November 24, 2013 by The Friday Facts
Sometime in the early 2000s, Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg and a bunch of his pants-wetting, asthmatic (and now-billionaire) mates came up with a thing called Facemash, a closed-network website within Harvard in which they publicly uploaded pictures of the faces of female students, side-by-side, so that viewers could compare them and choose who was “hot” and who was “not”. With some tweaks, Facemash turned into Facebook and that became a thing.
So sweet to know that these are the kind of people who become billionaires in today’s society.
Anyway, the point is that someone took the story to Hollywood and that led to the David Fincher/Aaron Sorkin flick The Social Network and that also became a thing.
One of the most impressive aspects of this movie is that is takes the most spectacularly un-cinematic concept – a bunch of socially awkward, unattractive nerds sitting around a computer creating algorithms by pressing buttons in a specific formation that the rest of us don’t understand – and turned it into something surprisingly compelling.
This scene shows us the birth of Facemash. Jesse Eisenberg’s Mark Zuckerberg demonstrates how he busted his way past the security setups of all the houses of Harvard U so that pimply, concave-chested young men can decide which women they might like to have sex with and which ones they wouldn’t, all the while blissfully ignoring the fact that if any of these women – “hot” or “not”- flicked even a casual smile in their general direction, they would have a panic attack and curl up into the foetal position.
This is not exactly the clip I was looking for. For one, it’s in English and has English subtitles. Also, there are some fairly jarring jump cuts. Still….
It’s a compelling moment in a unique film because, regardless of how much artistic license (or even out-and-out bullshit) was involved in the making of this movie, I’m pretty sure that even Zuckerberg’s biggest fans would have difficulty denying that he got his break as a sexist prick.
Given the almost heroic hitherto failure of me and Sonny’s re-enactments in this blog, I thought we’d try something different this time: method acting.
If Sonny was going to re-enact this scene I wanted him to drink of this scene; immerse himself in it. I didn’t want him to imitate Mark Zuckerberg, I wanted him to become Mark Zuckerberg.
In this spirit, I went ahead and popped Sonny’s name down for Computer Science at Harvard and cozied up to the Alpha Epsilon Pi crowd. I also demanded that he wear a round-the-clock hoodie and even permed his (admittedly already perming) hair. We also staged mock press conferences where I forced him to fend off rapid-fire media suggestions that he was a total fucking douche. He stood up pretty well to those. It was a fairly labour-intensive way of preparing for a minute long re-enactment, but if it’s good enough for pretty much every pretentious a-lister kicking around Hollywood right now, it’s good enough for Sonny. Let’s see how he did….
At the risk of sounding smug, I’m just going to go ahead and say that my son owned the shit out of this re-enactment. A particularly harsh critic might argue that his intensity waned slightly somewhere between the Lowell House username/password combo and the breaking out of Emacs and modifying Perl scripts for Leverette House, but that would be knit-picking.
Fitting in with the hot or not theme, it seems accidentally appropriate that those two faces that featured so prominently on the desktop in front of Sonny belonged to Sonny himself and the guy that calls himself Sonny’s dad. Now, the last thing I want to do is pressure anyone into some kind of ‘hot or not’ voting situation for this blog. But, for what it’s worth, the number for Sonny’s dad is 1800 25234. The number for Sonny is, as of press time, not known.
Of his decision to work with Australian director Andrew Dominik on The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, I once heard Brad Pitt remark “I thought (Dominik’s breakthrough hit)Chopper was good. Mean Streets good. And I thought (Eric) Bana was great. De Niro great.” I don’t think it’s unrealistic for me to hope to one day hear someone of Pitt’s calibre talk about Sonny’s Social Network turn in the same vain. I hope to walk past a cafe one day and overhear someone saying “Sonny was good. Eisenberg good.”
Point of interest: if you watch Sonny’s fingers closely at the beginning of this clip, you’ll see that he’s using the exact same formula that the News of the World so infamously used to hack into all those mobile phones a while back: hitting that weird Apple command sign repeatedly for a while before smashing the space bar over and over again.
Do Not Pass Go
Watching this video, I find it more than a little unsettling to know that while I’m at work providing for my wife and child, she’s at home encouraging our son to wipe my computer, all in the name of the same ‘adorable-ness’ that buys him more get out of jail cards than I care to mention. If it weren’t for the fact that she was too ig’nant to know the control>alt>delete doesn’t apply to Macs, I could have well be in serious trouble there.
Note that, at one point, his maniacal pressing of random buttons manages to bring up a window, which then disappears and re-appears several times. That’s actually the Pentagon’s intranet. Fucked if I know how he did it, but the guy’s a genius. To be honest, I’m just happy it wasn’t the browsing history window.
Looking at this video, there’s no doubt that my son has a happy future. The question is whether it’s as a hacker, an actor or the inventor of a game-changing social network.