Friday, November 5, 2010

Not the Social Network

I've not seen The Social Network yet, though I do intend to, maybe this weekend. But I've read a great deal about it and the more I read the more puzzled I get.

Because here are all these movie critics, mostly starry-eyed fans of Aaron Sorkin, banging on about Facebook billionaire Mark Zuckerberg's moral turpitude in allegedly double-crossing his best mate, and allegedly cheating the Winklevoss twins, and being a vilely sexist little arse, and so on and so endlessly on. (And no doubt some of this is more or less true. I've just Googled Zuckerberg to confirm my sense of his age and was a bit horrified to discover that he is my astrological twin. Him, David Byrne, Cate Blanchett and me. Go figure.)

But what I have not yet seen one film critic do, not one so far, is question -- or even mention -- the ethics of making a film 'about' a 26 year old man that makes him look as much as possible like a dishonest, unpleasant little schmuck, but that Sorkin defends by saying it's not a documentary, it's a 'story'.

I don't know much about Sorkin, but I know enough to know that he knows perfectly well that most people are actually not all that sophisticated about these things, and that 95% of the people who see that movie will come out of thinking that they now know the whole truth about the real Mark Zuckerberg.

Imagine if an idolised and influential screenwriter nearly twice your age who'd decided he didn't like you, thought you were a moral midget, and held your invention in contempt (as Sorkin has made it clear he does, despite the fact, of which he seems proud, that he's more than happy to despise Facebook while knowing almost nothing about the uses of it) made a movie about a character with your name who invents your invention and is sued by the same people you've been sued by, and in the process makes you look as bad as possible -- and then says loftily, no, no, it's not a documentary, it's a story about great themes, so I'm allowed to make stuff up and leave stuff out and gaily mix up fact and fiction as much as I want.

Imagine if somebody did that to you. At all, much less when you were still only 26 and had to carry it for the rest of your life. What would you call that, if not unethical?

45 comments:

screamish said...

Couldn't agree more with you...that occured to me too reading about the film. I suppose if there's nothing technically defamatory in it there's not much he can do.

Then again, there's nothing to stop an ex or old employee or ex student starting up a nasty facebook group making someone look like a schmuck, either...happens all the time! Perhaps Zuckerberg is being bitten by his own bad karma...

Mindy said...

Defamation?

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

Mindy, I'm sure it was legalled to death before it ever went public, but I'd love to know what the arguments are/were.

I really hate this whole fashion for making things along the 'docu-drama' spectrum about people who are still alive anyway -- even if they're not technically defamatory, it's just immoral, I reckon. Even when it's Underbelly, if only because that makes me despair about living in a country that glamorises sordid, stupid crims, and not just in their movies but also in their downmarket women's magazines.

NB two things, just in case it's not clear: yes Aaron Sorkin is a good screenwriter and yes I'm sure it's a good film qua film.

Snowpea78 said...

I agree... it is a really weird issue... I read this article which gets into it a little... might not answer all the questions but it is an interesting article...

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/09/20/100920fa_fact_vargas

Van Badham said...

Kerryn,

I'm interested in the points you're raising, but - I'm sure like most other readers of this post - I'm even more interested in reading what you think once you've seen the movie.

I've seen The Social Network and in my reading it's incorrect to argue that Zuckerberg is portrayed as "badly as possible". He's portrayed as a singularly brilliant, talented, ambitious young man socially crippled and emotionally damaged by a palpable loneliness.

Whatever the ethics of representing Zuckerberg, the film does honour the attributes he publicly most admires in himself. Personally, I think the film also shows great sympathy to his fragilities, too.

In terms of your concern at the ethics of depicting him at all, having seen the film I'd contend there's a strong "Theophanous Precedent" argument to defend Sorkin. By virtue of Zuckerburg's vast wealth, his ownership of a global media empire and his US$100 million investment in the New Jersey public school system, Zuckerburg is a political entity, his age notwithstanding. It would be an abuse of the power that he wields to oppose or prevent that power being scrutinised.

Anyway, I'm very interested to hear what you think after seeing the movie.

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

Van Badham, indeed. I've tried to make it as clear as I could that I was responding to the vast amounts of commentary, much of which I've read (including that excellent link from Snowpea78, highly recommended), rather than the movie itself yet. And most of the commentary I've read suggests that that's the way the particular critics concerned have 'read' the version of Zuckerberg that Sorkin presents. I'm also going on Sorkin's own appearance on the 7.30 Report in an interview with K O'Brien, and on what I heard, saw and deduced from that.

