If you’ve been without Internet this week or something, you may have somehow missed the explosion of nerd rage when a female Gizmodo writer posted an article about discovering that her Internet date was actually Magic world champion Jon Finkel, and her horror at having been mislead. I guess he wasn’t wearing his “Gaming Nerd” arm patch.
A lot has been said about this. Really, a lot, and I’m not going to add much more. If you’re desperate to read the original, it’s here (although it’s been sanitized slightly, there’s a harsher version floating around somewhere).
First, I’ll point out that io9 is part of the Gawker network of sites, and I write for io9, therefore I’m part of that conglomeration. I just want to observe that this gossipy piece did not appear on Jezebel (although it was cross-posted there, and lambasted as thoroughly as it was everywhere else), but on Gizmodo. That’s a site where people talk about computers and technology and things like that. You know, nerds. I also want to observe that Gawker sites have editors, and this made it through them before being posted. In other words, this wasn’t some rogue intern drunk blogging. It’s generated a crapload of hits, of course, because when you make nerds mad, they get all ornery and tell all their friends about it. I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that someone knew that would happen.
That doesn’t change the fact that it’s an insipid article to begin with, an article whose basic premise is only so much middle school cafeteria chatter. But Adam Barnello at Channel Fireball explained very eloquently why this sort of thing makes us gamers (and Star Trek fans, and cosplayers, and so on) so upset at this sort of thing:
“Normals” don’t get why we’re so interested in the things we like. They don’t get why we can spend hours upon hours sitting in conference centers, or kitchen tables, or game stores playing a card game that looks boring or silly to them. They think we sit there, pretending to be wizards, casting spells on our opponent and making believe. They don’t understand the drive and the competition of the game, or the world-building, or the intricacies and nuances of play, or the allure of the perfectly tuned deck. They don’t understand the way that the game wraps you up and keeps you safe, during all the times when things are going wrong; how it’s the one thing that allows you to feel normal in a world that doesn’t make sense. How when everything else in your life is spinning out of control, and you feel like the world is crumbling around you, the game allows you to take your mind off of everything – to escape into something pure, and forget about all of your problems for a while. The rest of the people you know, the best of the people you know all “get it,” and accept who you are as you are – because of the game.
You can find the rest of his piece here — it’s worth the read.