Last year the film that defined my time in CCT more than any other was Avatar. It felt like everyone had something to say about the blockbuster that now holds the title of highest grossing film of all time. From the semiotics of its 3D graphics, to its race and colonial politics, the number of points of entry combined with the popularity of its circulation made for a media hotbed of productive analysis.
CCT’s Professor Irvine actually screened a clip from the Avatar trailer at my orientation in 2009, which set the tone for this area of discourse throughout the term, but up until now, I felt like that kind of shared text had been missing from this 2010-2011 school year. However, last night I saw The Social Network, colloquially called “The Facebook Movie,” and would like to think that this could take its place.
The Social Network provides several points of entry for critical thought along the lines of Avatar. The race and gender politics are front and center as issues of female erasure (it certainly did not pass The Bechdel Test) and representations of Asian-American specialized labor appear regardless of intentions of obfuscation. Further, seeing a fictionalized representation of the founding of a social networking site offers a glimpse into the kinds of decisions that create such sites. This, in turn, could become the point of departure for projects seeking to consider the contingency of facebook culture.
What interested me the most was a combination of these questions. I saw strong possibilities for queer readings of the film that would show how the erasure of female characters and the emergence of multiple and mobile homoerotic tensions were dependent on one another and, further, how the Mark Zuckerberg-Eduardo Saverin relationship, or perhaps the Zuckerberg-Saverin-Parker love triangle, came to define the technology we all use today within the narrative. The homoerotic gazes are there, the unexplained betrayal, and even parallel sex acts.
At any rate, though, I’d love to hear more people’s thoughts on the film. If nothing else, the press response has been overwhelmingly positive so I hope the piece will continue grace the pages of Gnovis as we move forward.