JUMP CUT
A REVIEW OF CONTEMPORARY MEDIA

copyright 2011, Jump Cut: A Review of Contemporary Media
Jump Cut
, No. 53, summer 2011

The Social Network:
the contemporary pursuit of happiness
through social connections

by Robert Alpert

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
— United States Declaration of Independence (1776)

“Q: How has your management style changed since last spring [when you hired a $170,000 consultant for your family-owned business of stringed musical instruments]?”

“Eric: We just started looking at the business in a different way. You’re not here to have fun. It’s to make a living, you know. Nobody’s really your friend. You’ve got to make money, and if you’re doing something that’s not making money, why are you doing it? It’s just looking at everything with an objective point of view and doing our best to take the emotion out of it.”
— Deciding to Hire a $170,000 Consultant, The New York Times, January 18, 2011.[1][open endnotes in new window]

The United States’ myth of opportunity holds that those who work hard may achieve, and that history is a progressive, forward movement in which the country betters itself through such hard work. Yet such optimism has consistently been tempered by a sense that “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” inadequately define a satisfied life. Thus, the myth of individual success also frequently becomes a story about loss and failure. For example, based on the life of William Randolph Hearst, the owner of a nationwide chain of “yellow journalism” newspapers, Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane (1941) portrays Charles Foster Kane as having achieved material success at the cost of a life of dissatisfaction. Forcibly exiled from his childhood home, he remains consistently angry and alone as an adult. Even that champion of historical progress, John Ford, late in life enunciated the myth’s failure in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962). “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend,” grandly announces the newspaper editor. The successful lawyer, governor, senator and ambassador to Britain, played by James Stewart, is ashen-faced, however, when he realizes that the material progress he has cultivated on behalf of his country has masked the fact that Vera Miles, the love of his life whom he married, has never loved him. The myth maker Ford eulogizes instead the primitive John Wayne who has died penniless and alone in order to make way for that dream of “progress.”

This same disillusionment also runs through U.S. literature. For example, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby (1925) is the story of Jay Gatsby, who believed in the myth of achieving material success and thereby the promise of a better future only to learn the futility of his quest and his loss of a more Edenic past. Thus, the novel concludes:

“Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter — tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther…And one fine morning — So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”[2] 

The Social Network deals with that myth of material success and an historical shift in values in which that myth has come to be accepted as fact. It is a bleak portrayal of a male, adolescent-dominated world in which connections, not relationships, are all. The director, David Fincher, has worked with different screenwriters on all of his movies, and his movies prior to The Social Network — such as Se7en (1995), The Game (1997), Fight Club (1999), Zodiac (2007) and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) — have in common that nearly all have at their center a young man lost and wandering through a series of episodes in which he seeks to define a place for himself. For each of these characters the search is obsessively personal, and in each the character is mistakenly confident that his skills will enable him to triumph. For example, the newly married Brad Pitt as Detective David Mills in Se7en taunts killer Kevin Spacey only to become Spacey’s seventh victim. Michael Douglas, a wealthy financier in The Game, remains certain that he can outsmart those who run the Game only to “succeed” by the grace of those who control the game.  Fincher’s characters are lost and angry, adolescents in the bodies of grown men. Even Panic Room (2002), whose main character is played by Jodie Foster, focuses on her illusion that she can acquire security through her ex-husband’s money. Aaron Sorkin, the creator of the TV series West Wing and the screenwriter of  The Social Network, places Fincher’s central character in an historical context. As such, he elevates the individual failure of Fincher’s character to a cultural failure.

The Social Network bases its story on Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg), who, while an undergraduate student at Harvard University, developed Facebook.  Through deposition testimony in two lawsuits brought against Mark — by Eduardo Savarin (Andrew Garfield)  and by the Winkelvoss twins, Cameron and Tyler (both played by Armie Hammer) — the movie recounts how what is today a worldwide phenomenon began in Mark’s dorm room. Like other Fincher characters, Mark is no less brainy, no less confident that he can outsmart those around him, and yet he fails in the end to find any personal satisfaction in his seeming success. The Social Network is especially bleak in that Mark’s personal failure gain him financial rewards in a world in which Facebook is everywhere, including Bosnia where, as a young associate at the law firm defending Mark remarks in disbelief, there are not even any roads.

