Well, I finally saw the Facebook movie.And I loved it.
True, it paints Harvard as a stuffy cartoon-scape. True, it treats women as as video-game props, sex tools, and platforms for coke-snorting. And, true, Mark Zuckerberg‘s character comes off as a bit of an arsehole. (But based on the other evidence I’ve seen, this would seem to be a fair representation of the reality at the time. And, thanks to Aaron Sorkin’s writing and Jesse Eisenberg’s delivery, even the assholishness is charming.)
But all this is secondary to the main message of the movie, which is a celebration of what makes a vibrant corner of our economy–and our country–great.
What’s the Facebook movie really about?
It’s about a college sophomore who says “fuck you” to authority, follows his passion, and creates something great. In so doing, he works ridiculously hard, inspires his colleagues, blows past the comfortable establishment, and becomes rich beyond belief.
In other words, the Facebook movie is the latest incarnation of the American Dream.
Courtney Comstock argued recently that “The Social Network” is this generation’s “Wall Street.” Oliver Stone’s 1980s movie, you might recall, was supposed to paint such a repellent image of greed and shallowness of the financial industry that it would drive people people to be productive and actually make things. Instead, it made a whole generation of college grads desperate to work on Wall Street.
If we’re lucky, “The Social Network” will have a similarly galvanizing impact on American entrepreneurship and the technology industry.
The one thing that comes off universally well in the movie, after all, is Facebook–the product that the flawed characters Mark Zuckerberg, Eduardo Saverin, and Sean Parker, et al, create. Even as the humans in the movie stumble around screwing themselves and each other, in other words, the product of their efforts is presented as insanely great. And the fact that it makes them all billions–all of them, even the apparently shafted Eduardo–is just icing on the cake.
What the US economy needs right now is more Mark Zuckerbergs–more people willing to follow their passions, forgo convention, and make things that are insanely great. What we don’t need are “final” clubs aristocracy, and established ways of doing things.
With luck, that will be the legacy of the Facebook movie.