile because they were "drunk" or as some type of joke?  Is it that bad to admit that you wanted to try a method of meeting someone that millions of people have found to be successful?

Please...don't tell anyone about my embarrassing 
desire to experience love and companionship

And let's take a minute to define a "nerd" in the context of the 'Magic' card game.  I had friends that played it, and I would make fun of them...which was ironically thrown right back in my face for being a nerd as well.  You see, while I may not enjoy Magic, I do enjoy plenty of things that would normally be classified as nerdy.

Pictured below is my fantasy football trophy for the 2010 season.  It is being guarded by various Sith lords, bounty hunters, an AT-AT (along with some snow troopers), Thor's Hammer, and the rancor from Jabba's palace...who is also about to eat Wolverine.

Still looking for the armored version of Savage Opress if anyone is selling

Here is my comic book collection (which grows every two weeks when my pull list is mailed to me by Great Escape Comics) being guarded by the monster from Cloverfield.

To get the full effect, I shake my comics violently while I read them.

Not pictured is my wall of Spider-Man memorabilia, my Clone Trooper army, my Captain America collection, and much more.  My wife and I often joke that a person may be able to regain their virginity just by being in this room for an extended period of time.

But you know what?  That's my geek niche.  And no, I am not taking the Olivia Munn cop out stance of "you can be a geek about anything."  

There are some decidedly geeky subjects that I (along with millions of others) love and some that I don't like at all.  I love Star Wars, but I really don't care for Star Trek at all...and I love giving my Star Trek friends crap about how much their show/series of bad movies suck (Wrath of Kahn and the JJ Abrams reboot of course being the exceptions).

Abrams really does need to cool it on the lens flares, though.

Also, this article on guysim.com basically states that nerds shouldn't be mad at Bereznak's broad sterotypes about them because many times (and in this instance), stereotypes are true.  

Maybe he's right, though as an ardent fan of the Team Unicorn girls, it seems as though a lot more of the "cool kids" are also full fledged, loud and proud nerds.

Clare Grant: Actress, gamer, 'Magic: The Gathering' player
No seriously, she is

But so what?  I and many others enjoy our geeky hobbies immensely, but it's not for everyone; and that's okay.

What I can't wrap my head around with regards to Ms. Bereznak is how this one issue was a deal breaker without regard to any aspects about her date.  She even says that she "owns" how shallow she is being.  

I have yet to meet a couple that completely shared the same interests.  My wife actually does like Star Trek (bleh) and she is also REALLY into fashion...so much so that when we watch television, she will point out different outfits, tell me the price of each item, and then criticize it.

...and if you click the 'hide helm' feature, 
the guild tabbard really brings out your eyes more

That doesn't mean that we're incompatible, it just means that we have some interests that are very different.  We still have plenty in common to enjoy.

But like Ms. Bereznak said in her article, "one person's 'Magic' is another person's fingernail biting."  Maybe you just can't get past certain things.  I once dated a girl with a personality much like mine, weird quirks and all. I came out of the relationship wondering why anyone would ever want to date me.

The main issue I have is that she printed his name online, made fun of him, and then reveled in her online take down of a seemingly nice guy by saying that she "lived for this type of stuff."

Really, you live for it?

It's probably not a stretch to think they she may 
"live" for killing kittens, too.

Also, how dumb do you have to be to try and publicly humiliate someone about their perceived nerdiness ON A TECH BLOG.   Considering that she is an editor at gizmodo, you would figure that she would understand the sheer stupidity of  doing the internet equivalent of going into your own living room and taking a dump on the floor.  

Tech folks often proudly identify themselves as nerds; why would you write a post deriding someone that many of them would probably feel that they have a lot in common with?

I just stopped by to tell you guys that sports are stupid.

Obviously, Alyssa has been receiving a lot of negative feedback all over the internet today.  Even with her boss coming to her defense, it looks to be a rough next couple of days for her...unless you count the increased payout that her parent company, Gawker, gives to writers for high traffic articles.

Did she do it on purpose to get hits?  Maybe.  

Despite many folks all saying the equivalent of "ZOMG yur writing is teh sucks!!!111", I think her writing would actually be very enjoyable to read if her subject and main point wasn't so banal and asinine.

If she did do this on purpose to get hits, then maybe she's really not as shallow and unbelievably superficial as everyone is calling her.  Instead, she is probably just a person with a lot of drive, no character, and someone that those in the New York dating scene would do well to stay away from.

And seriously, can you really trust someone who claims that they actually like kale?