It's Oscar time, and so it's as good a time as any to revisit the year's best (according to the Academy) movies of the year. One of this year's Best Picture nominations is the much-talked-about The Social Network.
As you, the reader, probably already know, The Social Network is about Facebook. Facebook is a social networking site that was launched in 2004, the same year that Green Day confused 13-year-old Spencer Smiths with its offensive/actually satiric lyrics.
For six years we used Facebook without a movie to tell us how we were supposed to use it. And then Aaron Sorkin and David Fincher fixed that - which is good because the whole poke thing was eluding me.
The Social Network is kind of like our generation's Pac-Man Fever (the song written about Pac-Man in the '80s). It's a fiction about a fiction. The only difference being that Facebook is a fiction that we actually believe is real (I don't think anyone was running around worrying about multi-colored ghosts in the '80s.)
That's the appeal of The Social Network, too. Is it real? Is it made up? Is it Hollywood? Certainly. Is it any different than what we do on Facebook? I don't think so.
Jesse Eisenberg is not Mark Zuckerberg just as I am not my Facebook profile. But Jesse Eisenberg and the movie represent Zuckerberg and the website just like my profile represents me.
We, as a generation, love to fictionalize things. It was only a matter of time before this process turned on one of the greatest vehicles of fictionalization - namely, Facebook.
Most Facebook users are skilled fictionalizers. If we are trying to get a job, we clean up our profile, detagging ourselves from less-than-flattering pictures and defriending all of the one-night stands that continue to creepily comment on our pictures.
If we are trying to fit into a new group of friends, we might start posting different things. We might start dramatizing our weekends. More fights, more drunken stupidity.
In the end, though, Facebook never really captures who we are. It's the same with The Social Network. It's silly to worry about whether it accurately depicts the formation of the website. It doesn't. No one thinks so.
However, Facebook and The Social Network do reflect something chillingly accurate about who we are as a young nation. We don't seem to care about reality. We want drama and popularity and 500 (million) friends.
Sorkin and Fincher created a world in which everyone always says the smart or funny thing; a world in which everyone is beautiful; a world in which everyone is having fun; a world in which it never really seems as if living is work. In a sense, they created a Facebook because everyone knew that what Facebook was really missing was a profile for itself.
And now they are about to win a bunch of awards for it - something Pac-Man Fever never did.
Spencer Smith is a sophomore studying philosophy and English, and a columnist for The Post. How did Zuckerberg get a girlfriend? Send Spencer your guesses at firstname.lastname@example.org.