Sunday, October 10, 2010

Aaron Sorkin responds to a commenter in my blog

Many thanks to Aaron Sorkin for graciously responding to a commenter on my review of SOCIAL NETWORK.  Having Aaron Sorkin contribute to your blog is like having Vin Scully agree to call your Little League game.    He posted in the comments section but I think it's worthy of its own post.  He responds to a reader named Tarazza.  Here's her comment followed by his.  Again, many thanks Aaron. And you too, Tarazza.


Tarazza


I love your blog!!


I also loved The Social Network, except for one thing-- the lack of a decent portrayal of women. With the exception of 1 or 2 of them (Rashida Jones included), they were basically sex objects/stupid groupies. Even what you say here:
Jesse Eisenberg is what Michael Cera aspires to be. Justin Timberlake continues to be the most talented STAR SEARCH winner ever, And Rashida Jones is just great to look at.


... kinda makes me think that Aaron Sorkin (though I love his writing) failed the women in this script. Kind of a shame considering he's written great women characters like C.J. Cregg!


This is Aaron Sorkin and I wanted to address Taraza's comment. (Ken, I'll get to you in and your very generous blog post in just a moment.

Tarazza--believe me, I get it. It's not hard to understand how bright women could be appalled by what they saw in the movie but you have to understand that that was the very specific world I was writing about. Women are both prizes an equal. Mark's blogging that we hear in voiceover as he drinks, hacks, creates Facemash and dreams of the kind of party he's sure he's missing, came directly from Mark's blog. With the exception of doing some cuts and tightening (and I can promise you that nothing that I cut would have changed your perception of the people or the trajectory of the story by even an inch) I used Mark's blog verbatim. Mark said, "Erica Albright's a bitch" (Erica isn't her real name--I changed three names in the movie when there was no need to embarrass anyone further), "Do you think that's because all B.U. girls are bitches?" Facebook was born during a night of incredibly misogyny. The idea of comparing women to farm animals, and then to each other, based on their looks and then publicly ranking them. It was a revenge stunt, aimed first at the woman who'd most recently broke his heart (who should get some kind of medal for not breaking his head) and then at the entire female population of Harvard.

More generally, I was writing about a very angry and deeply misogynistic group of people. These aren't the cuddly nerds we made movies about in the 80's. They're very angry that the cheerleader still wants to go out with the quarterback instead of the men (boys) who are running the universe right now. The women they surround themselves with aren't women who challenge them (and frankly, no woman who could challenge them would be interested in being anywhere near them.)

And this very disturbing attitude toward women isn't just confined to the guys who can't get dates.

I didn't invent the "F--k Truck", it's real--and the men (boys) at the final clubs think it's what they deserve for being who they are. (It's only fair to note that the women--bussed in from other schools for the "hot" parties, wait on line to get on that bus without anyone pointing guns at their heads.)

These women--whether it's the girls who are happy to take their clothes off and dance for the boys or Eduardo's psycho-girlfriend are real. I mean REALLY real. (In the case of Christy, Eduardo's girlfriend so beautifully played by Brenda Song, I conflated two characters--again I hope you'll trust me that doing that did nothing to alter our take on the events. Christy was the second of three characters whose name I changed.)

I invented two characters--one was Rashida Jones's "Marylin", the youngest lawyer on the team and a far cry from the other women we see in the movie. She's plainly serious, competent and, when asked, has no problem speaking the truth as she sees it to Mark. The other was Gretchen, Eduardo's lawyer (in reality there was a large team of litigators who all took turns deposing witnesses but I wanted us to become familiar with just one person--a woman, who, again, is nobody's trophy.

And Rooney Mara's Erica's a class act.

I wish I could go door to door and make this explanation/apology to any woman offended by the things you've pointed out but obviously that's unrealistic so I thought the least I could do was speak directly to you.

Ken--Thanks for your really nice words and for giving me a chance to apologize again for my remarks back in 2005. Obviously a star writer on one of the best comedies of all time doesn't need to prove his credentials as a "real" comedy writer.

Aaron Sorkin

117 comments:

Daniel S. said...

Thanks for sharing Mr. Sorkin's reply. I'll pass it on to anyone if they mention the female characters.

Geoff said...

Basically, "holy shit" covers it. Thanks for the added texture Aaron. The movie was masterful.

Chad said...

Wow. While Sorkin gets a crapload of grief by people mostly jealous of his fame and trophy case of awards. I've always thought he to be a class act, and this proves it. I only hope he comes back to TV soon; he's sorely missed.

Movie Don said...

Awesome! thanks Ken, thanks Aaron- you are both Gods. Aaron, you deserve the Oscar for your writing- I truly loved this film and all the way through I kept thinking how great the dialogue is- so witty, so tight. I've had a taste of this private school world and it's true that women are mostly trophies. So, is twitter next?

Elayne Boosler said...

Fantastic!

Richard Cosgrove said...

Thanks to Aaron Sorkin for this post.

It's an explanation that I'd assumed, but didn't realise the misogyny in the world that was being portrayed was so deep.

I shared it on Facebook. Expect it stay up for five minutes before it mysteriously disappears from my profile.

Emily Blake said...

It didn't bother me at all. I saw it as a reflection on the boys, not the girls.

One suggestion, though. In the sequel, there should be more gunfights and explosions.

Elspeth Antonelli said...

I've been in touch with Mr. Sorkin on and off for over a year. He IS a class act and this reply doesn't surprise me at all.

May he come back to TV soon.

Max Clarke said...

Class act, Sorkin. Great post.

The screenwriter who portrays people or classes of people negatively isn't usually personally negative at all. It's part of the storytelling.

I wasn't aware of this "hidden story" behind Facebook, most people weren't until the movie.

The tree is a manifestation of the seed. Facebook today directly connects to its origin. If these guys started Facebook for the purpose of revenge, that's relevant today.

bevo said...

I thought everyone knew about the fuck truck. Hell, I did not go to school in Massachusetts but my brother did as well as several work colleagues. Seriously? A lot of people could not even explain OPEC or who or what is the OECD. I guess I should not be surprised by either.

Anonymous said...

Who is that a picture of at the top of this post? It kind of looks like a 20-year-old Aaron Sorkin. But he's older now, although he certainly looks damn good.

DirkJohanson said...

Frankly, I find it disturbing that women have achieved such a rote intimidation of guys in our society that someone of Aaron's stature has to even bother with this type of explanation/apology.

Has anyone ever had to apologize for the incessant unflattering portrayal of characters who are straight white guys?

DavidS91 said...

I also enjoyed the Social Network very much, and truthfully, wanted to see it more for the fact that it was written by Aaron Sorkin than for the subject matter. The only thing in the movie that baffled me was I still don't understand what Zuckerberg's motivation were for his actions toward Eduardo. He made umpteen millions of dollars from Facebook, and even though money wasn't his primary motivator (as portrayed in the movie), he still was willing to let his close friend get hung out to dry without the financial rewards of what they'd jointly started.

Liz Wong said...

Amazing. Thanks for sharing as a separate post.

Liz said...

I thought the script for "The Social Network" was brilliant, and I applaud Mr. Sorkin for his work. I thought the characters were drawn superbly. But his response here seems to seek to portray the events of "The Social Network" as if it were a factual documentary with a few names changed rather than a fictionalized depiction of events.

Notably, while Mark Zuckerberg's blog entries are repeated almost verbatim (you can read them here -- http://www.scribd.com/doc/538697/Mark-Zuckerbergs-Online-Diary -- a website posted them during the ConnectU lawsuit), the scene preceding then with Mark and his girlfriend is a completely fictional construct. To my knowledge, no one knows if Jessica Alona was ever Mark's girlfriend or not. Yeah, Mark called her a bitch and proceeded to put together Facemash in the way depicted in the movie, but he never made cracks about her family name or bra size.

