Make no bones about it, there has been a rift between the new media: (electronic news services, social network sites, movie and music file sharing sites) and the OLD Guard: (Hollywood, TV news, and newspapers.)
I, (and thousands of other writers) learned about this “rift” many years ago when we wanted to add our web site addresses at the bottom of our newspaper editorials, and were told by the newspaper editors: “Hell no, we are NOT promoting your little Internet web site. Goofy people say goofy things on the Internet and you cannot trust any of it. Besides, the Internet is just a fad, like the pet rock; people will get bored with it.”
I wanted to tell the newspaper editor that goofy people have been saying goofy things in the newspapers FOR YEARS. (I know, I was one of those goofy people.) But why throw gas on a fire that is already burning hot. You could get burned.
So today, I do get a (“see, I told you so” type of) chuckle when I see newspapers promoting their “Internet” (pet rock) version, and how “up to date” it is. Or a TV News program that will check it’s Twitter site to see what “us” bloggers are saying, when a big news story happens.
Make no mistake, the OLD guard still doesn’t understand this new medium, and doesn’t have a very high opinion of it.
Case in point:
Until a few years ago, NBC fought hard to keep any clips from their TV show: Saturday Night Live, from appearing on YouTube. The thinking from NBC was that if people viewed the SNL clips on the Internet, they wouldn’t bother to watch the TV show.
This logic couldn’t be further from the truth.
Viewing a 3 minute clip from SNL actually causes many people to tune into the show, and in fact; acts like a highway billboard reminding people about your show (or product.) It is a totally free form of advertisement.
A few years ago, talk show hosts Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly used to refer to Internet users as: “Kook Bloggers”, but not anymore. Bill O’Reilly features bloggers on his TV show, and Rush Limbaugh will sometimes read articles written by bloggers, on his radio show. (To give credit where credit is due: Sean Hannity was way ahead of this trend by adding a message board to his web site years and years ago. Followed by Glenn Beck, who had a blogging function on his web site about 4 years ago.)
It would seem VERY clear that those people who grab a hold of the NEW medium are moving forward, those who cling to the past are being left behind. (In ad revenue, in popularity, in ratings, etc)
So who, (in their right mind) would dare to condemn the Internet age..??
Does Hollywood believe that “we” are a bunch of social misfits, who have no “real” friends, and we sit in a dark room, (with our 12 cats), banging away at a computer keyboard, talking to other “losers” on these Internet Social web sites?
Enter the movie: The Social Network (the story of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg)
Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I have not seen the movie. I probably will not see this movie until it arrives to my house by way of one of the premium channels that we have. I must tell you this because there is a blogger named Martin who gets really mad if I talk about a movie that I haven’t seen yet. As I tell Martin, each time this happens: “I am not going over the dialog in the story, or what they meant by the action in scene three. I am talking about ‘the buzz’ that a movie creates.”
And “BUZZ” is something that this movie is creating.
Two points that the movie- “The Social Network” are generating, that I wanted to talk about today are; (Point one) People who use these social networks are actually anti-social people in REAL life. (Point two) It is OK to make a fictional story based on REAL people, and not talk to those REAL people about it.
Let’s tackle the latter first…
Aaron Sorkin, (who wrote the movie- The Social Network) never talked to Facebook creator- Mark Zuckerberg, (the MAIN character in his movie.) Sorkin admits that the movie is fiction. Sorkin explains his knowledge of Facebook this way: “I have heard of Facebook, in the same way I’ve heard of a carburetor. But if I opened the hood of my car, I wouldn’t know how to find it.”
Aaaah, Mister Sorkin…
Unless you are driving a GTO from the seventies, your car doesn’t have a carburetor. So look all you want under the hood, but you are not going to find a “carburetor” in your modern car.
And you are not going to find the truth in a story if you do not talk to the main person involved in that story, or experience the true stage of your play- (which is) Facebook.
Far be it for ME to tell people what they can, and cannot do; in art. I wouldn’t want to do that.