Mark’s obsessive creation of Facebook results in a worldwide network of “friending,” an exchange of electronic data by persons who are physically and emotionally at a distance from one another. As such, this kind of friending offers a parallel to Mark, who becomes increasingly isolated from those physically surrounding him. Mark Zuckerberg’s contemporary success in business, measured in billions of dollars, results in his personal failure to achieve anything of value. Ironically, it was never about the money for Mark; as a high school student, for example, he uploaded for free his idea of an application for an MP3 player, notwithstanding an offer from Microsoft. Later, in his quest for success, he is oblivious to and uncaring about the consequences to others of his commercial success.  As a result, by the end of the film, his success has cost him personal growth, his friendship with his one friend, and the loss of an idealized love of his life. While inventing an online “social network,” Mark is consistently visually framed as a young man alone, whether in his law firm’s large conference room on the night that a settlement will be reached in the two lawsuits or in the loft-like space of the Facebook office on the night Facebook achieves one million members and its entire staff is out celebrating.

The Social Network deals with male adolescents, such as Mark, who should be in transition to manhood but never progress beyond their adolescence. Taught that individual achievement of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” is all, they lack any genuine empathy with others and hence any sense of social obligation or responsibility for its own sake. While Harvard University has long been co-ed, the movie portrays the college as an historic relic: the exclusive domain of its male students. It equates the exclusivity of its “final clubs,” fraternity-like clubs, with the busloads of women brought in by those clubs to Animal House-like parties. Mark’s failed quest was to become a member of a final club at Harvard, which, in Mark’s view, would lead to a “better life,” the contours of which, though, were unknown to him. Likewise, both in Facebook’s early stage when housed in a rented, suburban home in Palo Alto and later when ensconced in its high tech office space, adolescent males run the organization plugged into their computers with women as sexually available and often intoxicated or drugged objects. Women exist solely for the pleasure of these male adolescents who feel nothing beyond themselves and who thereby are inevitably alone in the midst of their noisy, crowded clubs.

It is the film’s women, however, who highlight the stunted growth and failings of these adolescent males. No scene better illustrates this than the opening, pre-credit scene in a coffee house where Mark engages in a rapid, nearly incomprehensible dialogue with his date, Erica Albright (Rooney Mara). Talking nonstop about the number of Chinese geniuses and whether he can ever stand out at Harvard, a school filled with perfect score, 1600-SAT-achieving students such as himself, Mark ends up chasing away Erica.  He is too solipsistic to understand her anger at his condescension and too self-absorbed in his own supposed worth to offer anything but a half-hearted attempt at apologizing to a woman who is a student at what Mark views as a lesser school.  He knows only the rejection he feels. Exiting the coffee house, running through Cambridge and the Harvard campus and retreating to his dorm room, with “hauntingly quiet” music playing under the movie credits, Mark wreaks his revenge. Through his blog he attacks Erica’s bra size (which he attributes to help from Victoria’s Secret) and her family’s Anglicizing of its name from Albrecht to Albright. He also creates his Facemash site. He copies images of Harvard’s female students and then degrades those students, a project which is made visually parallel through intercutting to the scenes of women shown partying at one of Harvard’s final clubs.

An adolescent male unable to communicate other than through the currency of his ego, Mark is attuned only to the physical attributes of women, remarking that Erica has a “nice face” even as he continues to attack her through his blog. Sexuality for Mark means a blow job in a bathroom stall of a local club. Ironically, at that same club Mark by chance again meets Erica. She refuses to leave her friends with whom she is having dinner in order to speak alone with Mark and then she dismisses his new Facebook site as a “video game.” Her response to him makes it clear that Facebook will do nothing to achieve Mark’s goals, to the extent he even understands what those goals are. Just as Erica’s rejection in the opening scene led to Mark’s blog postings and Facemash site, Mark now decides to expand the Facebook site to other universities, Yale and Columbia, and insists that one of his roommates make certain that there is a write-up about Facebook in the Boston University student newspaper, the college which Erica attends. Mark’s supposed relationships are founded on his need to be acknowledged as better than anyone else, including sadly the woman whom he had dated and is still in his own mind courting.

