Ew, Nerds Are Gross!

The other day, Alyssa Bereznak wrote a piece for Gizmodo (the piece has been altered to soften its language. You can find the original here), describing her date with a nerd she met on OKCupid. Bereznak was fairly dismissive of her date, Jon Finkel, who is the world champion at the card game Magic: The Gathering. What's worse, she appeared to dismiss him simply because he was good at such a game. Bereznak refers to the date as a "horror story" but if that's her version of a horror story, she really needs to meet a few of my friends who have had much worse luck in the online dating world. Also, a Gizmodo writer calling out a Magic player for being a nerd? Pot, meet the kettle with no sense of privacy or boundaries.

Bereznak's piece is fascinating for a number of reasons. On the one hand, the piece itself is as bizarre as its venue of publication, so much so that I can't imagine the people over at Gawker Media/Gizmodo did not know what they were doing by running it. They understood that they'd be pissing people off, and racking up a ton of links and attention in the process. As of this writing, it's accumulated over 800,000 views, making Bereznak a rich intern and probably making Gawker owner Nick Denton pretty pleased with himself.

Over at Forbes, Paul Tassi asks the question that I also had when reading the piece:

So as a freelancer, and as a publisher, you have to ask yourself how much you want to sell your soul in order to bring in page views. I’m sure that was Gizmodo’s highest trafficked day in a long while, but at the cost of most people visiting saying “Wow, how could they have actually published this?” Alyssa might be getting a fat bonus check at the end of the month, but at the cost of having her name permanently etched into the internet as a shallow, mean human being. Was it worth it? 

I do wonder if Bereznak knew that she'd be forever associating her (previously relatively little known) name with a self-affirmation of her shallowness and a categorical denunciation of geeks. It's a fact that when you Google Bereznak's name, the firestorm surrounding this piece will probably be on the first page of results for a long time to come. I can't imagine that will be good for her future dating life, but who knows? Maybe that kind of thing appeals to some guys.

I spoke with friend and writer Natasha Vargas-Cooper regarding the piece. You can find audio of our conversation here. Apologies for the terrible sound quality:


Me & @natashavc discuss @alyssabereznak"s @gizmodo piece a/b online dating & MAGIC: The Gathering (Sorry for the bad audio) (mp3)

3 comments :: Ew, Nerds Are Gross!

  1. Nice post. I read that article and I really couldn't believe anyone on a major site would write it, and was even more shocked that an editor would publish it. Just awful.

  2. Call me the devil's advocate but I don't quite see things like you did Dave. I laughed heartily at that piece, but mostly at the expense of this "champion". We all have our bizarre interests and I don't mean to be anti-nerd ("some of my best friends are nerds!") I think a woman has the right to be creeped out by a grown man who wants to simultaneously pursue a child's fantasy game and her. Isn't the same internet that's constantly posting about "the end of men" and the epidemic of "man children?" The fact that this guy is not only embarassed of his title but seems proud is fertile soil for mocking to grown upon

  3. she mad cuz she thought she was gonna date a guy (hedge fund suit) who was levels above her on the prestige scale. She got disappointed when she realized she's on a date with a guy on her same level (nerd).

    chick's a loser and, in her perspective, she don't want to date losers. but the guys she wants to date don't date losers, which she obviously is. and so she hat in' cuz life's ironic.

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