I would not want someone telling me what I can do with this little Internet site. I love having the freedom to wake up and decide what I will put here, today.
But where do you draw the line between “storytelling” and “propaganda?”
What’s the beef..??
People who know Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg and have seen this movie, claim that Zuckerberg is nothing like what is being portrayed in the movie. He is not an anti-social person, he is just shy. He is actually a practical joker who has many friends. He is not the cut-throat business man that the movie is showing.
The movie makers claim that this movie is a fictional story, (based loosely on some facts) so what is the big deal?
OK, so what..??
Where does “storytelling” end, and “propaganda” begin? (And who will decide?)
Let’s take a walk back to the “old days.”
Mr. Smith goes to Washington
The storytellers of this movie, (Mr. Smith goes to Washington) used a fictional man who was newly elected to the US senate. He was surrounded by fictional senators, (some good, some bad) and they laid out their fictional story, using fictional people.
Now, maybe when the movie was released, some people did try and figure out who the REAL “Mr. Smith” might be. But no indication was ever really given.
I guess the storytellers could have linked the movie to some BIG event- maybe The Great Depression. And they could have picked a Senator that they liked from that time period, and made him the main character, using his real name. Also, they could have named senators that they didn’t like and used them as the “bad guys”; but they didn’t do that. Instead, they kept the whole piece fictional.
Why is this important..??
Because, if you use actual names, actual products, and actual historical events; you kind of have to tell the truth about what happened. Otherwise, you are lying about history.
Today, storytellers do not seem to care about stuff like that.
When you name your movie: “THE Social Network”, and you use the actual creators name: Mark Zuckenberg; and your story is based on Facebook; yet, you have never talked to Zuckenberg, nor used Facebook; HOW CAN YOU TELL THE STORY OF FACEBOOK?
“Because it is fiction, dude.”
How can it be fiction if you are using the REAL company name, and the REAL creators name..?
For the love of God, man. You have entered the realm of propaganda.
“Star Wars” was NOT the future story of an epic battle between The United States and Communist Russia. No. It was a tale of a battle in a galaxy far, far away; between The Republic and The Empire. Sure, there were “little hints” throughout the movie. But there was no need to slap you in the face with a political message.
When you use real names of people, and you use real events that have taken place, (and especially if these people are still alive to talk about the event) you have GOT TO TRY and be accurate.
If you want to tell the story of a geeky mis-fit who creates an Internet sensation, fine; tell that story, however use fictional people.
But when you use an actual person like Mark Zuckerberg as modeling clay, to mold (him) into the shape that you want to fit YOUR storyline, you are doing propaganda.
OK, enough about that.
The second point I wanted to make, which is being brought about by the release of “The Social Network” is:
“People who use these social networks are losers. Social mis-fits who talk to each other on the computer. People who need to get a life.”
I have to laugh at this, it couldn’t be further from the truth. I have a full life. I work a 10 hour day. I write, draw, fish, do photography, ride Harley’s, gamble, and have a hell of a good time.
For me, the Internet is an extension of the editorial page in a newspaper. However here on the Internet, no one is telling me to keep it under 350 words (maybe somebody should, hah- hah); or no one is telling me to forget a topic, because “our readers” will not be interested in it.
Nope, not here. On the Internet, anything goes. You sink or you swim, but it is all up to you.
So I get offended when movie director Oliver Stone says that people who use YouTube are “masturbating with a camera. They are amateurs who haven’t studied, or perfected the ‘craft’, and are a waste of time”
Sure Mr. Stone, I guess I could sit in front of the TV and watch the new collection of reality shows that are on. Or I could watch old movies of yours. But instead, I choose to interact with people on the Internet.
Which begs the question…
Just who is it, who is anti-social?
A person who sits in front of the TV watching old Oliver Stone movies?
Or a person who interacts with people, from all over the world, on the Internet?
Explain to me again which person is anti-social..??
Written by AR Babonie for The Angry Republic
Coming soon to The Angry Republic
A very scary Halloween Story