I'm not one to write extensively about movie trailers. Though seductive, and often artfully created, they are, after all, teases. And all too often, tedious, loud, inane teases. Or worse, false advertising.
But every once in a while, a trailer will come along that gets to me -- socks me in my soft underbelly and actually makes me think. Or worry. Or dread. Or experience something that I'm not even sure I can articulate. And why should I? I haven't watched the movie yet. Such is the case with David Fincher's haunting two and a half minutes on Facebook -- The Social Network.
Just as Fincher's superb, salient Fight Club (more so than Chuck Palahniuk's own novel) was darkly humorous, cynical and heartbreaking enough to reveal, within its own time, that the New World Order created by Tyler Durden/insomniac Jack can lose control of itself, The Social Network, trailer alone, makes me wonder about Fight Club's assertion of impotence, desolation and delusion. The impotence of losing one's soul. Or power. Or uniqueness ("I wish I was special"). Or trying to retrieve/dominate it all. In the case of Fight Club, finding yourself was via fist to face. Sweaty, bloody, I want-to-throw-my-desk-at-my-boss releases of rage, submerged eroticism and quick stop enlightenment. But before Facebook even existed, Fincher revealed fearless leader Tyler Durden was a false creation. An avatar in one man's mind.
So as ever prescient as Fight Club was, Facebook seems the logical step -- and even more meaningful since it's happening as I type these letters. A new club. A club of "friends" -- real or not. A club of affirmation. A club of alienation. A club for your face. A club in your face. I'm a member. When used properly, FB can be an incredibly beneficial place, exciting, even. And I have few negative rages against the internet. It's where I work and practically live. And one can block out the dumber aspects (even with so much inanity, noxious gossip and oh-the-humanity revealing comments online) by simply turning away. And god bless e-mail correspondence. But in darker moments, I wonder if social networking, if used too frequently, will make us become even more disconnected from ourselves. People text, they twitter, they communicate online -- again, a positive thing but often, a confusing, toxic thing. I suppose that's life, online and off. But I fear that the old phone, where at least we can hear an inflection in a voice, is becoming an irritant to those who wish to drop you five words and five words only. I won't start with the sensation of talking to a real live face -- where we can see the sincerity (or indifference) in a person's eyes. That's nearly before my time. And I stay in a lot.
If I'm in a certain kind of mood about the world and my life, this trailer makes me overwhelmingly sad -- sitting directly in my era and sad about it. As if we're all embracing Big Brother. It makes me want to hide. It makes me realize I do hide. And reveal. And then hide again -- unhealthily wishing I could always sit in the house Daniel Plainview built -- alone -- drinking my milkshake. Or your milkshake, holding out hope that Warren Oates will arrive to whisper sweetly in my ear, "Lighten up, Francis."
Facebook is a place of communication but also loneliness -- loneliness among many. And it's sometimes just better to be alone. Could I, would I, drop everything and search for Durden's "dilapidated house in a toxic-waste part of town"? Perhaps. But only if I had a high-speed cable connection. And that is yet another, false creation -- Tyler's house. A place of movies.
One can't really drop out anymore. But one can hide in plain sight. So I suppose the next best thing is friending Tyler Durden. I hope he accepts my request.
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