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Jennifer  Sertl

Here is my take:
Social Network/Social Disgrace

I took some time and saw Social Network. While many people are focusing on the Facebook story, I was a bit distracted by some of the backdrop. Tolerance may be the greatest crime any of us every commit; so at the risk of being a 'prude' or 'lame' I am going to share what bothered me. There were several scenes that took place on college campuses-in fact Ivy League. Girls were dancing almost nude for boys who were simply enjoying the view--and these were girls who probably had almost if not perfect SAT scores. I went to CU Boulder-and know that the party scene is just as much a life experience as getting a college degree. It is just that I am more aware of global competition then I was then. I am more aware of the job market and the skill levels required to keep jobs. I am more aware of what others sacrifice in order to be taught to read, taught to speak my language, taught to learn about business. I believe those who sacrifice more--will gain more and be better able to use and leverage what they learn.

Please see Social Network as a good story and a brilliant mind. Let's improve the college campus image to ensure that we are seen as individuals who value and honor education. I expect more for my children.

An invitation for rigor,

Hue Rhodes

1. The reason the critics love “The Social Network” is because it represents the best film talent of today, at the top of their game. Just like software has it's own notion of design and elegance, so does film. All disciplines define excellence internally. The fact that film analysis is played out in a public arena is ancillary.

2. Filmmakers feel no real obligation to represent the factual truth. What matters more is an emotional truth. The Social Network "feels" true. Read David Mamet’s “Three Uses of the Knife” for a great overview on drama, facts and what the audience really wants.

3. Sorkin did Zuckerberg a favor. Who do you like better? An awkward guy who makes a social website to try to compensate for those shortcomings, and gets everything but the thing he lacks? OR a well-adjusted guy with close friends makes the brutal P&L decision to cut one of those close friends out of the company because that friend is dead weight?

4. Sorkin did us a favor, too. We got to watch a story that didn’t make us feel bad about ourselves. Here’s an exercise - make a list of people you hold dear, in descending order. Start with your mom, family, friends, down the line. Now, the challenge: I'll give you a billion dollars to cut one of those people out of your life (through betrayal, whatever.) How far down the list will you go? Most of us...not far down. That's what Zuckerberg was faced with. And while I don't know the true details of the case, there was a lawsuit with multiple settlements. And as producer Scott Rudin said, whenever you tell outright lies you get sued, and no one is suing the filmmakers so far. Would I want to watch a film where the main character did what I would probably do, but would hate myself for doing? No. Even if it was for billions? No. Smart man, that Aaron Sorkin.


"Something is happening here but you don't know what it is. Do you, mister Jones?"

Raheel Rahman

Reviewing "The Social Network" - Constructing Grand Narrative
amazing article.




An insightful review, John. We just saw TSN last night at the University Village Theatre at USC. The old vs. new media narrative was underscored, for us, by the fact that there was a visible scratch on the film throughout and the print was so dark it felt as if we were watching it through sunglasses.

Digital distribution in theaters will, of course, change all that. In the new narratives, status is contextual, and digital distribution will dramatically alter the context of film distribution.

Digital distribution will cede a lot of power to theater owners and independent filmmakers, and if there's one thing Old Hollywood doesn't like, it's sharing the narrative. As the old film industry saying goes, "It's not enough for me to succeed, I need others to fail." This schadenfraude seems to fueled Fincher and Sorkin as they carved their hollow caricature of Zuckerberg and their bitchy little Facebook story.


Terrific commentary on a terrific movie. Much food for thought here. Doubtless Zuckerberg's life isn't as neatly tragic as the film makes out. Equally doubtless that there is some inherent tragedy in the world of social networking--and some obvious ironies as well.


Well articulated .. thank you, John.

More attempts to put the rabble in its place will follow, no doubt. And a good chance that over time those attempts will be more successful than not .. and then, will what I and others have called "soft fascism" truly dominate ?


Interesting... your theory about mainstream media trying to understand new media. The thought that occurred to me while reading is that the Hollywood set is just pissed because they were once the radicals, the revolutionaries that caused disruption. That happened long ago and the industry has gotten somewhat fat, happy and...mainstream...but they still hold on to that narrative. The drama kids in school that once were outcasts but then all found themselves together and finally the envy of others... but they've been displaced.

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John - Very accurate analysis of the movie and the movie-fans reactions as a reflection on society's social revolution hesitations and inhibitions. The clearest manifestation of the malaise is depicting Zukerberg as autistic: inability to look at interlocutors in the eye, DaVinci-like doodling during cross-examination, inappropriate dress in public settings, withdrawn in social situations, etc. etc. What is the message here? That the revolution is merely a fringe event, mistakenly reinforcing Gladwell’s recent New Yorker article. Fortunately the retort is in the movie itself (albeit buried under the weight of stereotypes and dramatization) – Facebook’s global presence, net worth, and growing network. Like Malcom said - Viva la revolution!

alan p

John, while it is disingenuous of the movie makers to claim it is "just a story" it is also somewhat disingenuous of the Facebook fans to claim it is "all wrong" - it was based around some well documented facts (If it wasn't broadly true they could have sued....)

I think the angle that its all about the Olde Media taking a pot shot at the New is part of it, but I think there are 2 other things going on:

(i) As you say, the FB story lends itself to a Tragedy narrative, and this being a movie, thay have used that structure. In other words, its not purely a shot a New Media or Empty Achievement.

(ii) I have been as struck by the fairly rabid reaction of the "FB Fans", and I suspect its because the movie has picked up on a meta-story that is believable given what you can easily Google up about FB - i.e. the perception that these are not, by and large, nice cuddly people running this thing for the good of all who sail in her.

FYI if you parse the Twitterstream about the movie you will find it is broadly +ve, so its not just the Old Media hacks that like it - the broader Social Media Crowd, in its Wisdom, also does. The criticism of the movie seems to emanate mainly from those close to Facebook geographically or spiritually.

If the public peception was that these are in fact nice cuddly people than I think the reaction to the movie would have been dfferent.

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