Monday, February 25, 2019

Who to blame? Facebook!

We live in the Age of Facebook, and might well die together because that platform's strengths as well as its numerous weaknesses leave us vulnerable to every sort of blunder.

For years now, most of the older souls around me have been posting and checking posts daily. I have read and read again that 70 percent of us get the bulk of our news from that rapacious, easily manipulated social media platform. Is that an accurate figure? I doubt it, if only because not every American belongs to Mark Z's empire of code and compulsion. (I've never signed up, though I understand that my data has been harvested from every member's postings, and such.) Yet I have seen enough nonsense from both sides of the political terrain to shiver in terror. Today's ignorance about issues and reality? That always existed, yes, but it was dampened down during the Age of Cronkite. During the Age of Lucid Republicans. During the Age of the Clear Soviet Threat.

Over the weekend, I rewatched THE SOCIAL NETWORK. And I have two takeaways.

One: As so often happens in film, children are played by actors who are a few years older than their namesakes. Jesse Eisenberg was 26 or 27 when he pretended to be Mark Zuckerberg. Who was just a sophomore in college. I'm not going to argue that 26 year-old men are sages dripping wisdom, but there is maturity there that you just don't expect to find in a 19 year-old kid. And the 19 year-old is a kid, regardless of his IQ or the Harvard backdrop. This is not to say that the fictional Mark doesn't act like an impulsive boy. But imagine every scene with a different actor. A younger, less graceful child who might one day grow up to be Jesse Eisenberg. But isn't there yet.

And Two: I do like the movie, reservations aside. And this second watching gave me a small revelation. Suppose Mark Zuckerberg doesn't care that much about money. It's his cleverness that matters, and the reach of his cleverness.

Let's take that as the truth.

A businessman who doesn't recognize the value of his billions presents his own kind of danger. Because he will be surrounded by powers that do love money, who see it in the world and will find a multitude of ways to catch it in their nets, and very few of those powers are going to give a rat's ass about any company's moral bearings.

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