In relation to the female characters in the movie, the most notable female is one who is never mentioned in the movie at all: Priscilla Chan, Mark's real-life girlfriend. Mark and Priscilla have been together for years, and were dating through most of the events depicted in the movie. I would imagine her character was excluded because it would not have fit the socially inept character profile of the Mark Zuckerberg of the movie as a "guy who can't get dates."

I truly loved this movie, but I'm a little concerned to see people taking it as gospel as Facebook's "creation myth", as it were.

Mary Stella said...

I'm with Geoff. I've been traveling and am behind in my blog reading so I missed the original review blog and comments.

Come back tonight and, holy crap, Aaron Sorkin's commented to a comment. Wow.

Social Network hasn't arrived in my part of the Keys yet, but I'm going when it does.

Jose said...

The Social Network Script was such a joy to read, and I learned so much from it. It’s now easily my all-time favorite script.

The Bill Gates and Sean Parker NY schmoozing sequences were among my most favorite parts of the script. I was really blown away by how well they were crafted. I seriously want to print those pages out and hopefully someday get Mr. Sorkin to autograph them for me.

The favorite part of reading the script though, was when I go to the Michael Moritz payback scene. I couldn't believe how hard I laughed because I’m someone that rarely laughs even when I think something is funny. This sup-plot was so beautifully set-up and paid off in the script that I couldn't help but be bummed out that Sorkin’s subtle yet crucial set-up didn’t make it onto the movie so that payoff wasn’t as big.

escalante blogger said...

Wow! Aaron Sorkin was addressed through a blog post. That's great.

A_Homer said...

Great post. And this reminds me of the first days of "Inside the Actors Studio" when it was just a great surprise to have a calm hour listening to an actual professional actor discuss their craft, character etc... until it soon became another bloated vanity kiss. I love hearing authors and screenwriters discuss their work so clearly. There should be a "Inside the Authors Studio" variation, where one can watch and understand what goes on in the creation of such works.
Great blog Ken and nice to have proof these things still function! People do read!

Jeff said...

For a couple of guys who write really funny stuff, this was the least funny blog post in history.

At least end on a dick joke, guys...gosh!

Ref said...

Well done, by both of you.

Lizbeth said...

I haven't seen The Social Network yet but I have read the first 10 pages of the script...and I say this as someone who (like Ken) doesn't love everything Sorkin writes -- the opening scene blew me away. It is brilliant -- the type of scene that screenwriters are going to be studying for years.

Unfortunately, many lesser-talented hacks are going to try to copy Sorkin's style and fail miserably (the same way so many copy Tarantino)...and those scenes are going to be painful to read/watch.

But at least we'll always have Ken to write up delightfully clever parodies.

Atlanta said...

Damn, your blog got sexy, Ken!

Kathy said...

I love, love, love that people are paying attention to the screenplay of this movie. However, I do wonder why almost NO OTHER SCREENWRITERS get that much credit. Diablo Cody, sure. She's a name. But how often do you read in Entertainment Weekly about what the screenwriter did in a movie? They always refer almost exclusively to the director. They had a roundup of the "hottest screenplays in Hollywood" and didn't even say who'd written two of them! They mentioned the director and actors attached, and at that point nothing existed BUT the screenplay! Is there a chance that this movie might change the perception of screenwriters? Or is the attention paid only to an extraordinarily select few?

*tarazza said...

This is tarazza, and wow, I certainly didn't expect to see a response from Aaron Sorkin himself when I checked Ken's blog today! (This pretty much makes my month.) Thank you so much to both Ken Levine and Aaron Sorkin (if he reads this) for the response!

Mr. Sorkin, I appreciate your comments a lot. I have to agree that the misogyny of the world came through loud and clear in the movie, and that did make me think a lot about the story (and the real events). I actually saw it for a second time with my family this weekend, and once again we couldn't stop talking about it afterward. I often had the same reaction to episodes of The West Wing and Studio 60. Speaking of which, both of those shows have some of my all-time favorite TV characters. Thanks for all the entertainment, and making me think, too!

I'm very hopeful that the script for The Social Network will be nominated for some awards this year. I'm 26, and it is definitely representative of our generation.

Anonymous said...

I loved the movie, by and large. It's interesting to see what choices the screenwriter made (like talking to Eduardo, who comes off very well.) But it's not a documentary, it's a narrative feature film. People who want to know "the real story" can look at various websites. Sorkin's making artistic decisions, not historical ones.

http://wallstcheatsheet.com/breaking-news/the-10-most-glaring-lies-in-the-social-network/?p=18874/

And people who think this movie will "change the status of screenwriters" seem to be living in a past time. (Judd Apatow? Writer/Directors are all the rage.)

john said...

Many of us knew all about Zuck's college daze misogyny. That would not have been tolerated at my school and I got away with, well lets just say more than Zuck is a safe statement. I was in school much longer too. We would never have done anything that stupid and not just out of fear of death factor. We were not that stupid period. Better manners too and got laid alot more if the film is accurate. Guess thats key thats one of the eternal keys to the fast money. Be a dick.

Liam said...

You can tell that Aaron is deeply concerned that he has told the story of misogyny at work, and that there are women out there who gladly get on the F*ck Truck all the time who enable misogynists.

Mike Barer said...

It was a well done movie.

diane said...

I'd heard that Mr. Sorkin is working on a new television show and I sincerely hope that is the case. I've always believed that he is a class act as well as a brilliant script writer and this response to you blog, Ken, simply reinforces my mindset. Thank you, both for your insights along with my gratitude for all of your excellent work. I'd love to see both of you back on television. It's tough enough to work for a car dealership. Thank God I don't have to work for a network or studio!

ProgGrrl said...

Fantastic and simple explanation. I saw it all this way while watching the film, so I (as a woman) didn't have any of these sexism issues that others have brought up since Social Network hit theaters.

I also felt that it was incredibly meaningful that this film gave two women (Rooney and Rashida) the first and last words about Zuckerberg. Their comments bookend the film perfectly, along with Zuckerberg's final action before the closing credits (friending "Erica" and refreshing his page over and over again to see if she responds)...

Anonymous said...

Having worked in Silicon Valley for years, I saw the portrayal of women in the film entirely accurate. In fact, it can be much worse than shown.

Grubber said...

@ A_Homer, if you want something similar to the Actors Studio but for screenwriters, try these podcasts.

http://creativescreenwritingmagazine.blogspot.com/

you can also download via itunes.
cheers
David

Matthew Granados said...

The Social Network is a beautifully crafted indictment on the narcissistic antics of the cyber-youth. Yes, Mark Zuckerberg is a brilliant kid. Yes, he went to Harvard. Yes, he created Facebook. Yes, he is the youngest billionaire in the world. The thesis of the film asks: At what cost?

As seen in the opening sequence, the cost is self-respect. Zuckerberg is so stunted by the worry of what the world thinks of him that he fails to realize that the beautiful, intelligent girl in front of him already accepts him. It’s not enough for Mark to be involved with a girl who is confident and willing to keep up with him. Nothing is enough because he does not feel that he is enough as a person.

If there is any gender bias, Sorkin’s sniper is aimed at the men. Silicon Valley and Harvard are equally depicted as boys’ clubs fueled by the need for power. Power over authority, competition, each other, and unfortunately women. Except for Erica and Rashida Jones’ character, the lack of real women is fitting to Sorkin’s story of male incompetence.

Anonymous said...

Political Suggestions about women's Rights:

* Females be married once they are able to have children (usually at ages: 12, 13, 14).
* Men never persecuted for having relations with a young female of childbearing age.
* The marital rape exception reinstated (So that a man is never persecuted for raping his wife).
* If a man rapes a unmarried/betrothed++ virgin girl he marries her, pays her father some money, and doesn't divorce her.
++Betrothal here meaning female living with husband for about one year before the marriage feast/ceremony.
* Females barred from bringing claims against their husband (or similar) in court.
* Females barred from divorcing their husbands.
* Females barred from collecting monies from husband (child support etc).
* Other similar things to remove all power from females and make them what men desire.
(About Child Support: A saying from Bob is: child support is a seat at a Man's table and a cot to sleep on in his house)

DirkJohanson said...