'It would be an abuse of the power that he wields to oppose or prevent that power being scrutinised.'

That's a really good point, and I agree with it. Any amount of scrutiny in a proper documentary would be welcome.

I'm also quite happy to admit that I found Sorkin's superior 'Oh dear me yes, all those silly people who don't have any real friends' attitude to the whole 2.0 phenomenon unbearably irritating, backward and ignorant. I was a bit shocked, actually. Not to mention the whole 'Oh yes, I was addicted to crack cocaine when I was young and stupid because I believed that without it I Couldn't Write', which is apparently fine when you're forgiving yourself for your own youthful stupidities but still quite happy to condemn/expose someone else publicly for theirs, and make a lot of money out of it in the process.

lucytartan said...

The only commentary on the film I've seen is Zadie Smith's review (in NYRB?) which expressed some thoughtful but not condescending reservations about whether Facebook is worthy of its billions of users. In that sense she did seem to me to be blurring the distinction between the movie and the reality. I liked the film. I thought, like Smith, that it owed a lot to Citizen Kane. I also think it was hugely interesting on the whole stifling culture of entitlement and privilege that apparently infests elite US schools to the ultimate disadvantage of the students and in ways that seem completely inimical to the best aspects of America's perception of itself as a meritocracy. (this essay is really good on that context.) As somebody who's imagined as giving two fingers up to that universe Zuckerberg came off surprisingly well in the movie, I thought. He's presented quite sympathetically in lots of ways, as well as unappealing. The film begins with him doing something absolutely appalling but then it manages to bring you around to grasping his point of view.
It's the Sean Parker character who I think comes off as really morally bankrupt.
Your point about how the movie is likely to be wrongly and maybe unethically understood as a straightforward biopic is quite right, though, I'd think. To me it was certainly a story. I imagine one possible response to such criticism might be to point out that because of everything he's done and profited so immensely from, Zuckerberg forfeits the courtesy of privacy. That's not much of an argument.

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

Thanks, Ms Tartan, super comment. Your point about America's privileged classes reminds me of something I thought when the buzz about this film first started, that in the way it represents assorted male characters in that milieu, it sounds a lot like the truly excellent Quiz Show,and also, though to a lesser extent, the equally truly excellent Broadcast News.

lucytartan said...

It might also be a contributing factor that the movie is based on a 'novel' about Zuckerberg and co. I've put the book on my holiday reading list.

lucytartan said...

Quiz show is a really good point of comparison. Lots of parallels in the subject matter.

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

Loving the quotation marks around 'novel' there. Written by whom? If not by Sorkin, then I am probably doing him an injustice. I didn't realise there was a layer of mediation in there. Certainly haven't seen it mentioned in any of the articles I've read.

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

This answers and/or amplifies a few questions.

lucytartan said...

Written by Ben Mazrich who appears to specialise in sensationalised and heavily fictionalised books about entrepreneurial heists of various kinds. His work is often criticised for blatantly fictionalising stuff. Although I do wonder, if it's so obvious - narrating the thoughts of protagonists, etc - what's the big problem?

Fairly often movies about real events or real people are said to be based on some kind of intermedial text, but it varies a lot how much of what's in the movie really does come from the book or article or whatever it is. Sometimes the supposedly adapted text is literally a pretext and this might well be one of those occasions.

Anonymous said...

I saw The Social Network a few days ago and, like Van Badham & lucytartan, found its portrayal of Zuckerberg surprisingly sympathetic. Essentially, he is shown as the sort of high-functioning Ausbergers' familiar to anyone who has spent time in maths or computing science depts.

And that is the central paradox underlying the core events of this film; that this person who so successfully translated the dynamics of social interactions into digital form simply does not get the emotional aspects of relationships. His lack of empathy is not by choice, but apparently by birth.

Lucytartan's comments about 'the whole stifling culture of entitlement and privilege that apparently infests elite US schools...' are spot on too.

The way the film ends--with a closing scene so hopelessly poignant one would have to be hard-hearted not to feel sympathy for Zuckerberg--indicates to me that Sorkin went to lengths to explain his characters rather than assassinate them.

TFA

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

'And that is the central paradox underlying the core events of this film; that this person who so successfully translated the dynamics of social interactions into digital form simply does not get the emotional aspects of relationships. His lack of empathy is not by choice, but apparently by birth.'

