I saw The Social Network over the weekend and liked it. Some people didn’t. Lawrence Lessig, the Harvard Law professor and Creative Commons crusader, says it did a poor job conveying the “real magic” behind the Facebook story—that is how its rapid ascension exemplifies how the barriers that historically have stood between billion-dollar ideas and billions of dollars have crumbled. Jose Antonio Vargas, who had a good profile of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in the New Yorker last month, said the film gets Zuckerberg wrong, and that it lacks “any real insight about our evolving online reality.” How could it, wrote media analyst Jeff Jarvis, if screenwriter Aaron Sorkin is uninterested in Facebook as anything but a lark?
It is no coincidence that these criticisms are coming from the eggheads, while film critics—97 percent of them—are the ones singing The Social Network’s praises. This is because The Social Network is a good film; it is dramatic, dark, funny, and benefits from a hell of a score, courtesy of Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. What it is not is a documentary. (Sorkin’s gymnastic dialogue should suggest as much.) I’m not sure what kind of a movie Lessig et al. would have preferred. (A tedious meditation on evolving norms in business and communications?) But I’m guessing it wouldn’t go well with popcorn.
Anyway, I’m looking forward to the WikiLeaks movie, which I would hope is in production. If not, I’d send Fincher and Sorkin copies of Raffi Katchadourian‘s profile of Julian Paul Assange (along with everything Glenn Greenwald has written on the subject) and tell them to get to work.
Speaking of people objecting to fictionalizations, City Paper arts guru J.L. Fischer was at Theater J Saturday night to cover The Great Debate over whether David Horowitz should have to bear being pegged as an asshole for the umpteenth time in a new Theater J play. Fischer tweeted a bit, mostly about about how hungry he was during the sparsely attended affair. Anyway, it seems as though Theater J artistic director Ari Roth said, “the program notes were a mistake.” If you want to know what that means, read this and/or this.
You know who doesn’t use social networks? Pete Seeger. He just answers mail and chops wood. He also uses rolling pins on his legs, and has some things to say about preparing corn. I’m calling it right now that David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin will never make a film about this man’s Sunday routine.
Sorry this roundup is shaped so much like a soap box.