Tellingly, Mark idolizes Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake), the founder of Napster. In the film, Sean is introduced to us as a successful celebrity sleeping with a blond Stanford student; he symbolically learns about Mark by shouting that there is a snake in that Stanford student’s bed. Indeed, when meeting Mark, Eduardo, and Eduardo’s girlfriend, Christy (Brenda Song), at a hip NYC restaurant, Sean is at ease with the attractive women hostesses. Later at a Palo Alto nightclub he is accompanied by two women, whose familiarity he attributes to their modeling for Victoria’s Secret, an ironic reference to Mark’s putdown of Erica’s bra size. Yet Sean also represents a warning to Mark.  Sean tells Mark how the founder of Victoria’s Secret committed suicide after selling out his interest in the company too early and hence for too little to the adults of this world represented by The Limited. However, during their conversation Mark focuses on how Sean invented Napster during high school to win over a girl who was then dating a lacrosse player.  While Mark sarcastically queries Sean whether the Victoria’s Secret story is a “parable,” ironically Mark fails to recognize that the “parable” for Mark lies in Sean’s answer to whether Sean ever thinks about his high school crush. “What girl?” Sean dismissively replies. The difference between Sean and Mark is that Mark has not forgotten Erica. The Mephistophelean-like seduction of this scene — where the overly loud noise nearly drowns out the characters’ dialogue in the same way as in the opening scene between Mark and Erica — results in the corruption of a creative imagination into a business success story.

The movie offers the audience some empathy for Mark through Marilyn Delpy (Rashida Jones), the second year associate in the law firm defending Mark in the two lawsuits. Largely silent, she observes all of the depositions and listens to all of the testimony of the players in the Facebook story.  Indeed, Sorkin has commented that she is a stand-in for the audience.[3] The only young person in the room besides Mark, the Winkelvosses and Eduardo, she is genuinely amazed at the 22,000 hits to Mark’s Facemash site and can laugh at the chicken story in which Eduardo is accused of animal cruelty. The conscience of the movie, her face shows the horror she feels on hearing how Mark duped his only — and trusting — friend Eduardo into signing documents which diluted Eduardo’s shares in Facebook to virtually nothing. While Marilyn declines in the movie’s last scene Mark’s offer to get something to eat, she seemingly offers him the partial comfort of qualifying Erica’s comment in the movie’s first scene that Mark will be disliked not because he is a nerd but simply because he is an asshole. In her view, Mark is instead “just trying so hard to be an asshole.” Clearly in that context, the principle asshole is Sean Parker. He is the entrepreneur who inspires Mark to print up “I’m CEO, Bitch” business cards, which make explicit the misogyny of these adolescent males. Thus, Mark tells Marilyn that he was “drunk and angry and stupid,” even as he begins refreshing on his computer his request to “friend” Erica.

Yet the movie remains disquieting and unsettling even as we come to understand Mark. While qualifying Erica’s comment, Marilyn, too, leaves Mark alone — in the large law firm conference room. And Mark’s conduct is legally punished only by a large fine comparable to a “speeding ticket,” to quote Marilyn’s comment, so that he becomes the world’s youngest billionaire. The lawyers will have their steak dinner following the day-long depositions which have been about events that have been the story of this movie, will return that evening to explain to Mark why he must settle, and will then draft settlement papers and reach terms which will provide no sense of justice to cure the wrongs that have been committed throughout the film. Cash will exchange hands, but friendships have been lost and the possibility, howsoever remote, of an adult relationship between Mark and Erica is foreclosed.

In this respect, a movie about the failure of one individual also reflects the historical failure of a culture. If the opening scene between Erica and Mark explains Mark’s personal failing, the scene with Larry Summers (Douglas Urbanski),[4] the president of Harvard, explains how that failing reflects the collective failing in which Mark is himself but a bit player, notwithstanding — or perhaps because of — his commercial success.

The Winkelvoss twins set up the context in which Mark’s success represents the new historical order of business. His repeated attacks on them — “If you guys were the inventors of Facebook, you’d have invented Facebook” and “I think that if your clients want to sit on my shoulders and call themselves tall, they have the right to give it a try” — comes with an understanding that his success represents an historical change — “They’re suing me because for the first time in their lives things didn’t work out exactly the way they were supposed to.”  A stand-in for “old Harvard” — white, Protestant, moneyed, athletically strong and competitive — the Winkelvosses are both on the crew team and members of one of the final clubs. They maintain an historically quaint sense that the world entitles them to a life which, in their self-serving view, is fundamentally fair. They may exclude others from their club or neglect or even abuse women. For example, they never bother to ask whether their girlfriends were hurt by Mark’s Facemash site and belong to a club which brings in women by the busload for their personal entertainment. Nevertheless,  “these gentlemen of Harvard” believe in a certain code of behavior.  That code is embodied in the Harvard student handbook, which one of them dubs “Harvard law.”