TFA, that's what Sorkin says too, and I'm sure it's true of the film, because it's so neat a framework to hang a work of art on. But -- even though the real Zuckerberg himself also calls himself an 'awkward person', and others have commented on his 'lack of affect' as the psych types say -- is that bit you've quoted true of the real person? I'm not sure which of those two 'people', one real, one heavily based on the real one but basically imagined (see link in previous comment), you're saying that your quotation describes. And it's precisely the fact that such uncertainty can exist in a conversation like this that makes me question the ethics of the whole enterprise. In a way, whether or not Zuckerberg is portrayed 'sympathetically' isn't the central question. It's that he's 'portrayed' at all in what is essentially a work of fiction, yet openly identified there by his real name and the public facts of his life.

(BTW and FWIW, he's apparently been in a stable relationship with the same woman since 2003, ie between the ages of 19 and 26; I think that's pretty impressive for someone who allegedly doesn't understand the emotional dimension of relationships. I sure as hell didn't manage it myself at that age.)

But I really ought not to get in any deeper until I've seen the film now, I think.

Anonymous said...

Yes, there is most definitely a contradiction going on with Sorkin. I think it's best summarised by this article:

"Ok, Aaron Sorkin, you have to pick. Either you are proud that you don’t know a thing about the Internet, Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg and the world you wrote a movie about or you are simply the empty vessel here to tell the world a larger truth about Silicon Valley. Because so far, you seem to flip-flop based on the accusation"


http://techcrunch.com/2010/10/11/memo-to-aaron-sorkin-you-invented-this-angry-nerd-misogeny-too/

Anonymous said...

'is that bit you've quoted true of the real person? I'm not sure which of those two 'people', one real, one heavily based on the real one but basically imagined (see link in previous comment), you're saying that your quotation describes.'

Kerryn, I'm not sure how true it is of the real person either.

I went into the film cold: I was asked out by a friend, wasn't even sure what we were going to see & was quite unaware of the controversy. Googling afterwards I was surprised & somewhat taken aback by Sorkin's comments.

My impressions were those of a viewer lacking prior expectations, and therefore might differ from those of a professional critic, FWIW. And my impression was that Sorkin could easily have portrayed Zuckerberg as a far more dishonest and unpleasant person than he did.

But I'm still skirting around your central question: I share your concerns regarding the ethics but I feel as though I am yet to arrive at a satisfactory position.

If we were to only consider cinema, then I think I would unreservedly agree with you. But is it reasonable to consider cinema to be a special case unrelated to other media - biographies, newspapers, television - all of which tend to go about the business of reporting the living with a good deal of myth-making & a tendency to frame stories as cautionary tales? Or, should unauthorised biographies remain unpublished until their subjects die?

Because I'm inclined to think 'No' to that question, I'm equivocating on biographical cinema.

TFA

cristy said...

Thank you! I've been waiting for someone to say this. I find it really concerning. What a crap way of getting around the law of defamation.

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

TFA, excellent point in the last two paragraphs there. I don't know either. But it's certainly one of the reasons I think the defamation laws should remain intact -- God knows there's little enough protection on the internet, without making artforms open slather as well. Your experience seems to have been the opposite I've mine -- I'll be hopelessly loaded down with baggage before I get a chance to see the film!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Kerryn. BTW I'm all for strong defamation laws, but I'm not sure how they would apply in a case such as this. Zuckerberg's legal troubles and, erm, personal failings have already been widely reported in the media. So in that sense it could be difficult to argue that the film damages his reputation.

TFA

Kevin Rennie said...

My take:

Social Network: Reality Hits the Wall

Hollywood and ethics. Hardly on the same planet.

Stephen Luntz said...

I can't feel all that much sympathy for Zuckerburg - his power and wealth protect him pretty well from the negative consequences of the film.

However, I'm passionate about this issue of misrepresenting a living person and then saying "oh its just a story".

A friend of mine had a paragraph devoted to her in a best selling book. Her name wasn't mentioned, but her job was, and as the only person to hold that position for some time absolutely everyone who knew her could recognise who it was referring to. The portrayal was utterly untrue. Almost the opposite of the truth really, but people were chortling to her boyfriend about "how did you like X's cameo...". It may well have contributed to the break up of the relationship, and was certainly a factor in her dropping out of uni and spending two years depressed.

But the author was all over TV saying "well I'm entitled to not be wholly accurate because I write fiction, not fact."

It's one thing to do this to a figure with Zuckerburg's status, to do it to an ordinary uni student is disgraceful beyond belief.

I assume you're aware of the case I'm referring to, and I know you think the situation is much more nuanced, but frankly I've never seen it that way.

