Another web developer friend, who requested his name be withheld, expressed similar apprehension about seeing The Social Network. Though acknowledging the film's historic relevance, he wasn't comfortable with the fictitiously distorted portrayals of people he is friends with in real life.
This made me realize that for people like Mark Zuckerberg, people who code round the clock and take ginormous risks to -- more or less -- homestead the wild west of the web, the idea of watching a caricatured augmentation of the greatest challenges an entrepreneur can face seems about as pleasant as scratching a blackboard would be... if blackboards still existed.
The Social Network is neither biopic or documentary. Sensitive portrayals of prodigal socially inept visionaries have a distinguished cinematic lineage in and of themselves.
In Hollywood, all roads lead to Citizen Kane. Whereas Orson Wells chose to change the names, screenwriter Aaron Sorkin did not. In an culture saturated by hash tags tweet chats about reality TV, a scripted biopic that takes narrative liberties with real live people can come off as anything from unsettling to outright freakie.
Aaron Sorkin's said: "Antihero to Tragic Hero"
During the Q&A that followed last Thursday's WGAe preview screening, Sorkin disclosed the contents of the character arcs: Aristotle. Aeschylus. Kurosawa. Power. Betrayal. Revenge.
Sorkin had a gold mine of emails, wall posts, blogs, legal documents and interview transcripts at his disposal and a legal team about the size of the entire American Bar Association. Zuckerberg's seminal drunken Harvard computer system crashing Facemash posts are right there in the screenplay. It's what Sorkin's fictional Zuckerberg is built from.
Sorkin is Digitally Challenged. His nostalgia is completely unironic... so?
Making no attempt to conceal or even apologize for his lack of social media literacy during the Q&A, Sorkin expressed a decided desire for a less accelerated future. A future that chooses nostalgia over zeros and ones. Who can blame him? Digitally speaking, the guy is a neanderthal.
Sorkin's attempt to even differentiate between platforms sputtered and collapsed. Best case scenario, he's a social media neophyte who tried his best. Those looking to the film to elucidate the pulsing techno-socio-binary that codes the pulsing letters that you read across your screen, might be disappointed.
Erica Albright is a Sled. Rosebud. Rosebud. Rosebud.
Haunted by the loss of his fictitious girlfriend, Erica Albright, Sorkin's Zuckerberg avatar is driven to construct a perpetually elusive Xanadu known as... Facebook. At the end of the day, The Social Network is too fictitious to be All the President's Men but not fictitious enough (or punctuated by a strong enough reveal) to be Citizen Kane. It deserves to be judged on its own merits, regardless.
Who is the Real Mark Zuckerberg? The Education Donation to Newark Controversy
When Zuckerberg's 100 million dollar donation to the Newark Public School was announced before the film's premiere the conspiracy theorists were poised and waiting to counter the benign nature of one of the most generous educational gifts in history. So what if it was intended to buffer the inevitably bad media on it? Does something like that honestly matter as long as Zuck's personal stocks sell for the 100 million they are said to be valued at?
Ultimately, the movie is fiction and what Newark needs right now is very real.
Sorkin's, Zuckerberg's irreverence for red tape makes him both tragic and extraordinary. He and the real Zuckerberg seems to share and be attracted to others who share this trait. With Cory Booker at Newark's helm, the Startup Education Foundation could not be in a better position to succeed.
Here is my Politiku:
morphs into Cory Booker.
Newark got new sleds.
Follow Susanna Speier on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Politiku