@Anonymous at 6:08 PM on 10/11

You and that rape-to-own stuff again! Geez.

Anonymous said...

Straight out of the Old Testament. Moses and crew had their shit together.

Forthricheously springing these words from the Torah, prove beyond a hairs width the fact that Moses and his followers had their affairs in order.

gerri said...

Thanks Ken for posting, and thanks Aaron for taking the time to post such a thorough reply. I loved the film's script as I have all of your work, finding the writing inspiring. I did however share Tarazza's thoughts regarding the women depicted and so appreciate your explaining the reality of the situation as well as your intent. You are as many have stated, a class act.

Per Sjoborg said...

When the likes of Sagan, Burk, Bronowski and Clark do not grace our screens any more Aaron Sorkin and Thomas Schlamme are the only reason to to even have a TV.

If you come back to TV or do another movie doesn't matter to me just give us more!

Brian Wills said...

I wasn't about women. (Sorry you felt they were neglected)

It was about 2 friends....until the end.

droszel said...

See this link for a rebuttal to Sorkin's "I'm just the messenger" post
http://techcrunch.com/2010/10/11/memo-to-aaron-sorkin-you-invented-this-angry-nerd-misogeny-too/

Anonymous said...

For a script writer, his writing has too many grammatical and logical mistakes. Not too impressed.

Anonymous said...

If that's really from Sorkin, I have to say, it's just adding insult to injury. It seems to me that he really has no clue what he's talking about, and is projecting his own prejudices on the people he depicts in his movie.

scribemjp said...

Ken, just discovered your blog and loving it.

Re: the Sorkin response; just posted this on THE WRAP; feel like it's more appropriate to post here.


Dear Mr. Sorkin,
I am such an admirer of your work and your intelligence. You bring "smart" back, to the small screen and the large. And for that I am eternally grateful.

But as a woman who's spent 20 plus years in our own oft-misogynistic business, I can't help but voice my opinion - and it's just an opinion - that your FACEBOOK movie did such a successful job in telling the story from multiple points of view - giving each one of those points of view a fair shake (for example, your twins were as three dimensional as Zuckerberg), that it was a glaring omission to have the women without a real point of view of their own. Yes, Zuckerberg's ex was a class act, but she was in two scenes, and as much as emblem as anything else. You communicated Eduardo's heartbreak, the twins' (reasonable) sense of fair play being violated, and Mark's victimhood so beautifully - where was the hungover morning after realization from, say, the bong girls, that they were being used? Where were the tears from the women compared to one another in the original prank, knowing that they'd be walking around campus the rest of the year carrying that humiliation and denigration of their personhoods? I would've loved just a peek at the hurt that the prank left in its wake, not just Zuckerberg's flip apology to the "women's groups" on campus in his hearing.

The problem is, despite the fact that you were depicting what was REAL in that sexist milieu, because all those guys were our default heroes and our story protagonists, because they were funny and loveable and sympathetic in their own way, the misogyny invariably comes off as cute and cool and fun, and mostly without consequences, both to the boys and to the girls who were objectified.

I'm not saying that girls don't do these things of their own volition. I know it all too well. But as the stepmom of a too-beautiful 17-year old, I am constantly reminded that the media is drilling into these girls again and again that it's so cool to be an object, a prize - that their only power is in their prettiness, their obvious sexuality, and their ability to find a good meal ticket to latch on to. It flips me out that this message is so much stronger now that when I was in college in the 80's. What happened?

This isn't reason to write off the excellence of your writing or the movie. But you speak often of the power of the written word and the responsibility inherent in the work you do. I hope perhaps you can think a bit more deeply about these issues before your next film, because every day I see more young girls having their sense of worth and personhood extinguished, as they are urged again and again to put all their eggs in the pretty, sexy, trophy basket...not understanding the emptiness and dead end to which this choice may lead them.

Melissa J Peltier

scribemjp said...

Ken, just discovered your blog and loving it.

Re: the Sorkin response; just posted this on THE WRAP; feel like it's more appropriate to post here.


Dear Mr. Sorkin,
I am such an admirer of your work and your intelligence. You bring "smart" back, to the small screen and the large. And for that I am eternally grateful.

But as a woman who's spent 20 plus years in our own oft-misogynistic business, I can't help but voice my opinion - and it's just an opinion - that your FACEBOOK movie did such a successful job in telling the story from multiple points of view - giving each one of those points of view a fair shake (for example, your twins were as three dimensional as Zuckerberg), that it was a glaring omission to have the women without a real point of view of their own. Yes, Zuckerberg's ex was a class act, but she was in two scenes, and as much as emblem as anything else. You communicated Eduardo's heartbreak, the twins' (reasonable) sense of fair play being violated, and Mark's victimhood so beautifully - where was the hungover morning after realization from, say, the bong girls, that they were being used? Where were the tears from the women compared to one another in the original prank, knowing that they'd be walking around campus the rest of the year carrying that humiliation and denigration of their personhoods? I would've loved just a peek at the hurt that the prank left in its wake, not just Zuckerberg's flip apology to the "women's groups" on campus in his hearing.

The problem is, despite the fact that you were depicting what was REAL in that sexist milieu, because all those guys were our default heroes and our story protagonists, because they were funny and loveable and sympathetic in their own way, the misogyny invariably comes off as cute and cool and fun, and mostly without consequences, both to the boys and to the girls who were objectified.

(continued)

scribemjp said...

(Part 2 of response to sorkin):

I'm not saying that girls don't do these things of their own volition. I know it all too well. But as the stepmom of a too-beautiful 17-year old, I am constantly reminded that the media is drilling into these girls again and again that it's so cool to be an object, a prize - that their only power is in their prettiness, their obvious sexuality, and their ability to find a good meal ticket to latch on to. It flips me out that this message is so much stronger now that when I was in college in the 80's. What happened?

This isn't reason to write off the excellence of your writing or the movie. But you speak often of the power of the written word and the responsibility inherent in the work you do. I hope perhaps you can think a bit more deeply about these issues before your next film, because every day I see more young girls having their sense of worth and personhood extinguished, as they are urged again and again to put all their eggs in the pretty, sexy, trophy basket...not understanding the emptiness and dead end to which this choice may lead them.

Melissa J Peltier

Larry Leitner said...

Aaron Sorkin's response here does not surpise me in the least. Having been one of the regulars on Aaron's Aaron Sorkin and the Facebook Movie board on Facebook that he participated in up until principal photography for the movie completed. He was most generous with his answers on any subject he was asked. He was also very kind and generous when I met him recently at the New Yorker Festival. So much for his suspicions that people on the internet hide behind their keyboards to be someone they aren't.

Anonymous said...

Very realistic portrayal, no need for explaining. If anything the movie should of covered more of favorable media coverage Zuckerberg's fellow Jews in the media industry gave him over the other social networking sites.

FlowJoe said...

People.. the MOVIE wasn't about HER. If she accomplishes something in HER life be it controversial or not, maybe a movie will be produced about HER!! Well written without being OVER-BEARING in any direction. While TSN will have a HUGE audience, it like every other movie CANNOT be a treatise on whatever ails PC/Incorrect America.!!!! Jeez!!re

Katherine said...

Thanks for posting Sorkin's reply. Very interesting.

As an alumna of the school that funds the "F--k Truck" (otherwise known as the Wellesley College Senate Bus: the Truck might be appreciated by Harvard, BU and MIT frat boys alike, but it exists because sometimes a straight Wellesley woman just wants to have sex and the nearest eligible men are 12 miles away. It's there for her, not the men who get the reciprocal benefit. I sincerely think it is not only possible but necessary for us to get over the belief that in order for men to learn that they do not automatically deserve to have sex with smart, sexy women that the women have to abdicate their own sexual agency unless they are in "ideal" romantic/sexual relationships. We all have to take responsibility, yes. But that responsibility does NOT include limiting your own natural behavior in order to tempt others to see and value you as a whole human being with equal worth to themselves.

