Aaron Sorkin and David Fincher present us with a look at the Millenials in their film, The Social Network.
David Brooks summarizes the film's backdrop:
In “The Social Network,” the director David Fincher and the screenwriter Aaron Sorkin imagine that these two Harvards still exist side by side. On top, there is the old WASP Harvard of Mayflower families, regatta blazers and Anglo-Saxon cheekbones. Underneath, there is the largely Jewish and Asian Harvard of brilliant but geeky young strivers.
Ideals like Honor animated “the Greatest Generation” and can be seen in the WASP's of Harvard. One of the WASP’s in the film says they will not attack the strivers because “we are gentleman of Harvard.” Unfortunately, the film shows the strivers outfoxing the WASP’s.
Eduardo Saverin, one of the strivers, fits Brooks’ description of an “Organization Kid.” He is obedient, hard-working, and a careerist. But he is also a “flat soul” as Allan Bloom described in The Closing of the American Mind. He is not inspired by anything really greater than himself. He is a faint shadow of the WASP's.
That his best friend would be Mark Zuckerberg in the film should not be surprising then. Zuckerberg is like the Organization Kids in all ways except one: he is disobedient (Facemash) and disloyal (stabs Saverin in the back). He is more consistent than Saverin because he realizes friendship is out the window too when there are no principles guiding one’s life. Lacking any anchor in family, church, or tradition, Zuckerberg’s individualism (selfishness) reigns supreme; however, the last scene suggests Zuckerberg pays the heaviest price of all. He is on his labtop, sitting in the dark, hitting the refresh button over and over, hoping a girl will accept his friend request. His pettiness causes him to be alone, wishing he has friends.
The film shows the degeneration of the college elite: honor bound Winklevii to the loyal Saverin to the machiavellian Zuckerberg.