Van Badham said...

Cameras were not present to record what happens in The Social Network when the historical events it depicts took place. To make any film about the events in The Social Network therefore requires a process of retrospective narration. A documentary would have consisted almost entirely of subjective reconstructions of events narrated by voluntary participants - or “dramatizations” by the filmmakers.

Given the film is the story of people who eventually sued Zuckerberg, one presumes their testimony to camera would be one-sided and self-propagandizing, and certainly missing the complexity of Sorkin’s deftly sympathetic characterization.

This is, of course, a fictional scenario in itself: Zuckerberg and the individuals involved in the court cases against him signed non-disclosure agreements as part of their settlement and would not have been available. This would be why Sorkin’s source material, the book The Accidental Billionaires, is a ‘novel’.

A film documentary version of The Social Network would therefore be a non-first-person history of Facebook retold in the assemblage of secondary-source accounts. A story told through narration and dramatization, without the in-person participation of actual historical characters, is the very definition of narrative fiction.

The simultaneously critical, emotionally sympathetic and, crucially, entertaining exploration of the characters and events of the film would have eluded its telling in another narrative medium. It is a subjective retelling, certainly, but all histories are.

Sorkin’s argument that social media isn’t an effective means of emotional communication is really just an aesthetic complaint, lacking a willingness to appreciate how adeptly the form is used by its adherents. Insisting that the story told in The Social Network should be restricted to a documentary, given the limitations explained above, could dangerously suggest the same thing.

For anyone who hasn’t read the Zadie Smith article in the NYRB, it is engaging reading. It is here: http://bit.ly/9dCVwj

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

Van, I haven't seen you round here before and I assume you are new to this blog and not familiar either with me or with the regular readership (small but perfectly formed, as they say). I think you'll find most of the people who come here regularly are fairly sophisticated consumers of culture and are therefore quite aware, as am I, that documentaries are not really 'objective', for all the reasons you give plus a few more, and that we are in no real need of instruction about it. Some of the people here have been teaching this stuff for years.

But aiming and claiming to make a documentary, which is my point, would be binding oneself to at least not actually make stuff up. Aiming and claiming to make a creative work of narrative art, on the other hand, requires, or so I would have thought, a certain non-dependence on a real subject. My point, which I obviously have not made clearly enough, is that as that excellent article Anon linked to at 4.16 points out, Sorkin can't have it both ways.

Van Badham said...

The intention is not to provide an unnecessary tutorial on narrative or genre, but a lucid contextualization to explain, having seen the film as well as read about it, why specifically The Social Network exists in the form chosen by Sorkin and Fincher.

You wrote:

"Any amount of scrutiny in a proper documentary would be welcome."

My previous post illustrates the process leading to my personal conclusion that a "proper documentary" on this subject may not actually be structurally distinguishable from Sorkin and Fincher's eventual feature film. Within my last post was the point that there are legal considerations that constrain how the Facebook origin story can be told.

This is worth explication.

The historical characters have signed non-disclosure agreements in legal settlements. Legally, none would be available as documentary subjects. Consider, too, that all the participants are demonstrably litigious.

Sorkin himself has been conspicuously vocal on the many, many "legals" required to clear this film for production and release.

Presumably, on the advice of his producers, if Sorkin does not very publicly declaim his work as "a story", if the film does not purport itself to be a fiction, then suits and countersuits are inevitable. In this case The Social Network would be suppressed. The public discussion the film has spawned of Zuckerberg’s dangerously powerful media empire would not now be taking place on this global scale.

Sorkin and Fincher’s film release has the timeliness of activism, given the structural and social implications of Zuckerberg’s newly incubated “Facebook Connect”.

Your stated concern is the ethical compromise of identifying a real person in what is "essentially a work of fiction", yet you agree with me that enormous social and political power wielded by the historical subject warrants scrutiny.

In the case of The Social Network, as with The Accidental Billionaires before it, the reality of Zuckerberg's corporate legal power obligates artists to fictionalize in order to scrutinize. The ongoing question for ethicists, artists and other public intellectuals who are attempting to engage corporate power is whether Sorkin-style “fictionalizations” compromise their moral legitimacy as critics, or are instead a necessary formal/tactical adjustment to the legal and political context in which we live.

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

If there are that many legal issues around representation and defamation of a real person who is still alive, doesn't that suggest a moral problem to you?

Fine said...

