Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Social Network

(David Fincher, USA, 2010)

- Fundamentally, not about Facebook: well, yes and no. It isn't about Facebook per se, but about the implications of Facebook re. our culture - a mirror, and not a very flattering one.

- Zuckerberg's motivation being prestige, most importantly. Power. Which leads to money, which he never wanted - he wanted something money can't buy.

- Facebook as being, structurally, hierarchical. Whether or not Z was ever interested in money (as the movie emphasizes, more than once, he was not) is immaterial; the very institutional logic of the corporation means that power will be concentrated overwhelmingly at the very top. As Slaverin says, it's like a Final Club, except they're the president.

- Again, a repeated trope is the nebulousness of Facebook - "all we know is that it's cool;" and the subsequent resistance to monetize it through advertising. A) this raises all sorts of fascinating questions about how we assign value in contemporary (late-capitalist) culture, the ambivalence toward advertising, and the final truth that Facebook now does have ads. It was - again, looking at the institutional structure of Facebook, as a for-profit, hierarchical organization, inevitable that it incorporate ads at some point.

- Exclusivity: Perhaps the most central point. It isn't about Z as a jilted lover, or even as a social climber; but the entire culture's obsession with exclusivity; again, reflected in Facebook, the way in which value must be assigned according to what is left out, cast aside. That's what makes Facebook cool - the fact that only certain people make the big decisions about who's in and who's out. This is, in some ways, the one aspect that has changed most about Facebook - it is no longer so exclusive, but it really is, it has just changed forms - it is Z's dream that Facebook will be indispensable to all.

- Roll of the Winkelvi - competition (the rowing race sequence); their apology to their father - the divided face of the Elite: naive "we're all gentlemen here" affectations of honor, and cut-throat, mercenary viciousness, but also a terrible sense of pride, a woundedness coming from the inevitable reckoning of a game they helped engineer, in which the winner takes all, and all that matters is the first one to the finish line.

1 comment:

  1. Well said, dude. I'm going to have to make more of a point in checking this blog out, as you are a gifted thinker and intelligent writer.