But that “Harvard law,” as Harvard’s president makes clear in his meeting with the Winkelvoss twins, no longer exists in the contemporary world defined by the Mark Zuckerbergs and Facebook. The building in which the meeting occurs is 100 years older than the US republic, as the president’s secretary pointedly tells the twins, thereby lending an historical gravitas to this meeting. Yet immediately we see that the Winkelvoss’ trust in “Harvard law” is misplaced. For example, the president’s secretary makes cautionary note about the near sanctity of the chairs in which the Winkelvoss sit; her words, however, cannot help but remind us of Mark’s differing view — that no one can own the rights to all chairs simply because he or she was the first to invent the design of a particular chair. At the meeting, President Larry Summers, who touts his knowledge as the former Secretary of the U.S. Treasury, immediately mocks the Winkelvosses as students who have come to sell a Brooks Brothers clothing franchise. In an exchange of words nearly as fast as Mark’s opening one with Erica, Summers brushes aside their reliance on “Harvard law,” disclaiming any responsibility on the part of Harvard to intervene. He suggests that they come up with a new idea and ultimately informs them that their recourse is to be found in the anonymity of the court system, which comes to occupy the film through the depositions recounting the story of Facebook. Indeed, Summers pointedly deflects their question about knowing the difference between right and wrong, and he ironically ends the meeting by accusing them of abusing their position by the very arrangement of the meeting through their father. “Anne, punch me,” Summers tells his assistant, the same term used by the final clubs in admitting new members.

Larry Summers, like Mark Zuckerberg, is himself the president of a final club, namely Harvard University. Harvard and Facebook are alike in that they both tout their self-serving exclusivity and both impose an isolation on their presidents, placing them in socially acceptable “panic rooms.” There is no “Harvard law,” only a social Darwinism in which all the spoils go to the winner. As Eduardo later observes in despair to Mark as their friendship deteriorates and in a reference to Sean Parker’s earlier speech about success as consisting of catching the huge marlin, “Don’t fish eat other fish?” The successful individual feeds on others in order to achieve the success of a presidency. Cannibalism is each individual’s “unalienable right.” 

President Summers' rejection of the Winkelvoss' petition is but one way in which the plot indicates the shifting definition of fairness. For example, the Winkelvoss twins later accept as fair the results by which they lose the Royal Regatta at Henley, but their loss is dismissed by Prince Albert, an insider to an older, still more exclusive club to which they do not belong. In a similar way we see the helplessness of the Winkelvoss' father in the face of a changing world. He has his in-house lawyer send a useless "cease and desist" letter, which Mark readily answers with the assistance of a third-year, Harvard law student. The elder Winkelvoss is still later at a loss for words when the family learns that Facebook has expanded to England so that the twins' loss at Henley has already been broadcast over Facebook.

Historical context defines fairness, and only Napster’s Sean Parker seems aware of the latest shift in values, repeatedly announcing that “it’s our time.” Symbolically, the sponsoring logo to the Winkelvoss’ crew boat is the Polaroid logo, a once premiere, Boston-based company which failed to keep pace with the progressive advances of technology. Ironically, as we learn through the end credits, the Winkelvoss twins eventually placed sixth in the Olympics then held in China, the very country in which there are more genius IQs than there are people in the United States. Mark’s $65 million settlement check to the Winkelvoss twins is indeed only a “speeding ticket” for what in 2010 was a $25 billion business. Mark’s success represents an historical change in which “old Harvard” and its sense of fairness has been rendered as irrelevant as Prince Albert, whom the Winkelvosses mock, because his country, Monaco, is the size of Rhode Island. The athletic Winkelvoss twins have themselves been outsized.

