Thursday, September 1, 2011

obligatory alyssa bereznak response post

The Alyssa Bereznak post is the first true crossover hit between the Magic: the Gathering community and greater nerddom. For those of y’all that have, hopefully, streamed in with millions of your average-joe friends to read this fascinating piece of writing you have before you, what you have to understand is shit like this just doesn’t happen. Magic news is for Magic people. We’re comfortable in our little bubbles and don’t venture outside of them too often unless we’re really hungry and the Burger King is right there.

I’ll talk about the article itself for a bit so that people don’t get tricked into thinking I’m just jumping on the “hey let’s all respond to some dumb shit a dumbshit wrote to get more views for our stupid piddly blogs” bandwagon without ever actually discussing the thing. The article was bad. I think we’ve established that by now. It’s completely without a point, and when on this blog I’m criticizing someone for writing without a point then woo buddy are you in some point-having trouble. So this woman is fine with going on a couple dates with someone who has some boring-ass office job, but it turns out that oh no horror of horrors, he also earns money playing a card game. And he’s really good at it. And well-respected. So you... decline to see him because of that. That makes no sense, but almost anyone that read that article and then this one came to a similar conclusion so it’s really just talking nasty at the horse that’s spread over a five-mile radius due to constant barrages at this point.

It’s still an article without much of a point. The Magic community, instead of looking at it as an article without much of a point, immediately sees it as a vicious attack on all things Magic and greater-nerd-related, and retaliates in the most appropriate way they can think of: calling the author a bitch, cunt, ugly, vapid, etc. “How dare she look down on people who met all their best friends playing magic! Why, I’ve met all my best friends playing Magic too, and I wouldn’t take this dumb whore last pick in the bitch draft!” Stereotypes about Magic players are there for a reason, and the community has done a fantastic job of living up to them. Using gendered insults against someone you disagree with isn’t the best way to seem dateable. No, it’s not a fair response to something you think is wrong. Just don’t do it.

Then there’s the Elly Hart response and it’s a crime against writing. She attacks Ms. Bereznak for the horrendous crime of being a woman drunk and on the internet at the same time, because apparently any woman who gets a bit drunk is the “drunk girl falling all over the place” and Ms. Hart doesn’t say it but it’s pretty obvious “slut” is implied somewhere mixed in with those other words. I would like to inform Ms. Hart that, contrary to what she seems to believe, it is not uncommon for writers- even famous and high-quality ones- to indulge in alcohol consumption that leaves them shit-faced. As one of these good writers who drinks, I was so enraged by her essay that I had to have some drinks, and then, yes, I went on the internet.

In a bit of creative license, Ms. Hart apparently imagines Ms. Bereznak as some sort of Travis Bickle-esque figure, maliciously stalking men on the internet and ruining their lives by posting about it later. For all of Ms. Bereznak’s failings in her article, she never seemed to be going on OKCupid for any reason other than to get some nice dates, yet Ms. Hart thinks she is purposefully fucking with his head in order to... something? Not really sure here.

There’s a greater issue beneath this, though, and that’s stigma. Whether or not Magic players and anyone associating with nerdiness wants to acknowledge it, a great number of people associate these sorts of people with a great deal of negative things, from the dated cliches of pocket protector-types to the more accurate portrayal of the community as poorly-dressed and socially awkward, with a singular focus on their interest to the exclusion of all else. The article hit a nerve because it directly confronted what so many players don’t want to acknowledge: their hobby isn’t helping them get dates with anyone other than the comparatively small number of nerd-leaning females. The greatest outcry in response to the original essay has been from women who are gamers or otherwise self-identify as nerds, but a basic headcount at any gaming convention or, worse yet, Magic tournament, will tell you that even if every nerd girl dates a nerd guy, there are going to be a lot of straight guys left over. They’ll either have to be single, convince the aforementioned nerd girls that monogamy is overrated, or date someone who isn’t a nerd. And that’s where we run into stigma.

The fact that a large number of people have not-so-good ideas about Magic isn’t going to go away if we mock people that bring it up, or high-five each other for only dating within the community of nerds. Is it silly and myopic to disregard a potential date because they play Magic? Obviously. But to be fair here, Jon didn’t make the best case that Magic players are the specimens most worth dating; by both their accounts, they didn’t have much chemistry together. The MTG aspect just seems like a handy scapegoat. If a perfect dreamboat had come along, I’m sure that Ms. Bereznak would have given the game a second look, maybe reconsidered her views on it. But if the dates are just kind of eh, and you have no connection to something the man is deeply emotionally invested in, why bother?


Chris said...

I'm not sure that anyone who got upset at her for insulting Magic players will be visiting a blog with the tagline "Magic player suck".

Nice to see that not everyone is jumping on the "lol stupid bitch wouldn't screw her if my dick was on fire" bandwagon.

Anonymous said...

I really don't even care about the Magic aspect, gaming ignorance in general is just silly considering it's the largest entertainment medium now. "Drunk on the internet" is a poor position to write a blog post from, as well as "lol I'm a chick on the internet that doesn't get gaming" when Gizmodo is a sister site of Kotaku. Her entire standpoint's indefensible.

When I got married my wife brought her video game collection which eclipsed mine by a factor of three, but to this day I'm sure she'd burn every single card I own if she could get away with it. DIFFERING INTERESTS. Variety, spice, etc.

So I guess I get where the rebuttal comes from, since it's kind of damaging to opposite-gender and nerd-female relations overall. Plus, the entire article could've been avoided if she'd just posted it to LiveJournal or Facebook or something. lol "Gawker employees live for trashing nerds we pick up on OkCupid," that's a thing the world needed to know about.

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