Friday, May 13, 2011

Pop Culture Roundup

I've been reading Eugene Peterson's memoir, simply titled The Pastor. I plan to write a full review of it, so for now this is all you get.

We finally watched The Social Network this week, starring Jessie Eisenberg as Mark Zuckerberg, the creator of Facebook. The movie chronicles the beginning of the site, starting with Zuckerberg getting dumped (deservedly) by his girlfriend and his seeking revenge by coming up with an online program inviting Harvard students to choose the better-looking between two randomly generated photos of female classmates. This gets the attention of a couple other students who want to create an online social network for Harvard students and who ask him to help build the program. He agrees, only to go off with his own idea for such a site, which eventually gets him sued by the three guys. In addition, Zuckerberg takes up with Sean Parker (whom you may remember as the creator of Napster), who greatly influences his decision-making in trying to make the site as big as possible. Along the way, this includes screwing over his best friend and business parter, Eduardo Saverin, who eventually sues him around the same time as the guys who claim that he stole their idea. This movie left me wondering whether Zuckerberg (and Parker, for that matter) is really this much of an ass in real life. He has next to no social skills and is incredibly impressed with his own intellect, alienating everybody around him. At the same time, the theme running through the movie is one's desire to connect with others, which Zuckerberg does exhibit even through his self-absorbed demeanor. The final scene brings this full circle in a subtle and pathetic way, revealing something about Mark but also offering a commentary on how Facebook has influenced our ideas of relationship-building. I've since read that the movie is based on a book that Saverin wrote shortly after the lawsuit, so things were probably still pretty raw for him and thus there was a certain amount of bias that was bound to shine through.

I've been listening to and enjoying Sigh No More by Mumford and Sons this week. I was first exposed to them through their performance at the Grammys alongside The Avett Brothers and Bob Freaking* Dylan, and thought, "Wow, I should check out more of their stuff." And then I didn't for a couple months. This past week I finally downloaded their whole album and have listened to it pretty much every day, enjoying their high-energy brand of folk-rock. The two singles, "The Cave" and "Little Lion Man" are good, but "Dust Bowl Dance" is another favorite for me. But really, the whole album is very good.

And here is said Grammy performance:

*I'm sure that's his actual middle name. I read it on Wikipedia.