Meghan Blalock responds to today Daily Rumpus Email which concerned the new movie, The Social Network.
The problem with David Carr’s rundown in the Times is that it assumes that because he’s older he knows what older people think, and that young people can’t think like older people.
I am 24 years old. When I saw the film, I related to it because I thought it accurately personified the college experience. One time when I was a freshman, after Facebook had been at the University of Mississippi for about nine months or so, I logged into my boyfriend’s account and changed all his “favorites” to things I thought were funny. He was so angry. He thought about breaking up with me. He changed his password. I was mad he changed his password. If his last name had been Zuckerberg I would have gotten dumped by a billionaire zygote. Also, in this scenario I’m the boy.
I felt bad for Zuckerberg. When his girlfriend says, “When you put something on the Internet it’s there forever,” now knowing that his girfriend was invented by Aaron Sorkin, I think it’s an expression of everyone else in the world outside Zuckerberg, or maybe just the “otherness” he perceives in everyone else. He doesn’t care about permanence because he already sees everything in black and white terms. People make a 1600 on the SATs, or they don’t. People like him, or they don’t. People invent Facebook, or they don’t. Everything is already permanent in his mind. There is no maybe. He probably has Asperger’s.
I thought about the server in California that contains at least half of my romantic decisions from the past four years. The arc of an entire relationship – undoubtedly the one most important in shaping my view of love – belongs to Google. gChat is the worst thing to ever happen to male/female relations. It takes away the chemicals. When you’re fighting with a screen it’s impossible to feel lust.
I don’t see Zuckerberg as the hero of my generation. A genius, yes. A person with a destiny, yes. He’s a kid who changed the world at 19 without knowing it. Carr says older people think he “gave up too much, not recognizing what has real value,” but how could they expect someone who’s 19 to know how much is “too much” to give up? Or even be aware that he was giving up anything at all? To him, he was just doing what any artist does – what he felt he had to do. Carr seems to expect a young person to think like an older person, while at the same time arguing that they cannot. When I was 19, I was posing on my bed in my campus apartment wearing legwarmers and short shorts and low-cut camisoles, and putting them on Facebook. I never even thought about where Facebook came from, and certainly never thought about where it was going. That’s the difference between me and Mark.
Producer Scott Rudin said, “Young people see him as completely enhanced, a rock star, who did what he needed to do to protect the thing that he had created.”
In that case, I am old. Zuckerberg is tragic. It is impossible to know what has real value at 19. Even for a genius.