Finally saw ‘Social Network’, the movie. I was primed by all the reviews to hate the movie. But I didn’t. I found Mark Zuckerberg to be the only sympathetic character in the entire dog-eat-dog, sexist tech-biz world as portrayed in the film – which is not that far removed from reality.
A brilliant, talented, socially awkward kid with at least mild Aspergers has a vision and a feel for what he needs to do and can do. He may not be interested in money, women and fame, but people who are necessary for him to fund his vision are interested in these, and sometimes he falls for their sweet-talk, makes mistakes, falls and gets up again, and is driven to move on and pursue his dream.
Yes, the movie has factual errors, and yes the movie tried to slander him badly, and yes, what Facebook really means (which is important) is totally lost to the movie-makers who emphasize, like every dinosaurian curmudgeon worth his salt has to, the least important but most offensive (to old-time Puritanical tastes) aspects of Facebook (e.g., the potential for finding suitable dates, or changes in the meaning of privacy they don’t grok).
But in the end it is the old-timers – the lawyers, the old-money guys, the keepers of old traditions, the vile, sexist business wheelers&dealers (including Larry Summers) that come off the worst in the movie – you end up loathing them all by the time the credits roll.
In the end, the only one remaining standing, unscathed and even likable is the visionary, the one who changed the norms of the world to be a little more up-to-date: Mark Zuckerberg. It is easy to identify with him. It is easy to root for him when he uses his intelligence to talk back to the elders who imagine they have authority over him and to put them in their proper place. Who of us was never a kid, confused by the scheming of adults, falling into their traps, and hoping to learn from those negative experiences and go on and change the world for the better?