Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Time Magazine's Person of the Year: Mark Zuckerberg

Time, Dec 27, 2010 - Jan 3, 2011. Double Issue with the Person of the Year cover story on "Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg: The Connector". The introduction to the cover story: Richard Stengel: "Only Connect. Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook are changing how we interact - and what we know about each other". The cover story itself, "2010 Person of the Year: Mark Zuckerberg" is written by Lev Grossman.

Having read Lev Grossman's article I realize I have to reconsider The Social Network, voted in Sight & Sound as the movie of the year.

"The character [in the movie] bears almost no resemblance to the actual Mark Zuckerberg", is Grossman's assessment based on observations on Zuckerberg's warm family background, relationship status (same girl since before Facebook), and his "almost pathological" indifference to money, lifestyle and status symbols.

Zuckerberg "rented out a bunch of movie theaters and took the whole company to see [The Social Network]". Zuckerberg's comment on the film: "It just like completely misses the actual motivation for what we're doing, which is, we think it's an awesome thing to do".

Grossman: "The reality is that Zuckerberg isn't alienated, and he isn't a loner. He's the opposite. He's spent his whole life in tight, supportive, intensely connected social enviroments". "Zuckerberg loves being around people. He didn't build Facebook so he could have a social life like the rest of us. He built it because he wanted the rest of us to have his".

Grossman presents profound critical reservations to the Facebook model of networking. But Zuckerberg emerges in his article as a visionary who is also a nice guy.

Myself, I'm not in Facebook. The first invitations I received turned out to be from people who were not even aware they had invited me and were not necessarily in Facebook themselves. I have nothing against Facebook but my New Year's promise would rather be to increase live networking and decrease time spent online.
Also worth reading in this issue of the Time Magazine: the Farewell section, including:
Lena Horne - cover girl of the section - in her own words
Dennis Hopper - by Peter Fonda
Solomon Burke - by Cee Lo Green (reading this I start to hear "Cry To Me", the high point in Dirty Dancing, playing in my mind)
José Saramago - by Harold Bloom (Blindness)
Éric Rohmer - by Arielle Dombasle
Patricia Neal - by Sophie Dahl
Tony Curtis - by Kirk Douglas
Charlie Wilson - by Tom Hanks (Charlie Wilson's War)
Leslie Nielsen - by Jerry Zucker
Alexander Haig - by Henry Kissinger (portrayed by Powers Boothe and Paul Sorvino in Oliver Stone's Nixon)
J.D. Salinger - by Richard Lacayo - Salinger successfully prevented any film adaptation of The Catcher in the Rye - a similar recluse appeared in Finding Forrester, interpreted by Sean Connery
Arthur Penn - by Warren Beatty

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