DirkJohanson said...

@Aaron Sorkin, in case you're reading this.

To make up for your "misogyny," I think your next movie should be about one of the women over the millions of years of human history who came up and implemented a multi-billion dollar world-changing idea while she was in college or in her 20s,

like, uh, er, uh, um, ..... well there was, no,.... uh,.... hmm.... Hey, just give me a couple of months of intensive, 24 hour a day, 7 day a week, round-the-clock google searching - I'm sure I'll come up with someone!

Maybe.

Well, ... possibly.

Like how about those chicks that invented Post-it Notes?! Uh, oh....never mind those two.


Well, in case my exhaustive google research doesn't pan out, maybe you can take things in another direction. We can exhume Mother Teresa's body, clone her, and use the clones to play every role in all of your films and movies from now on, sort of the way Eddie Murphy played all those parts in that movie a few years ago, except the clones would all be really just playing themselves - that is, exact clones of Mother Teresa.

I know. Sounds a little dull, and not that sexy, but look at it this way. You've already made it in Hollywood, and this way, no one could accuse you of portraying women in an unflattering light anymore. And if anyone could pull off a movie where half the characters had the same look and personality - and having the same look and personality isn't even a punchline - its you.

Eh, come to think of it, what am I saying? If the National Parks Service decided to add Mother Teresa's profile to Mt. Rushmore, hired an all-female crew of sculptors, and paid them $500,000 a year, women would still whine "misogyny" if they found out that "only" 43% of the stock was held by females at the company that made the drill bits. Or they'd complain about her hair.

For some pertinent commentary on the gender issues in the movie, check out Roissy's blog at http://roissy.wordpress.com/2010/10/11/the-swpl-network/#comments

Molly Durand said...

Oh thank God my favorite writer Aaron Sorkin wrote this. After I saw the film I called every great woman writer friend I knew hoping to understand the point of why the women characters in the central part of the film seemed to be mindless, striping, bong hitting props. I had suspected that he was writing from Mark and the "boys" point of view. Almost as if he was pointing out some truths of this generation--my generation sadly. Not to mention some truths about women/girls of my generation who feel that exploiting themselves physically gives them power, i.e. several popular music videos we see today...

Also I felt he put two beautiful, strong, and grounded women at the top and end of the film whom both affected the "unaffected Mark". At the top we have this girl who can match him and understand his true intentions despite his degrading rhetoric. She rejects him after he shows a great lack of respect and he retaliates. At the end we see a strong beautiful lawyer who also affects him and demands respect. A beautiful full circle ironic ending with one of my favorite Beatles songs, and Mark still affected by the girl who could challenge him. Showing that the women of substance where not won over by fame and prestige, therefore left out of the "glory days of retribution-while building a club Mark can finally belong to" part of the movie.

Isn't one of the themes about a universal human desire to feel apart of something? Then the idea or reality that once obtaining the ideal status you so longed for, it turns out to be unfulfilling? Or that anytime we try to seek power over people or things that have hurt us, the feeling of euphoria from revenge is fleeting and unsatisfactory often leaving us feeling alone and depleted?

Anyway thank you Aaron Sorkin and Fincher. Oh that rowing race scene after the Sean/club scene was an interesting transition...and the cast of the film was terrific. Again similar to why women were painted a certain way to show the truth of the world you were writing about, would most likely explain the perdominently white cast.

Lady Mel said...

My first take on "The Social Network" movie.

http://lightcameradrama.blogspot.com/2010/10/social-network-movie-behind-brand.html

Adam T said...

The most important thing about Sorkin's blog post is its confirmation that the scene at the finals club - with the women stripping - took place in the Zuckerberg character's head. That's not clear in the film.

Ron said...

Considering Zuckerberg has had a steady not-trophy girlfriend for most of the time he's been running Facebook I would say that really contradicts a lot of Sorkin's perception of his world.

Anonymous said...

As a straight,non geek male I was terribly bothered by the portrayal of most of the young college women. It was especially interesting that such a high percentage were Asian. Having a couple of strong female characters is expected and welcome but the impression still was that most young women want to party, get stoned and have sex.

Otherwise I thought the films was terrific. But...I am not convinced this blog comment was actually written by Sorkin. It is poorly structured and has both grammatical and typing errors I doubt he would let be posted. But I could be wrong.

It seems that a movie about the F**K Tr**K would be even more interesting.

Anonymous said...

Aaron Sorkin is an Idiot.

Laura Dawn said...

I really appreciate this from Aaron Sorkin--BUT--the real life misogyny isn't the problem. It's the made up misogyny. Yes, the "fuck trucks" are real, and yes, there are "psycho girlfriends" as well as boyfriends in the real world--but Zuckerberg did not have an all male crew working for him. In fact, he had a real life asian girlfriend who he met as a sophomore who he is with to this day, who worked at Facebook from the beginning--a far cry from the made up scene where Zuckerberg doles out jobs and then when the asian girl who just blew him asks "what can we do" disdainfully replies "nothing". These are the moments where you lost me Aaron--and they aren't rooted in the truth. The truth is more complicated. The truth is that a young man can have enraged feelings towards being dumped "she's a bitch!" and then fall deeply in love with another woman a year later. People grow up. The insidious message of The Social Network is that women were not a part of this story, except as fuel for retribution--and that's just not true, and it's a fucked up message to implant in the minds of all the young people who saw the film.

Brenda said...

Dear Ken, Tarazza and Aaron...

This is terrific dialogue!!!...

First this was a very well written screen play and it deserves the Oscar buzz, nominations, and awards forthcoming. The dialogue and story layout in the movie is great. When was the last time you worked with programming people and thought it was exciting... have you met the vast majority of programming people.... scary scary smart, pretty funny, and usually but not always challenged socially... at times a bit too focused for riviting conversation.

In short, this is a really good movie and worth full admission. It is about the start up of a business AND not about a linear process of following a business plan. Needed but not critical. It is about the non linear emotional and very human interactions that make business stories so interesting. You may not like the level of entitlement that is exposed in the movie but it does exist at an Ivy League school
and artfully captured here....best line in the movie is the comment by Mark Z. about the twins not getting what they want...perfect!

Tarazza, thanks for putting this out there, although not directly asking for a response from Aaron, getting one... It made me come to this blog and read what had been exchanged... Please continue to challege but please take a moment and reflect beyond the surface what it is that is creating the anger...conflict can not be addressed without the conversation....again thanks

Next Ken... nice job on this blog and keeping this open and intelligent... I don't usually blog but this is a good site where voice is heard... well done as they say in Britain

Lastly, Aaron I did enjoy this movie and I will enjoy watching you take home several awards.. FWIW, I am 21/24 in my Oscar pics 3 years running... also thanks for providing a thoughtful and well written response that provides insight to your research and basis for the story. Public persona is many times not the same the private person. One of the highest compliments I can offer is you seem to operate with a level integrity in your writing and work. So with that, thank you... If you ever want a another juicy business story I have a good one that could use a good writer!

Ok for now...
Brenda

Brenda said...

Dear Ken, Tarazza and Aaron...

This is terrific dialogue!!!...

First this was a very well written screen play and it deserves the Oscar buzz, nominations, and awards forthcoming. The dialogue and story layout in the movie is great. When was the last time you worked with programming people and thought it was exciting... have you met the vast majority of programming people.... scary scary smart, pretty funny, and usually but not always challenged socially... at times a bit too focused for riviting conversation.

In short, this is a really good movie and worth full admission. It is about the start up of a business AND not about a linear process of following a business plan. Needed but not critical. It is about the non linear emotional and very human interactions that make business stories so interesting. You may not like the level of entitlement that is exposed in the movie but it does exist at an Ivy League school
and artfully captured here....best line in the movie is the comment by Mark Z. about the twins not getting what they want...perfect!