I haven't seen the film, so I don't have a specific comment to make about it. But making biopics of someone who's still alive is nothing new. Wells got into a huge amount of trouble back in 1941, for 'Citizen Kane'. the names may have been changed, but Hearst had no trouble in identifying himself. So, is it the whole genre which you don't like, or this specific film?

I saw 'Gainsbourg' last night, which handles it biographical material in a really interesting way. It's different in that Gainsbourg is dead, but many of the key characters are still alive. I've read that the family are very supportive of it, because it labels itself as a 'conte'; a fairytale, and uses various distancing devices to suggest to audiences that you don't need to read this too literally.

A current film which literally made me flinch when I heard about it being made is 'Snowtown'. Yes, it's about what you think it's about. Issues of power and privilege immediately loom large for me with this one, in a way they don't for 'The Social Network.'

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

Fine, it's a good question. For me it's not so much a matter of 'liking' or 'not liking' so much as an issue of how it's going to affect the person-in-question's life (which is why Zuckerberg's age is haunting me), especially if it plays fast and loose with easily-observable simple truths, as it's reported this one does. I feel disdainful of Kitty Kelley (sp?) type unauthorised biographies for the same sorts of reasons.

'Gainsbourg' sounds like the ideal way around it: formal distancing devices are the go, if people must make this kind of movie.

Now that you mention it, I think I'd heard a whisper about the Snowtown film while it was being made; I too flinched, and then repressed it as it was too awful to contemplate. You're absolutely right about power and privilege there, and I agree that it's (the idea, I mean, not the film) worse. Have you seen it?

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

Fine, I've just Googled that Snowtown film and what I've read has helped me put my finger on what it is that's bothering me in a much more general way, something of which this movie and the Zuckerberg movie and half the novels I read for work and god knows what-all else are making me more and more uneasy as the years thunder by, and that's the collapse of fact into fiction in the general imagination, and all that that implies, morally, ideologically, culturally, aesthetically, you name it. I read five or six articles about the film and not one of them specifies whether it's supposed to be a documentary or a drama. (And yes yes, eveything Van said about documentary -- the point is what is being claimed, and what the viewer is being positioned to believe.)

How it's possible to get a coherent, meaningful story arc out of a situation with its genesis in disorder, I'm sure I don't know.

So to the exploitation of real and (in this case powerless) people, we can add the degradation of the art of storytelling, which at its best has a shape and a figurative dimension (allegory, metaphor, metonymy, symbol, whatever) that adds up to an abstract meaning. And in the unexamined collapse of fact and fiction into each other, that art is being lost.

*gets down off soapbox*

Fine said...

I think the collapse of fact and fiction really concerns me, when it's used for work labelled 'docu-drama' and it becomes really unclear what to believe and what's being made up. And as someone who makes docos, I'm extremely aware of how this split can never be clean. But, that's why I dislike reconstructed docos.

Mind you, I've seen it cut the other way, when I've been accused of reconstructing a telephone call between two characters in different countries, when all we'd done is have two films crews following the two characters around and we cross-cut the call. But, it's a mistake I'll never make again because it called the whole film into doubt for some people.

Warp Films, which is making 'Snowtown' is a very interesting Sheffield based company. I briefly chatted to the producer about how uncomfortable I felt about this film, and though he's very nice and very smart, he kind of just shrugged.

But it's still in production, so I haven't seen it.

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

Yes, I got that it was still in production once I'd looked it up. Had to have a sad little giggle at the name of 'Warp Films'. Apt in so very many ways.

Lucy Sussex said...

Well, I know that if I ever get a nasty cross-examination in court, my fantastical writings will be used to question my veracity. In fact I'd say it is the other way around--in my experience non-realist writers know the difference very well. It's those who purport to depict reality who mix the fact with fancy.

Van Badham said...

In the case of The Social Network, I think we can comfortably assume that the film is not defamatory. With the kind of legal team Zuckerberg pays for, if it was defamatory in any way there's no way it could have made it this far.

As for the implicit moral problem representing this subject, I cite again the Theophanous Precedent. Zuckerberg may be only 26, but he's 26 and running a major media empire. The Zadie Smith article makes some excellent (and alarming) observations about how software is not 'neutral', and how digital interfaces restructure the way our minds receive and process information. Again, in her article, she explains how the 19-26-year-old mind of Zuckerberg has informed the design and function of his invention - an invention that has, demonstrably, altered the very means of social communication for an entire generation of people.

If he was a private citizen, different story. He's not. He's one of the most powerful and influential people in the world, with corporate ownership of the personal data of 500 million other people.

