Sunday, October 31, 2010

"The Social Network": Observations

-Movies now cost $13?

-But the Battery Park City movie theater is right there. How was this my first time going?

-Oh right. Movies cost $13.

-Yes, Facebook's neat and all, but was its creation really that amazing? There were other sites like it - one was bound to render the others irrelevant sooner or later. Mark Zuckerberg, with or without the help of stolen ideas, didn't split the atom, which is kind of how the movie presents it.

-But what is brilliant about how Facebook began, and what the movie highlights well, is how key the air of exclusivity was to its marketing. I remember hearing about the site from friends who were at Stanford. Soon enough, my classmates at UChicago were complaining that Facebook was now open to those from inferior institutions - as though UChicago's arrival hadn't, in all likelihood, been received the same way. At least in its initial incarnations, the idea that one was suddenly part of Harvard's inner circle flattered students at elite-but-not-that-elite schools. One suddenly had this list, not only of friends and acquaintances, but of friends and acquaintances at colleges at least as prestigious as one's own. Which suggests that social positioning is more exciting to people than the mere prospect of hooking up with strangers or friends-of-friends.

-Contrary to Withywindle's prediction, I wasn't that moved by the Jewish angle, other than to suspect that the Jewish-striver, WASP-blue-blood distinction both existed and mattered far more in the filmmakers' formative years than it does today, and that that explains its role in the movie. But fine, there's that one line about how Jewish guys like Asian girls because, among other reasons, Asian girls aren't Jewish. (Except the many who were adopted by Jewish parents on the Upper West Side, not to mention the offspring of Asian-Jewish marriages who are often Jewish by religion but, given how our society defines race, more visibly Asian than Jewish. And the Jews of China, India, etc.) One thing though - at the beginning of the movie, our protagonist writes a blog post, insinuating that family name of the girl who just dumped him was changed to Albright from "Albrecht." I was reminded of the discussion in the comments to this post about how no one (myself included) can tell which names are meant to sound German and which Jewish. Is Zuckerberg calling his ex a self-hating Jew or someone descended from Nazis? Either would sting, but the case for the movie not having Jewish female characters - what Withywindle said I'd pick up on - rests on how we're interpreting the Albrecht remark.

-The Winklevoss twins were by far the best part of the movie, and not just because I, as a heterosexual woman, and one who has perfect vision, am writing this post. (If the Winklevoss twins were just as pretty but women, this would be all any movie reviewer would be able to talk about.) The movie's best lines were when Zuckerberg refers to them, in plural, as "the Winklevii," and when one of the twins explains why no hit-man is needed if they're going to play dirty in their revenge. "I'm 6'5", 220, and there's two of me." Indeed.


Withywindle said...

Withywindle ventriloquism fail? Oh, well.

Withywindle said...

Goldberry also liked "the Winklevii."