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January 02, 2011


Not a movie I am likely to see.

I like history that is actually history. I can see how a documenatry on how Facebook was actually designed and how it coautght on and its impact so far..but I don't see the point in a fictionalized version of the story.

BTW I like Facebook. I have in fact connected with old freeinds. I like the way it gives me a chance to chat informally with peoplew I don't interact with otherwise. my sister anbd I excnage little comments almost daily, for example.

Also I am freinds with a number of animal rescues and particpate in rescues all over the US. Just a week or so ago I "chipped in" to pay the transportation cost to move a dog from a state where she had been abuse to a new home three staes away. I support Stry Rescue of St Louis, Missouri Pitbull Rescue and Old Dog Haven., I enjoy gettingupdaes on their activities.

They look at celebrities, admit that they can't know what these people are "really" like or what "really" goes on in their heads, and use them almost as action figures to tell the stories they feel like telling.

This basically sums up why I highly dislike "based on a true story" movies, not to mention many film adaptations of other media. Namely, there are a certain sort of stories that filmmakers "enjoy" telling-- that is, there are stories that they, personally, think are meaningful and film-worthy -- and so other stories, real or fictional, will be fitted to a procrustean bed of the stories they want. And, really, I'm actually more interested in the origins of facebook than I am in watching Aaron Sorkin explore the thematic issues he's interested in.

That said, I'm going to see The Social Network at some point soon because a very pretty woman I know saw it and liked it, and I want to be able to impress her with my thoughts on the movie. Which may well prove Sorkin's point.

I actually agree that The Social Network is a disappointing film and that the "deeper" truth it goes for is pretty shallow, but complaints about accuracy remind me a bit of Plato attacking the poets for lying and I would counter by saying "hey, it's just a movie".

"Citizen Kane" is a much better film, to my mind one of the best ever, but shares many of the problems mentioned. Hearst tried everything to suppress and even destroy it, and had he had access to UK or German libel law today, he might even have succeeded.

I find those laws much more worrying than writers taking liberties with the truth.

There's a post about Andrew Olmsted at the top of the ObWi Main Page.

It's currently not listed on the sidebar due to the idiosyncracies of Typepad, and as explained in the comment below this post about Andrew Olmsted.

I hope people will read it and comment.

My apologies for being off-topic on Doctor Science's thread to point out to people that the Andrew Olmsted post is not listed on the sidebar, and won't be seen by commenters looking only at the sidebar.

Thanks for understanding.

I actually saw this movie Saturday. While I am entrenched in the tech world (BD, not code) and have been a user of LinkedIn since its inception, I have not been a Facebooker and knew little of MZ's personal history, or that of the company beyond its beginnings at Universities. No clue Parker was involved. It was an entertaining 2 hours, but could have been Netflixed.

I'm with Tyro on this and indeed, it was just a movie. But, I'll remember the liberties taken by those involved and apply that standard to all of their work, fiction or not...

Having said that, I've actually begun only seeing films in theaters that I think a) will provide interesting conversation in the near future and thus must be seen fairly quickly after release, or, b)benefit from a big screen and good sound (although the sound in a theater is not soo much better than my home system, while size definitely matters on the screen, and perhaps a better quality of darkness).

Of movies I've seen in the past quarter: True Grit, I'm glad to have seen in a theater both for its cinematic quality and its value as a step past "How was your holiday?". The Social Network, not so much. It had (or would have had) the immediacy benefit, but did not require a theater.

On the other hand, I did not see The Day The Earth Stood Still in a theater (seeing it for the first time on a cable channel yesterday), but it certainly would have benefited from one while I don't recall missing out on any conversations for not having seen it quickly. It was OK but did not pass the "I'd rather have seen any of about 20 other movies for a 10th time" test.


[...] In a nutshell: The Social Network uses some historical documents, but it's not a documentary; it references historical events, but it's not historical fiction. It's in the genre known as RPF, for Real Person Fic -- along with, say, The Beatles' movies, especially A Hard Day's Night.
Difference between "historical fiction" and "Real Person Fiction"?

Ditto RPF and "fiction"?


[...] There have always been stories about "real people" and their sex lives, from Homer to Shakespeare, Murasaki Shikibu (The Tale of Genjii), Sir Walter Scott, and Thomas Pynchon. Most published historical fiction include real people as main and/or secondary characters.
Distinction is?
[...] And that's exactly what Sorkin did in "The Social Network": kept the details of names, education, clothing, location, and used the Real People action figures to tell an Aaron Sorkin story.
This differs from "fiction" how?

I've worked on plenty of fiction about real people, I can talk about the history of fanfiction since 1930, and I'm not understanding the distinction you're making.

[...] But once you start looking at the historical record, Sorkin's picture doesn't seem to reflect Facebook or the real Mark Zuckerberg.
It's fiction. Fiction isn't true.

(That "nonfiction" and "truth" are also not remotely identical, is relevant, but digressive.)

233 words. (As counted by computer, which is completely different from professional word counting, btw.)


When people like Roger Ebert call "The Social Network" one of the year's 10 best films, I don't even know if they're seeing the same movie I'm seeing.
They're not.

Art As Experience.

Each of us always has a subjective aesthetic experience.

And each time we revisit the same work, we bring our new self.

Let alone that different people see the same work differently: how could it be otherwise, absent access to Platonic reality?


complaints about accuracy remind me a bit of Plato attacking the poets for lying and I would counter by saying "hey, it's just a movie".

What is this "just a movie" of which you speak? It's "only" our culture, it's "only" what lives inside people's heads.

Plato attacked poets for lying because poetry *works*. People remember poetry -- including movies -- more vividly than they do mere history. "The Social Network"'s version of the founding of FaceBook will, I predict, over-write more historically-accurate versions to a statistically complete degree.