Tarazza, thanks for putting this out there, although not directly asking for a response from Aaron, getting one... It made me come to this blog and read what had been exchanged... Please continue to challege but please take a moment and reflect beyond the surface what it is that is creating the anger...conflict can not be addressed without the conversation....again thanks

Next Ken... nice job on this blog and keeping this open and intelligent... I don't usually blog but this is a good site where voice is heard... well done as they say in Britain

Lastly, Aaron I did enjoy this movie and I will enjoy watching you take home several awards.. FWIW, I am 21/24 in my Oscar pics 3 years running... also thanks for providing a thoughtful and well written response that provides insight to your research and basis for the story. Public persona is many times not the same the private person. One of the highest compliments I can offer is you seem to operate with a level integrity in your writing and work. So with that, thank you... If you ever want a another juicy business story I have a good one that could use a good writer!

Ok for now...
Brenda

Brenda said...

Dear Ken, Tarazza and Aaron...

This is terrific dialogue!!!...

First this was a very well written screen play and it deserves the Oscar buzz, nominations, and awards forthcoming. The dialogue and story layout in the movie is great. When was the last time you worked with programming people and thought it was exciting... have you met the vast majority of programming people.. scary smart, pretty funny,usually but not always challenged socially... at times a bit too focused for riviting conversation.

In short, this is a really good movie. It is about the start up of a business AND not about following a business plan. It is about the non linear emotional and very human interactions that make business stories so interesting. You may not like the level of entitlement that is exposed in the movie but it does exist at an Ivy League school and artfully captured here....best line in the movie is the comment by Mark Z. about the twins not getting what they want...perfect!

Tarazza, thanks for putting this out there, although not directly asking for a response from Aaron, getting one... It made me come to this blog and read what had been exchanged... Please continue to challege but please take a moment and reflect beyond the surface what it is that is creating the anger...conflict can not be addressed without the conversation....again thanks

Next Ken... nice job on this blog and keeping this open and intelligent... I don't usually blog but this is a good site where voice is heard... well done as they say in Britain

Lastly, Aaron I did enjoy this movie and I will enjoy watching you take home several awards.. FWIW, I am 21/24 in my Oscar pics 3 years running... also thanks for providing a thoughtful and well written response that provides insight to your research and basis for the story. Public persona is many times not the same the private person. One of the highest compliments I can offer is you seem to operate with a level integrity in your writing and work. So with that, thank you... If you ever want a another juicy business story I have a good one that could use a good writer!

The MovieMaven said...

Although I didn't mention it my review/blog, the portrayal of women is the one thing that bothers me. It's hard to believe that such things went on at HARVARD, but understood that somehow they're probably real. So thanks for the confirmation. Although I'm still wondering why there's no mention of Priscilla Chan.

--
The MovieMaven
http://themoviemaven.posterous.com

Anonymous said...

You don't have to respond to anything. Just because a movie doesn't portray all women as perfect saints doesn't make it misogynistic. There are plenty of movies that show men in negative light as well. The people complaining about this are absolutely ridiculous.

writer2 said...

Don't know why people are gushing over the fact that Sorkin is responding to the "misogyny" criticism. Isn't he just trying to put out a fire that could hurt his Oscar chances?

David Kirkpatrick said...

It all sounds good, except that like so much of the movie this explanation by Sorkin is largely made up. For one thing, Facemash, which he uses as his justification that Mark was "deeply misogynist," in fact compared men to men as well as women to women.
If Facemash was not just a site to make fun of women then it doesn't buttress his point. So he revises history.
Separately, while the final clubs (which Zuckerberg in reality had little interest in) may have been based on misogynism, the founders of Facebook have nothing to do with that. Mark Zuckerberg was in a serious relationship with Priscilla Chan during the entire period at Harvard portrayed in the movie. The relationship with "Erica Albright" is as made up as her name. The first scene is entirely invented. All Sorkin had to work with to create it was Zuckerberg writing in his journal "--- is a bitch." He used that to imagine why Zuckerberg might think that a girl is a bitch. This is from Sorkin's imagination and not from reality.
Just because Aaron Sorkin writes great dialogue does not mean he has the right to rewrite history.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Sorkin,

I understand and agree with your whole response. Except for one point:

"I didn't invent the "F--k Truck", it's real--and the men (boys) at the final clubs think it's what they deserve for being who they are. "

The problem is...is the movie presents it as that the men DO deserve a F--ck truck for who they are, rather than showing what's wrong with the entitlement they believe they have. It's shown in a glamorized way that says "Be a jackass, be a prep, and you'll get it, because you deserve it"

Anonymous said...

Fuck you Sorkin.

kim said...

http://movies.msn.com/the-wrap/sorkin-addresses-social-network-misogyny-criticism/story/?Gt1=28101

This link was on MSN homepage. :)

kim

Eddie Go said...

Aaron Sorkin screenplays lack tension. At least for Charlie Wilson's War and The Social Network. There is drama... but no tension. Never does the audience feel the uncertainty of how a situation will resolve for the characters in any particular scene. Mostly the narrative just moves steadily forward (here's what happened... here's what happened next...).

Read Mamet's ALL CAPS rant about how to write screenplays.

Andrew said...

The issue here is not the acknowledgment of misogynists, nor a depiction of misogyny. But a refusal to acknowledge a patriarchal system.

The problem is a contradiction of text and subtext. One can say, "this is an objective study of a misogynist and the world he inhabits". And that is quite different from the information conveyed through aesthetics. This is male-gaze cinema, people. And Sorkin's patronizing defense proves that either he doesn't comprehend this or that he thinks we do not.

Fincher is as much at fault. His masturbatory promise of gruesome death in Seven contradicts the conservative moralizing of Morgan Freeman's character. Which are we supposed to identify with? How many people like Seven because of its message?

Anyone who thinks the movement against typical, status quo patriarchal images are PRO political correctness are missing the point. The fact is, Sorkin's story is so typical. We are being brainwashed by the clever writing and flashy style, but nothing new is being done here.

Anonymous said...

Funny, but from his other work -- A FEW GOOD MEN, WEST WING, THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT, etc. -- I've always viewed Aaron's work as the opposite of misogynistic. The women in his work are almost always VERY strong and independent thinkers. Just have a look at how wise they are in his body of work.

This criticism is attention-seeking, myopic knee-jerk p.c.-speak and needs to be filtered through that lens.

As If said...

The problem with the events as written by Sorkin is that he takes facts and reimagines them in order for them to suit his narrative... and sells it as a documentary. For example, Facemash compared pictures of men and women but Sorkin fails to use that because it doesn't fit in with his storyline. Nothing, other than the facts as it relates to inanimate objects, Adidas sandals, Beck's beer, etc., should be construed as fact other dramatization by a very talented bullsh#t artist, a notion which speaks to a writer who sprinkles little bits of truth here and there to add validity to the veracity of The Social Network's version of the Facebook creation myth; not surprising since he himself says that nothing, like facts, should get in the way of good storytelling.

Therefore, The Social Network doesn't show us three versions of the truth but rather one version - Sorkin's.

Andrew said...

Anonymous: We are not discussing A FEW GOOD MEN, WEST WING, THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT,we are discussing THE SOCIAL NETWORK.

It is a moot point to say that Sorkin's other ventures are not sexist, little-boy fantasies. Because the film in question clearly is.

We are all filmbuffs and cinephiles, and are passionate about discussing the cinema. If you allergic to debate, please don't waste our time with your sophistry.

Mary Chipman said...

