Jon Finkel, Magic Champion, Acted Just as Shallow as Kiss-and-Teller Alyssa Bereznak

I know this Magic vs. Gizmodo horse has been beaten halfway to hell since Monday, but before the Internet moves onto its next memestorm for good, there's one week-ending piece of information that I feel must be weighed before everyone makes their final judgment call. (Related: TGIF.)

Many a nerd, and non-nerd, was outraged that Alyssa Bereznak, an intern at Gizmodo and close friend of yours truly, chose to blog so publicly about her date with -- and distaste for -- Jon Finkel, an average-seeming dude she met on OkCupid. As it turned out...

... Finkel was the world champion of Magic: The Gathering, and Bereznak thought that was anything but hot.

Got it? Good.

Key complaint against the blogger: That she had aired a very private matter on a Top 500 website, and had not refrained from naming names. But a more emo, ideological hurt ran through all the angry comments, the obvious fuel to the wildfire: That Bereznak had judged and rejected Finkel merely for being a nerd.

So heartless! So superficial! She was instantly the target of a name-calling campaign. "Mean Girl." "Predator." "Hypocrite." "Shallow bitch." You get the picture.

The majority of the ire, though, in my opinion, was from guys like Finkel -- if not quite as successful -- whose worst fears had just been paraded in front of them, in the form of a tech-blog anecdote. Boy asks girl on a date. Girl accepts. Boy reveals deepest nerdly passions. Girl runs for the hills, never to be heard from again. (Until, in this case, she retells the horror story with the nation as her audience.)

Geekosystem wrote a post called "Why Jon Finkel Was and Is My Hero" today:

"I suspect that a lot of people have stories as to how [Magic] influenced their own lives, regardless of age. So when Jon Finkel, a man who helped shape my life, was tossed under the bus these many years later, it was as if my own life had been tossed with him. The memories of my friend, his father and the times we had together all so much garbage to this woman."

See what I mean? But here's why we're still talking:

Finkel, for all his gentlemanly bravado during the Reddit Q&A and CBS interview, acted no deeper than his date throughout the whole process. Bereznak tells me -- not verbatim, as she doesn't have the transcript, but damn close, she is sure -- that the "first couple words of me and Finkel's initial conversation" were as follows. (Between the two of them, they've revealed every other possible detail about the date, so the world might as well know the intimate details of how it began, right?)

Him: You should go out with me.
Me: That's forward? Why should I?
Him: Because you're hot and I'm shallow.

Badump-psh!

In sum: Bereznak may have judged and rejected Finkel for being a nerd, but he only went out with her in the first place because he thought she was hot. (And if Finkel would like to dispute this exchange, I more than welcome him to.)

Now that I've been completely reduced to an Us Weekly gossip whore -- only worse, because I'm gossiping about people who aren't actually famous, about things that aren't actually relevant to anyone, unless you're digesting this from a feminist/double-standard angle, as I hope you might -- go enjoy your Friday, ya nerd.

But not before watching this video. Best thing. Actually, this. Best.

[@simone_electra/swilson@laweekly.com]


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