I think about a world to come where the books were found by the golden ones, written in pain, written in awe by a puzzled man who questioned, "What are we here for?" All the strangers came today and it looks as though they're here to stay.

-David Bowie "Oh! You Pretty Things"

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Social Network (2010)

I remember hearing a friend of mine repeatedly say, "I refuse to see a movie about Facebook," and whenever he repeated these words they sounded like a moral stance. The subtext was obvious: "Nobody should see this movie. Why would anyone want to see The Social Network?"

I'll admit that I had some issues with the pacing of this film, but in the end it was one of those important movies that speaks to the zeitgeist of our time. I remember when Facebook was only available to select colleges, and my friend Becky, then a student at Central Michigan University wanted me to be her "friend." "We're already friends," I thought, but I signed up for an account anyways. Today, you're a social outcast if you're not on the social network. People don't buy web sites anymore. Even famous celebrities and bands will sometimes have either a Facebook page or a blog instead of a home page. For better or worse, Facebook has taken up more of the public consciousness of the United States of America than any other one thing.

The film The Social Network merely gives us the other side of the story, the part that we didn't know we were taking part in. It tells us about the motives behind this juggernaut, this behemoth that has taken over our lives. It commemorates the events that lead to our hypnosis.

There is a strong part of me, the part that is familiar with Buddhist teachings, that believes that Facebook is something that I need to be liberated from. It is something that keeps my consciousness from devoting itself to better and more important things. But if that ever happens I want it to happen as a result of understanding rather than ignorance.

I'm not going to blame The Social Network. It was a fantastic film with great performances by that geeky guy, the guy from N'Sync and future-Spider-man. If there's anyone to blame for my dependence on Facebook, it's me.

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