The attitudes towards women in technology portrayed in the movie are widespread in an industry that is predominantly male and oriented towards the young. Many, many guys harbor the secret fantasy that somehow they too will become "rock stars" in an industry that is increasingly focused on producing content in blogs and videos, giving them potential for visibility and recognition that could only have been achieved in years past by more time-consuming endeavors such as writing books. Women in technology have a tougher road to hoe. For most of us, mentors and colleagues are critical components for success. Even so, in any conflict between a male and a female, an assertive male is presumed to be authoritative, a female, argumentative and disrespectful. I had a similar experience to Jessica's at Microsoft. I had a conflict with a male manager who then lied on my performance review in order to deny me a promotion. The other managers in the management chain closed ranks behind him to validate a false narrative that would go on my permanent record. I refused to submit quietly, and was fired, essentially for being uppity. No mention was made about the quality of my work being an issue. I was told that the reason I was being terminated was that "nobody wants to work with you" and given a separation agreement with a "no rehire" clause, which I refuse to sign. The main difference between me and the Jessica character in the movie is that I'm not a young girl -- I have a 20-year track record of high-profile achievement in my field. Oh, wait, maybe it's not about being female, maybe it's about being female AND old. Or female AND old AND a highly-compensated U.S. full-time worker with benefits. The day I was fired they were interviewing my replacement-in India.

Anonymous said...

1) Facemash compared pictures of men and women. So it wasn't a sexist program that only picked on women. Sorkin changed the facts and used only women.

2) Zuckerberg's girlfriend is far from some empty headed bimbo. She is not very attractive, is fat, but smart. It's the same girlfriend he had as a 2nd year student at Harvard when he was creating Facebook. Sorkin made Zuckerberg into some shallow guy that doesn't see women as equals.

3) Sorkin took facts and changed them around to fit his narrative of sexist, spoiled rich kids. Now he is spinning when called out on his narrative.

DirkJohanson said...

@ Mary Chipman

The tech industry is relatively new - newer than feminism, in fact.

So, I have a question: why don't women like you start your own companies?

And I have the answer: Guyinism recognizes that because, as women, you don't have the requisite drive, determination, and/or reasoning ability. Yes, it is about being female, but not in the way you portray it.

Stop making excuses, and start respecting and admiring the superior accomplishments and contributions of guys to our world. And get a government job, where you'll find no shortage of women managers lying on the performance reviews of the guys that work for them, including me.

Andrew said...

@ DirkJohanson,

You are grossly misunderstanding the purpose of this debate.

This isn't a pissing contest of "I was more mistreated than you" stories.

This is a conversation about the power of the image and how it represents entire groups of people.

Furthermore, merely describing how people actually act in our system by no means hints at any modicum of truth. If by truth we are referring to an essence, or natural instinct.

The Social Network exists within a system that is built upon patriarchy (both literal and symbolic). While the film illuminates the boundaries of economic and social constructs, it ignores the very same constructed notions of gender.

The problem is not "What", it is "Why" and "How". Simply rattling off instances of girls who do this and guys who do that is circular logic.

Obama London said...

Aaron, it pains me to say this because I am a huge fan of just abotu everythign you've ever written for the screen and stage but...

This blog post really p***ed me off. I haven't seen the movie yet, as it's not yet out here in London, but I find it very odd to hear you write that, "The women they surround themselves with aren't women who challenge them (and frankly, no woman who could challenge them would be interested in being anywhere near them.)"

That just strikes me as an unqualified and unjustified slap in the face to Mark Zuckerberg's actual long time girlfriend (who you apparently chose to write out of your script?). Not knowing this woman, this seems like a hell of a judgement to make about her - in fact, all I know about her is that she is a medical student and threatened to break up with him once until he guaranteed her more of his time and attention. But neither of these facts suggest to me a woman who is incapable of challenging Mark. I've no doubt mysogyny existed in the Harvard of the era, that seems to be all the more reason to at least pay lip service to the truth of the women who were there at the time.

Love you to bits, and I'm sure the film is great but... you presume a lot here.

Obama London said...

@dirkjohanson

You have a tiny little penis, don't you? Aww, there there. But don't worry! Size doesn't matter! Women hate you for your stupidity, not your inadequacy.

Love,

Karin

Anonymous said...

Sorkin is exactly right.
And for Kirkpatrick and the haters, in actuality, Mark didn't begin dating Priscilla until his last few days at school, and even then, for the next three years, they only saw each other once a week.

Second, although there were a few male pictures in Facemash, the site was all about comparing women, just as portrayed in the movie. The 20,000 hits the site got were all because of the women being compared, not the handful of men. Interview anyone who was at harvard at the time, and all they remember about facemash was that it was comparing women. Because that is exactly what it was, and why it was emailed around school.

Last, anyone who has read marks' blog from the time can not dispute his anger and mysogyny. My god he talks about comparing women to farm animals? How much more evidence do you need????

The movie is extremely accurate. in fact, no one has disputed any of the facts or events.

Andrew said...

@Anonymous

You are correct, albeit, beside the point.

No one is arguing that Sorkin cannot take as his subject a misogynist. Misogyny is not a dirty word we want stricken from the history books. This is the same line of thought that leads over-zealous parents to ban modernist literature because they take issue with the honest employment of a vulgar vernacular.

Instead, the problem is thus:

Sorkin/Fincher open the film with an objective, distanced perspective on Zuckerberg and his girlfriend. We are allowed to take in the entire scene. We are amused and repulsed by Zuckerberg. We are aware of his views of women without being aesthetically coaxed into sharing said views.

When the film begins to illustrate Zuckerberg's fantasies of the Final Clubs, it employs techniques to entice us with the promise of compulsive-heterosexual delights from a male perspective. Is this Zuckerberg's perspective also? Yes. But it contradicts the majority of the films brilliant distance from its subject. We are allowed to be observers, except when female bodies are involved. Now we are voyeurs.

The film is also primarily about Zuckerberg. Though, not entirely. It betrays its own study of him by allowing us to connect with some peripheral characters. Mainly Eduardo. Why else would we feel sorry for him if we are entirely from Zuckerberg's perspective.

The Social Network is problematic because of these inconsistencies which seem to highlight an undercurrent (call it subtextual) fascination with sexists attitudes.

I am not so concerned with the facts and trivia, only with the world that Sorkin has created for art (be it accurate, honest, false, or whatever).

BOB said...

It just dawned on me...this means its safe to assume that Aaron Sorkin also read the Sorkin parody?

BOB

Anonymous said...

I find the cries of misogyny as a poor reflection of Sworkin, to be absolutely ridiculous. Sworkin wanted his story to get to the heart of the matter, while being faithful to facts and faithful to who he thinks the character really is.

I watched two famed lawyers analyze the film 'A Few Good Men.' They pointed out that the film was not faithful to certain aspects of what is allowed in a courtroom and what isn't allowed. At first I thought this bothered me. But whenever 'A Few Good Men' is on, I always find myself watching it. Why? Because of the compelling dialogue, well-written characters, and great acting. I realized the film was never about those details - it was about bigger issues of character and justice.

The fact that women have not been portrayed in TSN as in his other films - indicates to me that these complaints of misogyny are not really directed at anything. Do people think that Sworkin woke up one morning and decided to hate women?

Some people here seem to be stupid enough to demand that Sworkin hide what he sees as the truth of the story. Why would any artist do that?

And on a final note, men who are popular, elite, and rich, are used by women just as much as the women are used by the men these women so actively pursue. So to make any claims of this film being misogynistic, is GROSSLY over-simplifying the more complex realities of life and filmmaking.

Mary Chipman said...

@ Dirk Johanson

Sorry Dirk, you've got your facts wrong on all counts. I was a feminist while Bill Gates was still in high school. In fact, I was a charter subscriber to Ms magazine when it was first published by Gloria Steinem back in the early '70's. At the time I was a Playboy bunny (go to NPR.com and seach on the interview I did for Scott Simon a few months ago). I wasn't there as a reporter the way Gloria was, I was just a kid who needed a job. Fast forward to the 90's -- I did found my own consulting company with my male partners. It was well after that and after I had made a name for myself in the industry that I took a job with Microsoft, hoping to be able to reach a wider audience to help business users be successful with Microsoft's business and data access technologies. I have a five-star rated book on amazon.com, I have written and presented award-winning video courseware, and have been a featured speaker at industry conferences over the last 15 years. But then again, perhaps the actual facts don't matter when it's so much easier to just make up your own.

DirkJohanson said...