If Mark represents the future and the Winkelvosses the past, then Eduardo represents the present torn between the two and the moral center of the film. His connections with Mark are obvious. He is Mark’s friend. He is the only person who expresses concern about Mark’s breakup with Erica (which Mark seemingly ignores) and later ironically tells the Facebook lawyers that Mark needs to be protected (even as those lawyer on behalf of Mark are having Eduardo sign corporate papers which will lead to Eduardo’s disenfranchisement from Facebook). He is also the technologically savvy student whose algorithm enables Mark to set up the Facemash site, eventually resulting in Mark’s introduction to the Winkelvoss twins who disclose to him the idea for the “Harvard connection.”  Not incidentally, Eduardo is also the person who suggests to Mark that Facebook needs to expand not only to Yale and Columbia, as proposed by Mark, but also to Stanford. He thereby advances the interests of his friend Mark but also dooms himself in the process, since it is through that California connection that Sean Parker learns of Facebook, inevitably leading to Eduardo’s being forced out.

Eduardo, however, is also not Mark. He is not so “plugged in” as Mark, evidenced by his lack of enchantment with the supposedly visionary Sean Parker, with whom Mark wholly identifies, and also by his admitted inability to change his relationship status on Facebook, an admission he makes to his then-paranoid girlfriend. Thus, Eduardo is also, in part, “old Harvard” and, as such, connected to the Winkelvoss twins and their world. He acknowledges his desire to become a member of one of the final clubs, and the obsessive development by Mark of Facebook is paralled by Eduardo’s obsessive steps in becoming accepted by, and his gradual induction into, one such final club, the Phoenix Club. Tellingly, the two narratives converge when Mark prevails upon Eduardo to disclose to Mark the members of the Phoenix Club so that Mark can launch Facebook through the email addresses of those members. Of course, Mark has only contempt for a club from which he has been excluded, mocking the email address of the Phoenix Club’s president and its reference to Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass.

That parallel is made explicit in other ways. For example, as a result of his seeking admission to the Phoenix Club, Eduardo is accused of an animal rights violation by supposedly torturing a chicken, namely feeding chicken meat to a chicken. That story, in turn, leads to the revelation of how Mark used Facebook to find answers for his art history essay. Our sympathies in this instance are wholly with Eduardo. The young law associate, Marilyn Delpy, laughs at the silliness of the chicken episode, which the Harvard Crimson wrote about (implicitly at Mark’s instigation) and which thereby embarrassed Eduardo in the eyes of his father. On the other hand, Mark’s use of Facebook to find answers for his art class essay is not excused by any such laughter and is thereby acknowledged for what it is — cheating. Until he accidently found the Winkelvoss’ cease and desist letter in Mark’s dorm room, Eduardo knew nothing about the Winkelvoss’ “Harvard connection” idea, an idea which Mark consistently has disdained because he copied none of their code and hence, in his view, violated no laws. 

Indeed, that intellectual property law, which is repeatedly referred to by each of the characters, would likely not recognize the Winkelvoss’ contribution for what was merely an “idea.” As Mark correctly observes — echoed in Fincher’s commentary to the movie — no one can own the rights to the concept of a “chair.” Nevertheless, it is Eduardo who understands that law and morality are not one and the same. The former is based on logic, codes, while latter is based on relationships, emotion. While Sean Parker introduces Mark to venture capitalists for whom Facebook is merely a vehicle for making money, without emotional content, Eduardo lends his own money to Mark out of friendship, which Mark himself acknowledges in explaining why he chose to accept his money rather than from the Winkelvoss family. Eduardo also tries to “monetize” the Facebook site through old school advertisers for whom there are real products. That Fincher cast Sorkin to play one such advertising executive expresses Fincher’s view as to where Sorkin’s sympathies lie. Sorkin harks back to a United States which once made products, such as railroads — and which today might still make products, such as solar panels — rather than primarily engage in the financial wizardry of hedge funds and the virtual realities of Internet communications through Facebook. The connection for Eduardo between relationships and morality is symbolized by his emotionally driven decision to freeze Facebook’s funds and his confession to Mark that he did so in order to gain Mark’s attention.

While money is of no importance to Mark other than for the social notoriety it provides, relationships are equally of no importance to Mark. They are only social currency providing entry into an exclusive final club where he will be the president. Thus, in response to Eduardo’s confession about his anger and need to gain his friend’s attention, Mark retaliates by claiming that he needs his CFO, coldly inviting Eduardo to Facebook’s new offices; there he “ambushes” Mark through both the company’s lawyers and Sean Parker. In fact, Fincher has commented with approval on Mark’s need to discard his Harvard roommates, such as Eduardo, if Facebook is to achieve its creative potential. Such words express where Fincher’s sympathies lie. Fincher applauds the members of the “millennial generation” in the United States for whom virtual communications render individual success emotionally removed; hence making it becomes less problematic even when one’s personal success hurts others. 

