“The Social Network”
 
            It’s in the first scene, when his girlfriend is breaking up with him, that we see the whole personality basis for Mark Zuckerberg.  He’s a genius.  Not so much because he talks so fast, and spouts ideas so quickly, but because he can analyze not only every word spoken, but also every quiver of eyelash, tremolo of pitch, subtext and context and what is unspoken but implied, inferred but not necessarily intended, and the implications, two sentences later, of further developing the current thought.  Yes, kind of like a chess master with concepts.  His girlfriend says that being in a relationship with him is like being on a mental stairmaster.  It’s exhausting.
            Obviously, Mark Zuckerberg has the kind of mind that just won’t quit.  The fact that he made a 1600 (perfect) score on his SAT indicates the limitlessness of his mental capacity, but what about a significant outlet?  He’s a computer programming student at Harvard.  He lives in a dorm, on the 3rd floor.  He has a roommate.  He wants to be attractive to the young coeds, but they seem to be not only offput by his nerdiness, but also repelled by his intellectual condescension.  Yes, he’s not only a dork, but also an arrogant dork.  Which was the perfect personality combination to be the founder of Facebook.
            Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) realizes that the students on campus want to connect with each other.  He programs a website, from his laptop in his room, hacking into the photo database of the school itself, asking people to compare female students, two at a time, by their ‘hotness”.  Hmm, the one on the left, or the one on the right?  In the blink of a cyberflash, it’s 4 a.m. and so many students have logged on that the entire Harvard computer system crashes.  Zuckerberg is officially and officiously reprimanded, but is secretly proud of his achievement, and tells the school officials they should thank him for pointing out the flaws in their security firewalls.
            Zuckerberg is then approached by a couple of student-athletes on the rowing team about setting up a kind of social network website for the entire student body.  Zuckerberg is intrigued, but thinks he can develop a superior site than these rich, snobby pseudo-jocks, and he’s right, of course.  He enlists his roommate, the business major, to be his CFO, and launches “The Facebook” from his dorm room.  It’s such an immediate excitement to the other students that soon they are talking about expanding to the Yale and Columbia student bodies.  They then meet Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake), who founded Napster, the music-downloading website that essentially brought down the record industry as we knew it.  Sean Parker thinks big.  He insists they must move their operation to California , and start involving the Stanford campus.  Somewhere in the move, Zuckerberg and his old roommate, Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield), have a falling out, essentially over Parker’s involvement.  But soon Zuckerberg falls out with everyone, and that’s how we viewers hear the story:  it’s a deposition conference.  All the principals, along with their attorneys, are involved in lawsuits and counter-lawsuits, over things like intellectual property rights (“He stole my idea!”) to dilution of common stock percentage (“He squeezed me out of my rightful interest!”).  In the end, Zuckerberg has to pay them all, in the millions, but like one of their lawyers says, it’s like a traffic ticket to him.  He’s the world’s youngest billionaire.  But somehow, to us, he still looks like the arrogant geek who not only knows he’s smarter than everyone in the room, he can’t resist telling them all that they can’t even demand his undivided attention.
            Ah, genius.  What are you going to do?  Well, you go home and look at your Facebook page, and see what your friends are up to today…….and Mark Zuckerberg laughs all the way to the bank.
 
            Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Pastor, Grace Presbyterian Church, Greenville , Texas