@Obama London (Karin)

Ah, the standard female attack on the manhood of a guy who stands up to them. I'll take that as your holding up a white flag. In any event, to see how wrong you are, click on this and scroll toward the bottom of the page: http://guyinism.com/dirksxploits/gay-guyinist-goofs/

@"Andrew" at 10:15 AM: You believe that gender is not a construct. I believe that it is, and nothing more vividly validates my position than the fact that what you are referring to as a "patriarchy" is a bunch of college kids in the 21st century.

There are reasons Facebook was founded and got big by a "Marc" rather than a "Marci" with the same last name. Its not patriarchy, its gender reality, something all the special programs directed at helping women compete with guys have barely been able to put a dent in when it comes to major accomplishments, and criticizing Aaron for not creating feminist p.c. fiction is inappropriate.

@Mary Chipman, at 4:36 PM: I'm having trouble discerning what facts (plural) I got wrong. Of course a rare woman here or there starts a company of some size. Pardon me, but you're not exactly a household name, and the consultancy you started was with multiple male partners.

As you noted, Bill Gates was in high school when you were already old enough to be in the adult entertainment industry. He went on to become THE Bill Gates - for whom in all of huwomankind there's never been a rough equivalent. And I'm confident that when there's a movie about him, there will be no shortage of squawking that the movie didn't give enough credit to Melinda.

DirkJohanson said...

Sorry. Just found an error in my last post. I meant to say that Andrew is the one who believes gender is a construct, and I (at least in large part) don't.

annunziata said...

Part 3
If that’s the way it happened, then so be it – I do want the truth. I certainly can’t blame Aaron for giving me that. Or toss him into a vile category because he presented it truthfully. Thanks to Aaron for differentiating himself by clarifying that this behavior does not represent his opinion — shouldn’t think it needed to be said, but it does help.

Some people act terribly (like assholes) with the advent of success. I’ve seen it personally. And yet some remain loyal, decent, generous human beings, particularly toward women (Fincher among them). I smiled at the opening credits -- he’s still working with Cean and Laray (two attractive women I have worked with and can safely assume have never boarded a F**K Truck ;).

That’s what the movie is about. According to me, at least. And about intellectual property rights...
nunzi

annunziata said...

the whole response will not post -- even in 3 parts (dunno why...) so it's all here:
http://annunziata.tumblr.com/

Anonymous said...

I find the depth of his analysis the most telling aspect of the entire affair. If I were to go to wikipedia right now and look up his article, for example like I just did, I might easily come up with a life story that I could easily understand through my own perspective, disdainful as I am of his chosen occupation and its associated culture.
BA in Musical Theatre lives pointless life as just another starving artist desperately trying to get noticed. His treatment at the hands of a world that values art as perhaps the cheapest commodity in existence leads him to cast around for his own personal pariah and he finds it in the hacker archetype that seems to be taking over the world he inhabits; about the furthest from himself it is possible to get. Finally lucks into success in chosen vapid field. Spends better part of relatively successful career making plain old fashion television in an age where such is being rapidly torn from its roots by the very archetype he's building up a dislike for.
Hits out with poorly researched and much assumed dreck with high production quality at a phenomenon he neither understands, respects, nor has any desire to and fights bitterly against any accusation that his perception may diverge significantly from reality. Throw in the drug habits and the card carrying democrat political affiliation and the story almost writes itself.
He doesn't know Zuckerberg, he's the antithesis of the hacker mindset, he's a typical "artist" and everything in his world is tinted through that view, it's easy to parody an archetype the exact opposite to yourself.
Disclaimer; This is not to say that I know him either, the above is a purposefully shallow analysis. I make it in the interests of pointing out how easy it is to descend into plausible sounding narratives that have little bearing on objective reality when you're dealing with something so far outside your own sphere of experience. Your points of reference become stereotypes and staple characters, and you bend the reality of the people you're attempting to analyse to fit them.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who claims the film is misogynistic is full of crap! I don't remember any saints in the film!

Anonymous said...

There is no way that is actually Sorkin. Even Sorkin knows that facemash.com had comparisons between both men and women. And Sorkin wasn't involved in choosing which scenes to cut, which writer usually is?

Andrew said...

Apparently I am speaking Greek.

The film's gender bias is not found it WHAT is saying or WHO it is portraying.

It is found in HOW it says it. (As in the aesthetic means of conveying information).

What a film literally says is different from its subtext.

The moving image is a language with its very own grammar and syntax. It can run either parallel with or contradictory to the films' text (what is spoken).

This is elementary film theory.

download free movies said...

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David Kirkpatrick said...

Why should anyone ever take seriously anything posted by someone using a made-up name or "anonymous"? I stand by my posts and always use my real name. If I am wrong about something I will correct myself. I do not hide behind a screen of anonymity.

Edgeoforever said...

I am glad Aaron Sorkin answered those objections although I didn't need the clarification: it was all in the story. The misogyny was clear to see and Sorkin made his voice heard through the two women at the beginning and the end of the movie: Erica and the lawyer.
It was interesting to me to read that Zuckenberg's blog entry was real - as this was the last element I was trying to ascertain in the "true/false" controversy. Once the misogyny and swindling have been established as fact, any quibbles with the story become laughably irrelevant.
Who cares if they did shots during the test or if Zuckenberg met his girlfriend in the line to the bathroom as opposed to having sex in the bathroom?
Zuckenberg taking Sorkin off his favorite writers in his Facebook profile is the ultimate confirmation that the portrayal was right on.
The movie is true - facts and society. And extremely relevant.

@daynamanning said...

Cool. It was my first reaction to the movie and I'm glad I found this. Classy.

Hotchick1987 said...

Hey Dickhead/Dirck Johnson

Women achievers who set the world on fire:

AYN RAND
JOAN OF ARC
MARGARET THATCHER
OPRAH
HILLARY
WONDER WOMAN
MARIE CURIE ("Mother of Modern Physics" -- pioneer in research about radioactivity, a word she coined)
the Monkees' mom who invested Liquid Paper -Whiteout.

So FU -- you pig.

You sound like a bitter guy who can't get laid.

http://womenshistory.about.com/od/biographies/a/women_science.htm

http://womenshistory.about.com/od/biographies/a/women_science.htm

Kate said...

Every woman I saw with thought the movie truly lacked any larger than life women characters - which truly are on every campus these days, let alone on an Ivy League Campus.
Mr Sorkin - please know that a guy who went to Exeter would simply not have encountered or be aware of such women.
Boo, I am a woman and want to be larger than life. Thx

Anonymous said...

Kevin --

Check Nikki Finke's column today. You've arrived!!!

PRW

wtf said...

just a side thought- why is the portrayel of the women that are engaging in sexual activity automatically interpreted as them being 'loose/whores'... while the men engaging in the SAME activity does not even give them even a inch of criticism... geesh times are still sooo backwards!!! (bumps head on wall repeatedly)

Kelly said...

Aaron sorkin you're my screenwriting hero. A lot of people dont get that a writer is not, aside from an uberpersonal project, writing themselves. They're writing from a characters perspective, and in your case a real person. I never for a minute would ever think you were sexist. In fact, the female characters you created in the west wing and the subject matter you covered makes me certain you love and respect women. Smart is sexy. Thanks for an amazing show and an amazing film :) and youre right, Im a woman of substance and i wouldnt go near those dudes.

DirkJohanson said...

Add Hotchick 1987 to the list of women who threw up the white flag by insulting my sexuality.

First Obama London said I had a small dick, until I demonstrated otherwise with a link to my blog, "The Balls Monologues."

Hotchick 1987 - who listed a grand total of eight women, including one who she couldn't name, "Wonder Woman," and another who has done little other than ride her husband's coattails - has leveled one of the other standard concessions by a woman who has lost an argument to a guy - which is pretty much every time a woman has a written argument with a guy, since reason and rationality are far more likely to prevail in written discussions than in oral arguments. Specifically, Hotchick 1987's accusation is that I can't get laid.

