Alyssa Bereznak, who yesterday publicly blasted Magic: The Gathering tournament champion Jon Finkel for two bad dates, has been on the defensive. She added a defensive explanation to the beginning and end of her post.
Maybe I’m an OKCupid asshole for calling it that way. Maybe I’m shallow for not being able to see past Jon’s world title. I’ll own that. But there’s a larger point here: that judging people on shallow stuff is human nature; one person’s Magic is another person’s fingernail biting, or sports obsession, or verbal tic. No online dating profile in the world is comprehensive enough to highlight every person’s peccadillo, or anticipate the inane biases that each of us lugs around. There’s no snapshot in the world that can account for our snap judgments.
Her addendum would be a lot more believable if she wasn’t a blogger going on TWO dates with a guy whose “geeky pastime” could easily be Googled, then writing about it on a high-traffic blog dedicated to geekdom. One person’s Magic may well be another person’s fingernail biting…but they don’t write an article about it read by hundreds of thousands of people. Elly Hart at Kotaku agrees with me.
It gets better though, because there’s an unedited version on the Australia version of Gizmodo. The difference between the two articles is illustrative of just what went wrong with the American version. Let’s start with the positive: the Australian post, which may well be the original version of the article, does not mention Finkel’s name. That’s the article’s one redeeming trait. Bolstered by Finkel’s anonymity, Bereznak’s vitriolic attack becomes even nastier. For one, Bereznak knew Finkel was a hedge fund manager.
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… if everyone stopped lying in their profiles, maybe there also wouldn’t be quite as many OKCupid horror stories to tell.
So Bereznak’s attack on Finkel wasn’t about him playing Magic: The Gathering exclusively, but rather that he was a hedge fund manager (presumably an attractive quality for a date) AND a Magic: The Gathering tournament pro. Bereznak viewed this omission as a lie, and chastised herself publicly in the article for not doing her homework. Note the use of the words “normal finance guy.”
But really, here’s the crux of Bereznak’s problem:
I later found out that he infiltrated his way into OKCupid dates with at least two other people I sort of know, including one of my co-workers… 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.
Bereznak’s article was a petty revenge tactic against Finkel for “infiltrating” OKCupid and “going after” two “Gawker Media employees.” This is a high school tiff. Bereznak wanted to get revenge on Finkel for what she perceives as Internet philandering.
Would the Australian version have been any better? In some ways it’s worse – anyone could Google Finkel (except Bereznak, apparently) and figure out who he was, which is perhaps why the American version links every reference to him. If there’s a moral to this sad tale, it’s that Gawker Media employees apparently live for revenge.