I’ve come to realize there are several things that bother me about the whole Gizmodo geek baiting/hating article. It does bother me because she teased a man for his “nerd” hobbies. But it also bothers me as the mother of a son, as a woman, as a writer and fledgling blogger. It bothers me a lot more than it probably should, but I let things grate on me like that sometimes. I won’t link to the actual article, I don’t want to give them more page views (since one of the rumors going around is that she purposely geek baited for the hits to the site it would generate and the money she’d make per hit). I know a number of articles have already chastised her for her post (like this and this one from a Gizmodo Australia editor) and maybe my opinion isn’t needed, but I need to get it off my chest. If you’d like to read her article you can find it here, along with Steve Marmel’s rebuttal to the article. I believe the Gizmodo Australia site has her original unedited post on their site.
At first her article came across as nerd, or geek, baiting and teasing. The popular girl picking on and looking down on the geeky kid because it’s what all her friends think is cool. It was judgemental, shallow and just plain snarky–and, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, there was no need to use his name. This is what pretty much everyone has fixated on. It’s a fair point to fixate on. She makes no mention of the fact that he also has played in the World Series of Poker and she makes hedge fund references in a way that give the impression that he’s a nerd pretending to hold a normal job. And the “hedge fund uniform” was just that, a uniform for the occasion. Because, you know, all of us geeks and nerds are incapable of holding full time jobs, not living in a parents’ basement and wearing anything other than tennis shoes and novelty tshirts. He really is a partner in a hedge fund–poker and Magic: The Gathering are hobbies. But she doesn’t care about any of that, only that OMG you guys! I went out with a…a NERD! It makes her sound very shallow. What I’d like to know is where is the rage from the “I use dating sites” crowd.
“Earlier this month, I came home drunk and made an OKCupid profile.”
Those are her words. So she’s telling people the only reason she’d be on a dating site is because she was drunk? So dating sites are something else beneath her? Does that mean the only reason she’d go back to check her profile is because she was drunk again? That’s not exactly something to be proud of or throw in to an article that prospective future employers might see. She writes that she’s heard horror stories about dating sites, and even links to a post on Jezebel where people shared their online dating horror stories. This leads to another issue I have, she knows that meeting a stranger for a date can lead to issues and she chooses to have her first date with a guy she’s barely talked to start with alcohol. Granted, maybe it was only one drink, but you’re still consuming something that can alter your judgement. And the fact that she continued the date after the drink and finding out that his hobby was something she thought was OK to laugh at and belittle (and therefore make this a guy she doesn’t want to date), to go on to a play about a serial killer makes me really question her decision making skills. I would think that having all those dating horror stories in the back of your head, a date wanting to take you to a play like that would have been a date ender. Not only was it not a date ender, but after Googling him the next day, she contacted him about a second date.
OK, so she gave him a second chance. First dates can be rough. But she comes off in her article as only wanting to prove he’s beneath her. Strike one, strike two , and strike three. Why do that to someone? From reading Jon Finkel’s twitter feed it sounds like neither one of them had a great time on either date and they went their separate ways–or at least he thought that’s what happened. I’m sure he never expected her to find fault with him for continuing to date. Which leads to another vibe I get from her article.
“I later found out that Jon infiltrated his way into OKCupid dates with at least two other people I sort of know, including one of my co-workers. Mothers, warn your daughters!”
Mothers warn your daughters what exactly? That single unattached men continued to date after bad dates? That a guy your daughter might go out with could end up also going out with someone she might kind of know? Where’s the problem here? And using infiltrated? What was the point of that? Are you on the OKCupid police force, weeding out nerds, geeks and other undesirables from the dating pool? She acts like he donned camo and slipped in under the wire on the front lines. This part of her post makes her sound like she’s angry that some lowly nerd, who should have been happy to date her, didn’t call her back. That makes the article a vengeance article and a pretty unprofessional thing to do, on top of all the other reasons it’s wrong. How many guys will stumble on that when Googling her (something she’s encouraging) and decide to pass on a date–hey if the date goes bad, they might wind up in her next entry!
I find the article unprofessional and it does a disservice to bloggers, especially women who blog. She turned an article into the equivalent of a high school slam book entry. There are too many people out there who already think women are shallow and judgmental–and now she’s given them more ammo. We live in a time where bloggers may be singled out for something as simple as being a woman by people who have some kind of issues. The people who do those sorts of things, will read a post like this one and lump together all women who blog or have something published online and judge them based on her post. Gee, thanks! The other thing that makes this unprofessional is if there’s any truth to the rumor that this was done for the money. To cause a controversy and increase traffic to the Gizmodo site. Gizmodo bloggers are paid based on how many hits their article receives. That does wonders for the view people have of bloggers, writers and journalists–everyone’s willing to sell out for money. It also makes her previous article on Disney selling out the classics for money irrelevant. She’s willing to sell out, but it’s not alright for Disney to do it? That’s being hypocritical. And also doesn’t do any of her fellow bloggers a favor. The Disney post was a well written opinion piece, but it turns out, she may not practice what she preaches–so why value her opinion.
The things that really bother me as a woman and the mother of a son, are not only things she said, but the things she didn’t say. She mentioned Googling him the next day. Which means she would have come across lists that show his career winning in Magic, as well as poker. So I, hopefully inaccurately, jump to the gold digger conclusion. Was she willing to initially go out again with him because she thought she could get past an old hobby if he had money to buy her things? That doesn’t do the image of women any favors and makes me worry about the kind of women my son will (many years from now) encounter. And so does the fact the the three strikes that took him out of her game were that he still played Magic, was getting ready to go away for a tournament, and had a number of friends with the same interests as him. That means he’s not going to be able to devote his full attention to her. So in addition to everything else the article makes her sound clingy and needy. Another misconception women really want encouraged. And not the kind of woman I want my son to date someday. And finally there’s the “defense” posted on her twitter:
dudes, i don’t think it’s bad to be a dweeb. i just dont want to date someone i can’t relate to. not an attack. more a cautionary tale.
That didn’t help her case. Continuing to call someone by a belittling name will never help defend you. I think the cautionary tale here really has nothing to do with Jon Finkel.