The Social Network
What if an alien in the future stumbled upon David Fincher’s The Social Network? Welcome to Earthling Cinema, where we examine the last remaining artifacts of a once-proud culture and try to understand what human lives were like before their planet was destroyed. I’m your host, Garyx Wormuloid.
The Social Network (2010)
Stars: Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake, Armie Hammer,
Director: David Fincher
Production Co: Relativity Media, Scott Rudin Productions, Michael De Luca Productions, Trigger Street Productions
Written by: Ben Steiner
Directed by: Jared Bauer
Analysis by: Kevin Winzer and Jared Bauer
Starring: Mark Schroeder (https://twitter.com/mark_schroeder)
Edited by: Ryan Hailey
Original Music by: David Krystal (http://www.davidkrystalmusic.com)
Opening Animation by: Danny Rapaport
Produced by: Jacob S. Salamon
The Social Network’s Hidden Meaning – Earthling Cinema
Greetings, and welcome to Earthling Cinema. I am your host, Garyx Wormuloid. This week’s artifact is The Social Network, written by confirmed genius Aaron Sorkin and directed by someone else. The film tells the story of Facebook.com, an invisible wonderland that humans accessed in order to resent their friends. Our protagonist is Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg, who gets dumped by his girlfriend for having too many conversations at a time. As any single horny college student would do, Mark decides to go home and look at girls on the internet. Only he’s such a perfectionist that he’ll only look at a website of his own creation. So he builds a site and it gets so popular that the network crashes, landing poor Mark in hot water.
But soon that hot water gets some flavoring when he is approached by a couple of t-bags, a white guy named Divya and twins! They want Mark’s help building a Harvard dating site, because lord knows those dweebs need all the help they can get. Mark says what the hell. Next thing you know, he’s going to his friend Eduardo with an idea for a social networking site called The Facebook that would prove once and for all that websites could have “the” in the name. This make twins angry. Mark and Eduardo tell some girls to come and meet them in the bathroom stall, and the girls show them why they deserve to have it all. They meet the Napster himself, Sean Parker.
Sean tells them to keep the “the,” and drop “facebook”. Based on that sound advice, Mark moves to Palo Alto for the summer while Eduardo takes an internship in New York. Once Facebook expands across the pond, the Winklevoss twins decide to sue while the iron is lukewarm. To make matters worse, now Eduardois all butthurt about Sean horningin on his sidekick territory. He puts a freeze on the Facebook bank account, but then the big boy money starts rolling in, so he has to put a freeze on his tantrum instead.
But an elephant never forgets — according to Earth scientists — and Mark plots to remove Eduardo by diluting his shares down to zero, to which Eduardo graciously sues him. Sean gets arrested for having confectioner’s sugar on his hands and Marky Mark cuts him loose. Looks like this bunch is funky no more. Exhausted, Mark takes a moment to check his MySpace.The Social Network focuses on the human concept of exclusivity, something you’ve probably never even heard of. Just as Harvard’s Final Clubs will not even consider someone for membership unless he has been “punched” by a current member, so too does The Facebook require approval from existing users in order to view their personal pages. Plus there’s Scrabble on there, which is totally addicting.
The film is driven by Mark’s ambition, and Mark’s ambition is driven by anger — at the hegemonic establishment that will not accept him, and at the human females who reject him. His first project, Facemash, is a direct response to being dumped, which is impressive, since the only thing I invented after being dumped was a Quaalude addiction.
Mark’s journey to prove himself echoes many similar journeys from Earth’s admittedly sparse history. Similar to the rich guy from The Great Gatsby, Mark seeks status and wealth as the solution to his love problems. He tries to win Erica’s respect by flaunting his success, but Erica ain’t about that life. Mark’s response is to aggressively expand his empire, similar to Alberich, the homely, dwarf-like creature from Richard Wagner’s opera Das Rheingold. After several beautiful maidens deny his advances, the enraged Alberich forswears the love of women and seeks to accumulate wealth and world domination by stealing the “rheingold,” which he furnishes into an all-powerful ring. Kind of like how Mark steals the idea for Harvard Connection and furnishes it into an all-powerful aggregator of overhead recipe videos and memes from George Takei.
The conflict of Mark’s ideology is seen in the dynamic between Eduardo Saverin and Sean Parker, who serve as the little angel and devil struggling to perch atop his bony nerd shoulders. Sean appeals to Mark’s desire for revenge and bringing sexy back. Whereas Eduardo is always appealing to him as a genuine, concerned friend. Ugh. With friends like that, who needs Karen? No! No Karen!
Ironically, the man whose website would eventually connect billions of people cannot himself establish a true connection. Mark alienates Eduardo, but also realizes he cannot embrace the hip hip ideology of Sean, at least not without Timbaland on the ones and twos. Maybe Mark is the personification of Facebook itself. After all, didn’t Facebook usher in an era on Earth that, despite its connectivity, lacked any real intimacy? Isn’t that what led to the Hashtag Wars?
For Earthling Cinema, I’m Garyx Wormuloid. #blessed