If you’re a Harvard student who has seen “The Social Network” since its buzz-worthy release last Friday, chances are you have a bone to pick with the portrayal of Facebook founder Mark E. Zuckerberg, the Winklevoss ’04 twins, and other Harvardians in the film. How could you not? It’s personal.
Cue Harvard Professor of Economics and EC10 guru, N. Gregory Mankiw, who wrote in his blog yesterday that although he enjoyed “The Social Network”, he was irked by the fact that “Every Harvard undergrad portrayed in the film was a pompous snob, an annoying social climber, or an antisocial nerd (or some combination of the three).” Those of you who felt misrepresented by “The Social Network” may find a shred of solace in Professor Mankiw’s contention that “Most Harvard undergrads are in fact quite likable. If they were as unpleasant as the film made out, I would have left here long ago.” With 25 years of experience teaching real live Harvard students, Professor Mankiw makes a good argument.
It’s not just Mankiw who felt that the portrayal of Harvard students was one-sided. Harvard alum John Lopez ’03 writes in Vanity Fair that “the only person who’s not an asshole [in “The Social Network”] is Andrew Garfield’s ever-lovable Eduardo L. Saverin ’05.”
Are the complaints of inaccuracy legitimate? Or are we really that bad? It’s ultimately a matter of opinion. Harvard freshman Luis G. Miranda ’14 said that although he perceived the movie to “parody” the many Harvard student stereotypes, he also realized that these stereotypes simply reinforced mainstream’s “preconceived notion of us.” Miranda added that “it was a definitely wake up call” to the enduring strength of these stereotypes in popular view.
Photo courtesy of The Harvard Crimson.