Well, sorry to disappoint you, sweetie, but I was with three women last Saturday night, I've been paid porn talent, and none other than elite porn star Jenny Hendrix once wanted to have sex with me. See http://guyinism.com/uncategorized/jenny-hendrix-wanted-to-fuck-me/

Its not that I don't get laid, honey. Rather, its that I get it enough that I don't have to take crap from women.

Wonder Woman .... At least Hotchick 1987 has a sense of humor.

DirkJohanson said...

@Hotchick 1987.

I shouldn't comment in such a hurry, especially when I'm about to hit the sack. Upon reflection, what you wrote is actually kinda funny.

R u really a hot chick born in 1987? If so, we should go out.



Well, at least I should want to go out with you. I don't know why in hell you'd really want anything to do with middle-aged rogue like me.

Shoot me an email, anyway - my address is DirkJohanson@guyinism.com. Its on my blog in case it doesn't show here.

wryterra said...

I'd like to see Sorkin defend his attitude that these are 'very angry and deeply misogynistic people' when Mark Zuckerberg's long-term partner is completely written out from The Social Network. It would seem that he is making these accusations based on the fiction of his own writing rather than truth or anything resembling a fact.

Of course I doubt we'll hear anything from Mr Sorkin on this one.

TrendsWatcher said...

I was really glad to read Sorkin's response. I loved The Social Network, I thought it crafted a great story out of the string of lawsuits, and to me, it explained a lot about the nature of Facebook. But I did see quite a bit of misogyny in the movie, which I commented about in my blog (www.trendswatcher.com). After I posted, somebody called my attention to Sorkin's response in this blog. I thought his response was intelligent and satisfactory. (I posted that too.) I don't know what Zuckerberg's personality is like right now, I don't have reason to doubt that he's probably evolved and matured since his college days. But if we ever want to make a concerted statement against misogyny, all we have to do is deactivate our Facebook pages, at least for a day.

Anonymous said...

I hope Mr. Sorkin has an opportunity to answer this question: I've read that Mark Zuckerberg has had the same girlfriend since college, Priscilla Chan, now a med student in SF. So why not portray that women, a Harvard-educated med student (presumable not a bimbo)?

KWRK said...

The script made the points described about misogyny quite clearly, but I wish the direction and cinematography had served them better.

Stephen Parkes said...

Anon of 10/14/10 8.35AM:
There is no way that is actually Sorkin. Even Sorkin knows that facemash.com had comparisons between both men and women.
This was covered already - do try and keep up.

And Sorkin wasn't involved in choosing which scenes to cut, which writer usually is?
He was talking about cutting from his script. And anyway a writer/producer of Sorkin's standing will have influence over a movie beyond the scripting.

Stephen Parkes said...

There are responses to many people in these next posts of mine, so look for your name – you know you want to:

- Emily Blake wrote:

It didn't bother me at all. I saw it as a reflection on the boys, not the girls.

One suggestion, though. In the sequel, there should be more gunfights and explosions.


Agreed on both counts.

- Anonymous at 10/11/10 6.08 said:

Political Suggestions about women's Rights:

Having trouble getting a date, huh. You should join a social networking site.

- Melissa Peltier said:

...because all those guys were our default heroes and our story protagonists, because they were funny and loveable and sympathetic in their own way, the misogyny invariably comes off as cute and cool and fun, and mostly without consequences, both to the boys and to the girls who were objectified.


I agree that the characters were, to a degree, perhaps ‘funny and loveable’ or at least partly sympathetic in their own way, but I didn’t find any of the misogynistic aspects (and I agree there were some) to be ‘cute and cool’. And the misogyny clearly did have consequences – this was, in large part, the point of the film.

Stephen Parkes said...

- Dirk Johanson said (in the comments of the blog post he linked to):
When a guy of Sorkin’s stature is reduced to feeling compelled to respond to some regular broad commenting on a blog, you know that the standing of guys in the United States is incredibly low.

He responded to the comments; it doesn’t matter whether they were made by ‘a regular broad’ or Michelle Obama. He was presumably aware of them because he sometimes reads Ken’s blog. If he thinks those comments make a case that is worth addressing, why shouldn’t he address them? It has nothing to do with your paranoia over the standing of men.

... to see how wrong you are, click on this and scroll toward the bottom of the page: http://guyinism.com/dirksxploits/gay-guyinist-goofs/

Umm, it’s a metaphor. I doubt Karin really cares about the size of your penis. The suggestion is that you’re insecure in some ways in regard to women. A point supported by your perplexing need to link to an image of your penis to show the woman how ‘wrong’ she was.

I'm having trouble discerning what facts (plural) I got wrong.

Oh come on, you got at least one wrong and you must know it (go back and look at your rhetorical question/answer): you said women like her don’t start their own companies because they don’t have the requisite drive, determination, and/or reasoning ability.
She started her own company. You’re wrong on a point of fact, QED.

Stephen Parkes said...

David Kirkpatrick said:

The relationship with "Erica Albright" is as made up as her name. The first scene is entirely invented. All Sorkin had to work with to create it was Zuckerberg writing in his journal "--- is a bitch." He used that to imagine why Zuckerberg might think that a girl is a bitch. This is from Sorkin's imagination and not from reality.

I didn’t know much about the history and development of facebook before I saw this film, yet even so it was obvious to me that that opening scene was a very much fictional part of a basically fictional movie based on factual events. Zuckerberg made some misogynistic comments when he was angry and drunk. I’m willing to cut him a little slack for that – we all said and did stupid things when we’re young. (On the other hand, I’ve never made misogynistic comments sober or drunk – you can’t blame state of mind on just alcohol.) But Sorkin can certainly use this to speculate about the sort of things that someone like that might have said and done to get there. Has Sorkin or Fincher really claimed this was a documentary?

Stephen Parkes said...

Andrew said:
Fincher is as much at fault. His masturbatory promise of gruesome death in Seven contradicts the conservative moralizing of Morgan Freeman's character. Which are we supposed to identify with? How many people like Seven because of its message?

Not sure what your point is here. Didn’t you point out to someone else that we aren’t talking about other movies? Anyway, I liked Seven for the formal qualities, mostly. Amy Taubin (I think it was) correctly described it as great filmmaking, without being a great film. She’s right. Fincher didn’t write the script for Seven, which I thought was pretty dumb, morally.

The film [The Social Network] is also primarily about Zuckerberg. Though, not entirely. It betrays its own study of him by allowing us to connect with some peripheral characters. Mainly Eduardo. Why else would we feel sorry for him if we are entirely from Zuckerberg's perspective.

The film is primarily about Zuckerberg, but also about the principal characters in the legal disputes over facebook (around which the plot was constructed) – that being Zuckerberg, Eduardo and the Winklevoss twins; those characters aren’t “peripheral”. The Social Network is in part a character study, true. But I’m not sure why you think the film betrays its study of (the fictional) Zuckerberg just because it also allows us to connect with other characters.

Anonymous said...

It didn't bother me at all. I saw it as a reflection on the boys, not the girls.

One suggestion, though. In the sequel, there should be more gunfights and explosions.y

songbird said...

when i first saw the movie this was the exact theory i had for the way the girls were portrayed in the film.though rasheeda was a far cry from these girls she did have a smaller role.i saw the characters not there genders so much.the fact that aaron had to explain this and that he so graciously chose to do is something i admire.but this was pointed out to me by a friend who till very recently didn't see the film.and it was this friend who pointed this out as something objectionable..it's not that i don't take offence at poor portrayal of women in films but it extends to certain shows only.

charlie said...

Fantastic and simple explanation. I saw it all this way while watching the film, so I (as a woman) didn't have any of these sexism issues that others have brought up since Social Network hit theaters.

I also felt that it was incredibly meaningful that this film gave two women (Rooney and Rashida) the first and last words about Zuckerberg. Their comments bookend the film perfectly, along with Zuckerberg's final action before the closing credits (friending "Erica" and refreshing his page over and over again to see if she responds)

Mike said...

Aaron is a super nice guy. The only people that give him problems are jealous people.

andrew said...

i got to agree with Mike on this one.