Difference between "historical fiction" and "Real Person Fiction"?

Ditto RPF and "fiction"?

RPF is of course a subsest of fiction.

The difference between RPF and "historical fiction" is that HF doesn't admit upfront that they're playing with action figures. A lot of "historical fiction" and "based on a true story" really *is* RPF, in its techniques and emphases. They just don't usually *admit* what they're doing, and how much they're using historical figures as toys, action figures, paper dolls, whatever.

The ones that *do* admit it generally, like Sorkin, get all superior with their artistic vision and specialness, denying their natural affinity with star-struck teenage girls.

"Based on a true story" works -- like "The Social Network" -- often don't even admit upfront that they're *fiction*, they want to have the gloss of history.

By "it's just a movie" I meant something along the lines of "don't believe everything you read in the papers" - it's not the fault of the arts if people don't possess a minimum amount of media competency and take everything they see on screen or read in a book as unfiltered reality - there are literally thousands of examples of artists taking liberty with the "truth", it simply lies in the nature of the medium and complaining about that is a category mistake. And even seemingly more objective forms, such as biography, historiography or documentary, are generally structured as narratives and represent a certain point of view. So if one is interested in historical truth there is never any one source that will fully satisfy objective criteria. And if one is interested primarily in works of art, historical truth doesn't really matter all that much.

The film "Network" was fiction based on Paddy Chayefsky's observations about broadcast news in the 1970s.

Now, in 2010, I consider it to be an accurate, but not sufficiently alarmist documentary about the future ... otherwise referred to as today.

H.G. Wells wrote fiction. Or did he?

"Doctor Strangelove" was a fictional parody about a certain mindset in the American military post World War II. However the people being parodied thought it was how-to-behave documentary, got married, and had children and grandchildren who grew up to be today's House of Representatives and to post and comment at Redrum.

"JFK" was a fictional movie account of the John F. Kennedy assassination. But it was a factual documentary about a certain species of paranoia that infects America from time to time.

Or was it the reverse?

No one can prove to me that the original "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" starring Kevin McCarthy was fiction.

It's absolutely true. It's every bit as much of a documentary as

Take a look around. I'm on the hood of your car, shouting frantically that "they are here" and "they are coming".

But, carry on. Drop me at the nearest psych ward and don't check the trunk of your car or the basement.

This argument reminds me of story where someone supposedly came up to Picasso and ridiculed the portrait of his lover and said that it didn't look anything like Dora Maar. Picasso asked if the man had some picture of a loved one and he pulled out a photo of his wife and said 'You see this?That is what my wife looks like!' Picasso looked at it and said 'your wife has an incredibly small head...'


it's not the fault of the arts if people don't possess a minimum amount of media competency and take everything they see on screen or read in a book as unfiltered reality

hmmmm, I'm not sure about that, because part of "the arts" is the way they're presented. Art (in general) is an education: it teaches one how to see and understand. Part of the reason there's a generally low level of media competancy is because moviemakers want, play to and cultivate a credulous, uncritical, "it's only a movie" audience.

RPF writers are part of a community that knows and acknowledges and discusses how their stories relate to reality. They are not, generally speaking, geniuses like Aaron Sorkin -- but they expect more from their audience, and their audience expect more from them -- or at least fights more about it. Sorkin proved when he went to TWOP that he can't actually deal with an audience with high standards, and which expected high standards from him.

When *Roger Ebert* is looking at a movie without the level of media competance I expect from intelligent RPF fans, it *is* the fault of "the arts", or at least of the movie-making community. You can't blame incompetant viewers for problem Ebert shares.

It sounds like a lot of you had a lot of late night bull sessions in art school with your friends talking about how deep "The Treachery of Images" is.

When a movie about Facebook with the characters and places that were the actual founders of Facebook, I expect it to be about the founding of Facebook, not "Aaron Sorkin's meditation on misogyny in software development" especially if that didn't actually happen and especially if the actual events are not what Sorkin's vision wanted to convey. trying to dodge this with, "well, all representations are just made up representations" is just sophistry.

Go and watch a documentary then, Tyro - oh wait, they tend to have a perspective, an agenda, a bias, a dramatic arc, they emphasize certain facts, deemphazise others - Errol Morris is pretty good at describing all this.

I wouldn't read Shakespeare's historical dramas to find out about history, but because I want to know what Shakespeare did with it. I wouldn't watch "Citizen Kane" to find out more about Hearst, but to appreciate Welles' thoughts and art. And I hear the real Carlos isn't happy with "Carlos", but it's still a great film.

Facebook profiles themselves have a perspective, an agenda, a bias, a dramatic arc, they emphasize certain facts, deemphasize others.

I'd sooner trust Lawrence Olivier's performance of Richard III than Richard the III's documentary profile of himself on Facebook or Linkedin, were he able, what with the photograph that hid the hump and the gnarled hand, and the business profile that neglected to mention the, um, unethical manner in which he gained promotion on the corporate ladder.

All of those vice-presidents mysteriously resigning and disappearing?

If he didn't have a hump and a gnarled hand
historically, well then he was crippled inside, which makes Olivier's metaphor so much more, what's the word ..... true.

Besides, if Zuckerberg's public pronouncements about the era of privacy being over are to be taken at face value, surely he can handle unimportant crap becoming his public story just as any random 23-year old woman has had to handle not getting a job or being denied entrance to a graduate degree because of one stinking photograph naively placed on her Facebook profile of her drunkenly lifting her shirt on the high school senior field trip to wherever.

Come to think of it, a movie combining the plot and characterizations of Richard III and his peers AND Mark Zuckerberg's founding of Facebook might be enlightening.

I wonder what Hamlet's Facebook profile would tell us, what with all of the indecisiveness?

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