November 1, 2010

THE SOCIAL NETWORK, OR WHY THE REAL MARK ZUCKERBERG SHOULD CHILL ABOUT THE MOVIE


First of all, the fictional Zuckerberg as protrayed by Jesse Eisenberg never comes across as a villain in the movie, and one of the things that has been levelled against Sorkin's script... is definitely not there. Or rather, something is there that has not really been mentioned in the reviews and opinion pieces online or in print.

It's summarised by the lawyer at the end of the movie, and no, I do not mean her often quoted "You're an an asshole, Mark. You're just trying very hard to be one."

It's this, "Don't worry about it. Emotional testimony is about 85 percent exaggeration."

"And the other 15 percent?" Zuckerberg asks.

"Perjury."

"Ah."

"Every creation myth needs a devil."

And since Zuckerberg (the real one, and also the fictional one) took away the power from those who thought there were entitled to everything (watch closely how Fincher intercuts Zuckerberg working his ass off while the Winklevoss Twats do... what exactly? Oh, yes, partying! While his friend Eduardo does... what exactly? Sucking Harvard Social dick.) Both of these groups did not do anything, really, then for the creation of Facebook.

In the Winklevoss Twats' case, did they have a contract? Did they hire him? Did they pay him? Was he an employee? Was he their partner? No. If even half of the film is true with that regard (and those parts are apparently based on the deposition), they just thought they could use his intellect and his talents to get some shit for free.

They same way people with money always think that people with talent should be their slaves. And that the latter should appreciate it if they were taken to the "bike room" of the former's exclusive clubs.

In other words: assholes. Wow. The sons of very rich people who got everything handed to them on a silver platter thinking they can get the poor Jewish kid to do some shit for them for free? And then waah waah?

Let us call them what they are: assholes.

In the same way, Eduardo is shown to be merely chasing the respect of people who are out of his league. No, that doesn't negate that it was a not so good thing of Zuckerberg to let Eduardo walk into the trap later (and if Shawn Roberts is only a third of the sleazeshit in real life as he is portrayed here, then please, I hope he rots in hell... he likely won't, but he should).

But who was making the decisions from the get-go? Zuckerberg. Who creates Facebook? Zuckerberg. And here's me – hating Facebook (and I do, but hey, I have been told I am anti-social) – and defending the man's accomplishments, at least in the early phase.

Now, something that is not in the movie is the released Messenger intel by Zuckerberg, telling one of his people that he got 4,000 people to trust him – dumb fucks. Well, uh, one can definitely see this as being slightly sociopathic, but at the same time, let us be honest here for a second, right?

Now that Facebook is everywhere, and the ramifications of putting your daily shit online for everybody to see, for everybody to judge, I would actually say that trusting all of your information to a giant corporation does make you a dumb fuck. And several have already paid the price for that, be it in hunting for jobs or being cyber-bullied into suicide. It's why you shouldn't simply trust anybody or anything online.

But the genius of Zuckerberg was that he told you you would be in control of your online life. That you would be cool, too. Whoooohoooo! As for how far that octopus reaches, I gave a friend of mine in Australia an email containing a bit of my writing, and her system immediately synced up that data the next time logging on to Facebook, recommending me (I did tell you, I have a Facebook account in order to not have anybody else assume my identity, yes, I am paranoid, fuck off) as her Facebook buddy.

Yeah, that is the kind of thing one should be worried about. You listening, Mark?

But back to the movie. Much has been made of the fictional scene between Zuckerberg and "Erica Albright" at the beginning of the movie. And it is a powerful scene, fictional or not. And there must have been somebody, if Sorkin is right and taken the Voice Over here from Zuckerberg's original blog posts. Sorkin says he only changed the name, left the rest untouched, and I would assume that was in the depositions as well.

So let us say, there was a girl, and there was that moment.

Oh, wait.... there apparently is at least somebody now trying to assume that identity (you know, of that woman who we are told doesn't exist), Erica Albright.

Ooops. Okay, then. We shall now assume that this is the woman that is referenced in Zuckerberg's original blog post and thus subsequently in the movie. How pathetic do you have to be to try to ride this to fame? Go to her web site, look at the photos of Rooney Mara there, where she goes, "oh, Rooney Mara played me in the movie".

How pathetic do you have to be to go out there, then, and assume the fictional identity of "Erica Albright"? I mean, really? Sorkin and Fincher do the best to obscure her identity, but she goes out and says "it's me."

All over sudden that dialogue written by Sorkin, where the fictional Zuckerberg takes her apart argumentatively doesn't appear so snide anymore. Suddenly, she does begin to appear as somebody who would do a lot to get people's attention without actually ever having created anything (and god, do I know people like that).

What are they called again? Ah, yes. Fame Whores.

So, in essence, the real Zuckerberg shouldn't have worried so much about the movie. What he should worry about is (a) the next big "exclusive" thing that may take his company down from a perceived value of 25 billion to something worth a lot less (look at Yahoo, look at Digg, look at Friendster) and (b) that some of the "dumb fucks" out there go, "hey, I can have a life without Facebook! When did I start to forget that?"

On the other hand, if the worry about this movie was one of the reasons that Zuckerberg will donate 100 million in Facebook shares to the New Jersey public school system, well, that is a good thing, too.

Or isn't it?