tragic: the blathering

I suppose it should be a given that any article starting out, “This story sounds mean.” is probably going to be mean and make someone look bad. Unfortunately a recent article on Gizmodo, “the Gadget Guide” makes its author look like a “mean girl”.1

This story sounds mean. It’s about a girl judging a boy because he’s a nerd (like so many of us!) that she met on OkCupid. But that’s the point: Judging people on shallow stuff is human nature, and the magic and absurdity of online dating is how immediately and directly it throws that into relief. One person’s Magic is another person’s fingernail biting, and no profile in the world is deep enough to account for that.

The long and short of it is that the author made an OkCupid profile, went on a date with someone and found out that person is the world champion Magic: The Gathering player. In just shy of 800 words, she explains that this is a deal-breaker for her, but not before posting the guy’s name, with photos, videos, links, etc. and saying that he “infiltrated his way” into dates with acquaintances of hers. So she doesn’t just desperately try to get the reader to agree that he’s a hopeless nerd, but also portrays him as someone who others need to be warned off of because… I’m not sure why.

My friend Bill says it best.
https://twitter.com/#!/willmize/status/108309692941467648

Most of the comments on the article were calling out the author rather than the target and rightfully so. As someone that’s a self-identified nerd,2 I’ve been on the dates where I’m asked, “So you’re into Star Trek, right?” or “OMG, you play WoW, don’t you?” by non-nerds as if it’s necessary to establish the ground rules right up front that say “Just so we’re clear, I am cooler than you.” These dates were usually followed by a remarkable lack of second date, but about a 75% chance of a text or e-mail later asking about how to fix a computer problem.

And while I might post the results of a bad date–with names changed to protect the innocent–on my little blog that is lucky to see 100 visitors a day, posting it on a Gawker-family blog that likely sees more traffic in a day than my blog sees in a year is just irresponsible… and setting yourself up for future criticism. After all, if one person can eventually track down someone via their OkCupid profile and publicly shame them, how hard can it be for others to do the same to her? (Ed. note: Someone please do this.)

Her final “word” on the matter comes via twitter.
https://twitter.com/#!/alyssabereznak/status/108278043767865344

And I’m still not buying it. The only person that would appear to benefit from her “cautionary tale” is her. Don’t get drunk, create an OkCupid profile, go on a date before you’ve put your dealbreakers on the table and then proceed to plaster a person’s face and name all over the internet for committing the heinous sin of… being someone you won’t get along with. Yeah. I’m sure many men will see it as a cautionary tale, one that advises them to stay away from her at all costs. 🙄

1 I decided not to link to the article, because upon reflection it seems that Gizmodo/Gawker is working the Huffington Post angle: provocative article for page views. And I don’t see how the post fits their “Gadget Guide” masthead.

2 And an old-school one, from before it was “cool” to be a nerd.

† Upon even further reflection, I’ll link to the Gizmodo Australia posting as it is less edited and contains the choice line, “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.”

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4 Responses

  1. William Mize says:

    No, it’s an attack.
    A cautionary tale is something that you tell your girlfriends around a small circular table with appletini’s at your elbow.

    An attack is something you post to a million page view website.
    She wanted to embarrass the guy, period.
    She wanted to shame him and point and get others to point and laugh as well.

    • Michael says:

      William, I get the feeling even if she had just told the cautionary table to her girlfriends, some of them would have thought she was being a bitch, even if they didn’t tell it to her face.

      You’re right that it was an (attempted) attack, too bad it came right back at her in spades.

  2. Kris says:

    She needs to find a cheese-nerd (from her own profile, one of her hobbies is trying all of the cheeses in the Park Slope Food Co-Op, and she’s 5 for 40).

    She wanted the world to know she was better than he was. Never mind the fact that he has a passionate hobby that he turned into a money machine, then used those same skills to win at poker and become a hedge fund manager.

    But hey, cheese.

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