In the confrontational scene between Mark and Eduardo at the Facebook offices, in which the same “hauntingly quiet” music plays as under the movie’s opening credits, Mark is dressed in his “fuck-you” flip-flops and hoodie while Eduardo is dressed in black. Mark is the street kid from The Wire with his new electronic toy which will make him billions while addicting its millions of members (“freakishly addictive” to quote the Stanford student’s observation to Sean Parker). In contrast to Eduardo (and the Winkelvosses), Mark is the fatherless adolescent and remains always in rebellion against the “adult” world. Eduardo is the Johnny Cash-like figure in black, the rebel of an earlier generation who eventually grew up and became known as husband and father to other country western singers.

Erica rejects Mark for his immaturity, his inability to sustain a genuine relationship with anyone. In contrast to her scene with Mark at a local club in which she wears the classic, black beret, the stereotypical image of a young woman in rebellion, she appears on Facebook in the final scene as an older woman who has outgrown her adolescent self.  While Fincher has commented that Erica is not the love of Mark’s life, Sorkin in contrast describes as heart-breaking the movie’s opening scene. Angry at her rejection of him, Mark tells Erica in the opening scene, “I don’t want friends,” and she replies, “I have no intention of being friends with you.” The scripted, final shot of the movie returns, however, to the image of Erica on Facebook as an adult and Mark’s futile quest to friend her, which Sorkin has compared to the nearly final shot in Citizen Kane and its disclosure as to the meaning of  “rosebud.”[5]  

At the end of the film, Mark’s quest to achieve and his commercial success have inevitably led to his being alone in the large conference room of his adult lawyers. The last image of the inventor of Facebook shows him addictively refreshing his computer trying to “friend” Erica. The patriarchal and exclusionary world embodied by the Winkelvoss twins has been overridden by technology, which makes winners of those with the brains to imagine and implement the demands of the many. Bill Gates and now Mark Zuckerberg are our robber barons. In place of a sexist and ethnically determined society, ours is a far more democratic and merit-based world. Yet it is also a world with little or no moral compass other than the degree of notoriety captured by those who succeed. It moves ahead without regard for the consequences to the many and fosters “relationships” consisting of only immediate connections without any depth, let alone caring.

The personal is political, but it is also now the case that the private is public. That Facebook has routinely captured data on its members — and that its members accede to that — suggests how far the world has come in monetizing people. The movie expresses little sympathy for the Winkelvoss family, except as historic relics. It ultimately condemns Mark Zuckerberg, mourning his failings, including his continued adolescent state and self-love.  The movie expresses sympathy for Eduardo, the one character who cares about others. However, he is rewarded by betrayal by his closest friend. In that context, Eduardo’s settlement consisting of a listing on a masthead and an undisclosed sum of money is an afterthought of the end credits. The movie’s bleakness resides in its sense of waste and lost opportunities. That the characters’ story is told through deposition transcripts is apt in a world in which, as Sean Parker foresees, having lived on farms and then in cities, we will now live on the Internet, though alone with our “social networks.”

Notes

1. http://boss.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/18/deciding-to-hire-a-170000-consultant/. [return to text]

2. F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby (1925), Scribner Paperback Fiction, 1995 edition, published by Simon & Schuster, at page 189.

3. Unless otherwise noted, this and all other comments by David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin are from the commentary accompanying the 2011 DVD release of The Social Network.

4. Tellingly, Fincher describes Douglas Urbanski in his commentary as a talent manager, identifying the actor Gary Oldman as one such talent. In contrast, Sorkin describes Ubanski as a conservative radio commentator who has filled in on occasion for Rush Limbaugh.

5. Sight and Sound, January 2011, Aaron Sorkin in Conversation by Joe Fraser,   
http://www.bfi.org.uk/sightandsound/reviews/specials/aaron-sorkin-jan-2011.php.
The complete interview of Sorkin by Francine Stock may be found at
http://www.bfi.org.uk/live/video/580
.

Mark Zuckerberg's obsessive attempt to friend Erica is also reminiscent of the speech in Citizen Kane by the solitary Mr. Bernstein about the girl in a white dress he saw for a moment in 1896 on a Jersey ferry: "I'll bet a moment hasn't gone by since that I haven't thought of that girl."


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