Moving on--how about an entire page of great fandom cakes? And man, some of these are amazing. Not a cake wreck in the batch.
More Hurricane Irene news: LordKat, an occasional correspondent through That Guy With the Glasses, lives in Staten Island. This is relevant because for the past couple of days, he pointed his webcam out onto his street. (And no, the film's not shown in reverse; the car near the beginning does back up and out of the street because it was blocked.) From a mild drizzle to Atlantis and rising damp in 48 hours. Impressive in a slightly unnerving way.
So yesterday, I mentioned the whole Alyssa Bereznak fiasco, and there's been a couple new points of interest pop up. First, Dork Tower actually put out a strip commemorating the whole controversy, and there was a link at the end to another article. That's where the real interest for me picks up.
See, apparently, Ms. Bereznak, forgetting she worked as a geek blogger, and that her little 'ew Magic he's so gross' post would turn into the shot heard 'round the geek world, changed her blog entry twice over the course of the next day, trying to make herself sound more like a victim, and Finkel more like a bad date that any thinking woman would have fled from. (Which doesn't really fly, either, because Australia's branch of Gizmodo preserved the entire thing so they could rant about her, too. But--interesting side note--even the Australian version of the article has now been edited to take out her copious links to Finkel's Wiki page, YouTube videos, and personal details she gave out that made him seem like the worst form of predatory stalker. Way to stay classy, Alyssa.)
But it gets better. Forbes Magazine thinks she made that post deliberately, just to get page views. There are now parodies. She's been made into both an online Magic: the Gathering card, and an online meme at once. Buzzfeed gathered up the ten best responses to the article and posted those. The Renaissance Dork got involved. Federico lo Giudice calls the whole thing a witchhunt. Dr. Nerdlove calls it a horror story. MovieBob jumped into the fray. The lady behind GeekGirlDiva included a ton of fun links at the bottom of her rant.
And ultimately--whether or not it was linked to this faux pas of epic proportions--Alyssa Bereznak was terminated from her position at Gizmodo.
I think for me, the story's pretty cut and dried: she's a shallow woman with all the depth of character of a lunch tray, and she went out on a date with someone who, to her, fit whatever criteria for "normal" she holds in her head. Who then revealed his geeky side, after, it must be remembered, she revealed that her brother is a gamer. Finkel's likely side of that conversation: "She has a brother who games. I have a gaming hobby. This could be a fun topic." Bereznak's side...is blurrier, because apparently--at least according to everything she's written--she was either deliberately angling to discover nerdy skeletons in his geek closet, or chose Finkel because she knew he was a gamer, and thought it would be a good article? Or maybe she was really that clueless and vapid.
Either way, as others have pointed out, this then shifts the blame to Gizmodo, for deciding to run with the article--because...again, because why? Why would they deliberately do anything that would tarnish further their reputation with their own readers?
Maybe they thought it would be funny, a bit of fluff to fill the day's quota, a light humor piece that their ardent readers would embrace, inhale, and subsequently discard. What they never sawn coming was the fact that most of the online world would rise up against Berezak, including women gamers (more on that in a bit).
In short, bad decision-making all around, but also, it's definite and final proof that no one is writing in a vacuum--if it's on the net, anyone can read it, react to it, and lay blame for it, pro or con. Me, I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing, overall. Stand behind what we say, say what we mean, then--"mean" or not--we're taking responsibility for ourselves. Which Ms. Bereznak clearly did not.
Now, getting back to Susan Arendt's apology to Finkel. It contained this line:
Except humiliating someone by name online to make yourself seem cool is disgusting, unfair, and mean.Which did make me stop and think, involving the various 'name' fiascos that have hit this blog.
I know, 100% know, no doubt whatsoever, that anyone I have ever mentioned on this blog by name--be that "real" name, Second Life name, online handle, business, blog, whatever--I have done so with no intention of seeming "cool", or making myself seem superior, or even in the right, at all. Humiliation has never been my game, though I will freely accept, nay even embrace, the "mean" part of that statement. Put plainly, that's never been the point.
I have wider goals, sure, and some of them, to long-term readers of the Train Wreck, should be obvious by now. I also have more than my fair share of aggrieved pettiness, and that I'll own too. But I've never sought personal gain by mentioning anyone in an entry.
That having been said, especially after I spent four hours yesterday gutting out any mention of Miss Insect on this blog (by her request), I think it's time for an official change of policy.
Unless it is an estate owner (think people like Desmond Shang), a Linden (I refuse to anonymize Linden-made statements), or a maker of things I want people to be able to find (by mention of proper name, business, or blog), I'm going to do my level best to anonymize anyone I feel the need to directly mention. This may mean blurring of faces, changing of names, changing of locations, because frankly? My former insistence on the authenticity of names being important has dissolved completely. Facing the growing-endless hassle from people who've Googled themselves, and then freak out entirely that I actually (ohthehorror, you'veruinedme, I'mabrokenwoman, youFIEND) mention people on whatever entry it happens to be...yeah, I'm done with it.
[Expansion from the Editrix: I'm also not going to anonymize names and comments pulled from the JIRA, and from the forums. You're on your own lookout, there.]
Also, Mr. Dagger designed a new banner that I quite like, but I'm now pondering a change back to sepia tones for the blog. Why? Because it's a sepia banner. And while I could tint it, I like it the way it is.
But that means finding (or making) a new background, possibly altering the layout slightly, et cetera and so forth, and that will take a few days, depending on how busy I am. Still, expect a new look no more than two weeks away.