Update: Before their date, Magic champion Jon Finkel told Alyssa Bereznak he wanted to go out with her “because you're hot and I'm shallow.”
Updated after the jump with Finkel's best responses during the official Reddit Q&A, and a couple obligatory edits to his Wikipedia page.
A dear friend of mine and former colleague at the UC San Diego Guardian — Gizmodo intern Alyssa Bereznak — is getting shit on from all directions today: Reddit. Canvas. Nerd Puddle. A bunch of other dork forums that I'm far too noob to know about. (So noob, in fact, that I still use noob.) Also, Australia.
In response to her August 29 post “My Brief OkCupid Affair With a World Champion Magic: The Gathering Player,” in which she dumps a dude she meets on OkCupid because he's the world Magic champion, the Internet is SO HURT. And confused. What's so bad about dating a world Magic champion?
First things first. To Jon Finkel, the strapping pale lad in question:
I know I live in L.A., and you in New York Shitty, but would you consider dating me instead? (I'm really good at Skype.) In light of Alyssa's name-checking smear piece, I'm pretty sure your inbox is being inundated with love letters from hot Copper-Leaf Angel role players right now, but give me a chance. Them jaded NYC singles wouldn't know Prince Charming — a champion at life, and love, not just Magic, I'm sure of it! — if he slayed them a Thunder Dragon and lay it across their stoop. I, on the other hand, would be glad to let you Infiltrate my Shadowmage anytime. Or whatever.
And just for the record, rest of you: This is a Gizmodo intern's dream. Girl just figured out how to bag 600,000+ page views with some simple anecdotal fluff — she's well on her way to becoming Intern of the Month. (Also, this isn't the first time stupid boys have called her ugly/ruined her Google results because they were butthurt she didn't like them. Been there, over that.)
A contemporary of Alyssa's at Gawker recently chose, instead, to diss Californians, re: their “insufferable” reaction to the East Coast earthquake. The reaction was loud, but not like this. Apparently, the entire state of California is not as powerful, or omni-present, as the Magic community. And so we learn the lesson, once again: Nerdy white males run the Internet.
Calling a rape victim (or a sexual predator) “hot” is one thing. But no feminist war cry can rile up the same overreaction as a call to online gamers to defend their freakishly dexterous (in kind of a sad way, that will never really serve them in this equally sad mortal world) honor. That much is clear.
Only thing left on the troll meter is to achieve Christwire status.
And Alyssa. (I'd text you, but this is way more fun.) I'm not choosing sides, and this is obviously the question of the hour, but it's burning me up inside: What's wrong with Magic geeks? The bad-date story was funny and Gawkery, but where's the part where you say why it sucked, apart from the Magic thing? At least he's the kind of gamer that goes outside.
Also, he obliterated my boyfriend — and, I'm sure, the boyfriends of the world — in an ultimate showdown of fantasy thumbwar. If that's not top bragging rights at the next UCSD Guardian reunion, I don't know what is.
Update: Forbes thinks Alyssa was trolling. (Duh.) From “The Science of Gawker's Nerd Baiting,” more nerdy/outdated than a reigning Magic champ:
I think that Alyssa knew EXACTLY what she was doing when she wrote this post. It's the tried and true practice of online nerd-baiting in order to get traffic, and this, perhaps more than any other example, shows just how well it works.
People love to hate, and therefore writing a post trashing something people love, or stating an opinion that can so obviously be demolished is clearly bating for traffic. This is a practice I've seen across many of the Gawker sites before (Gizmodo being one of them), but this is a whole new level.
Writing a piece that even mentions Magic is going to bait nerds. Should Alyssa have shied from the topic just because some Forbes drip might suspect she's “selling her soul in order to bring in page views”?
Furthermore, we're calling BS on this one: “I can safely say that Alyssa is riding a wave of nerd tears all the way to the bank after this post.” Forbes writer Paul Tassi thinks she's “getting a fat bonus check at the end of the month.”
Ha! Nope. Interns don't make shit. But thanks for making it painfully clear, Paul Tassi, that your piece on soulless nerd baiting is, in effect, a soulless nerd sympathizer written for page views. Next.
Update: For better or worse (probably better), Alyssa is moving out of her apartment today, and has no phone or Internet. Finkel, meanwhile, who wouldn't be caught without Internet in the height of the Rapture, appeased his drooling fans (and potential suitors — guess the OkCupid quest worked out in the end!) with an official Q&A on Reddit this afternoon. (Or, in Reddit speak, IAMA.) Things I learned: People are seriously obsessed with this guy.
Here are the IAMA highlights.
Q: What was your first reaction upon reading her post about you?
A: I felt a little, I dunno, violated. Even though the post itself didnt make me look bad at all(at least I didnt think). Still, its sort of like someone publishing emails you wrote to your girlfriend, or posting part of your diary – it just feels wrong
Q: How many girls have asked you out since this all exploded? I noticed Felicia Day in your twitter, did she say something to you?
A: If you include twitter messages from other continents saying 'Id date you', then a lot.
As for Felicia Day, it appears she made a tweet or two about it, but I dont really know much about her, except that she seems like a lovely woman who is apparently loved by gamers
Ed note: “Made a tweet”? What kind of Internet phenom are you?
Q: Do you actually care about the Gizmodo article and huge overreaction to it?
A: I think it's kind of funny. I mean really the article coulda been a lot worse. I think I'm unpale (for me at least) after a summer of riding my bike and playing basketball, and I dont know if I've ever worn a 'hedge fund uniform' but there are worse things than “He was tall and thin and I cant believe he didnt tell me about this game he used to be really good at”
Q: Did you google her before the date?
A: Yeah. She had a pretty good, heartfelt article about her dad and Ayn Rand. One of the main reasons I decided to go on a 2nd date with her after all
This last one really warms my heart, and brings everything full circle: Because before Alyssa was Magic girl, she was Rand girl.
But as of today, what was formerly an “Alyssa Bereznak” search-engine yield of purely Ayn Rand hate/love posts has flipped completely to rants by online gaming nerds and their supporters (and a couple defensive pieces in reverse backlash). Just another sign this classic 21st-century witchhunt will be a flash in the pan, and everyone will move on with their lives by dinnertime.
If only everyone could be as mature about the Gizmodo-meets-Magic bad date turned “bait” post as Jon motherfucking Finkel. BTW, offer still stands. Hit a girl up, re:
Q: Is pimping easy?
A: Hold on, lemme check w Snoop Dogg…..
No. Apparently Pimpin Aint Easy
Update: Someone apparently hacked Alyssa's Twitter and changed her self-description to “former @Gizmodo intern,” despite the fact that Gizmodo has announced no such thing. Maybe not having Internet today is kind of worst-case scenario, after all. Update to the update: Not hacked! Internship ended Friday! Not that it'll quiet the Finkel crusaders from announcing it as a victory. Stupid.
Originally posted at 9:45 a.m.
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