That the story genesis is in disorder is all the more political reason to explore the structural conditions that have facilitated that disorder. If fiction is the only form (legally) available to you to do so, use it. It's good art, the subject will attract a public analysis through which fact and fiction can be sifted and separated - as we're doing now.

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

When I mentioned 'disorder' I was referring to the Snowtown film that Fine was talking about, not the Sorkin film.

Van Badham said...

It's applicable to Sorkin movie. A very good term "genesis in disorder". Perhaps a good name for the genre of this specific kind of film. The investigation of the disorder is the impetus for the creation of the film, the exploration is the subject and, if The Social Network is the example, the disorder necessitates a structural equivalency. It's good.

Tatyana said...

This collapsing of fact and fiction was also identified and discussed when Mezrich’s book came out last year (supposedly it was used as a source of Sorkin’s screenplay). The book continues to be sold as ‘non-fiction’, although it relies on invention, raising similar ethical, aesthetic and legal questions discussed on this thread.

These two reviews from the Guardian and the NYT express some of this unease:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/jul/05/
facebook-accidental-billionaires-zuckerberg

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/20/books/
20maslin.html

I agree with the others that the movie was well done, but it was only one imaginative version of this complex story.

Marshall-Stacks said...

There have been previous bio-pics of living people -
Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side,
Tom Cruise played Ron Kovic's story Born On 4th July, The Kid Stays In the Picture, etc

Dame Elizabeth Taylor has unleashed her lawyers onto every effort to portray her though.

shawjonathan said...

I was interested to hear, I think on Mark Kermode's show on BBC Radio 5, that mark Zuckerberg booked a cinema and took his entire office staff to see the movie. One of them reported back to a friend who had something to do with the movie that Mark 'said he liked the parts of the movie he agreed with'.

I have a theory, based on nothing except my own imaginings and therefore on theme here, that what Aaron Sorkin actually wrote was a superimposition of his own autobiography on the outline of Zuckerberg as portrayed in the book other people have mentioned. This theory accounts for the erasure of MZ's longterm companion, the toilet encounters with groupies, and especially the emotional force of some of Zuckerberg's lines in the deposition scenes.

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

Funny you should say that, Jonathan. When I saw Sorkin on the 7.30 Report he came across to me (though clearly not to others) as very much the same sort of privileged, smug, objectionable, particular-kind-of-American-man twerp that he clearly regards Zuckerberg as being. Again, I'm going on what he said himself, there and in other places, not on the movie.

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

Ms Stacks, yes there have, and more besides. I don't approve of them either. But my beef with Sorkin is more complicated, and has partly to do with his attitude to Facebook (and yes yes, I know all too well what's wrong with Facebook) and his obvious determination to bend his material to fit his pre-existing bias. Erm, thesis.

Actually, as a long-time academic currently in the midst of staying in touch with academe via thesis-marking, I think perhaps that's what's bothering me most of all: Sorkin started out with a thesis and an attitude, and appears, from what he says and what I've read, to have selected and rejected facts in order to fit his thesis better. Which is a cardinal scholarly sin. Dorothy L. Sayers wrote her best Lord Peter Wimsey book (and indeed her best book) about it.

R Francis said...

I saw the film tonight, and as others have said, he was portrayed sympathetically, and celebrated, in fact. The fact that he is so young when the story is being told works in his favour. He comes across as smart, witty, vulnerable and naive, and forgivable because he's so young.

What I have much more of a problem with is documentaries being made about young drug addicts, homeless people, pregnant teenagers etc who are clearly bored and willing to befriend a filmmaker for the sake of a bit of company.

This film has nothing on that kind of exploitation - and one can only imagine what Zuckerberg would say about bloggers wringing their hands over his tender years.

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

Ah well, I don't much care what he would say, so perhaps I'm as bad as Sorkin.

Hey wait -- Rea, is that you??

Casey said...

Have you seen it yet Pav?

I really liked this article

http://jezebel.com/5654633/the-social-network-where-women-never-have-ideas

Casey said...

Am i in "moderation"????

It was the grammar wasn't it?

Well okay, no problem, but sureler you could put up a warning?

(Word verification: Sureler)

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

Casey, you were only in moderation in the sense that the comments settings as I've, erm, set them automatically moderate anything two weeks older than the post, after which Blogger calls them to my attention if I happen to be looking in the right place. Otherwise I would simply miss them altogether, and sometimes I miss them anyway, in this case for the same reason that I still haven't seen the movie: drowning in work. Will check the article after I have finished this, ahem, urgent pile of marking.