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“The Social Network”: Glorifying Litigation Over Innovation

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Posted on October 5 2010 11:00 am
Scott Spiegel blogs at http://www.scottspiegel.com. He can be reached at spiegelscott@yahoo.com.

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Leftists hate movies about business because they don’t understand its function and believe wealth is generated by redistributing it from rich people who “appropriated” it from the masses.

Leftists love movies about lawyers, because litigation is the primary means by which they can take down prosperous corporations and “spread the wealth around.”

No business venture was ever launched on the primary basis of deciding who would get what profits if the undertaking were successful. No litigation to determine who gets what for his role in a venture was ever instrumental in helping an undertaking succeed.

“The Social Network,” the recent film about the founding of Facebook, could have been an exciting, uplifting, inspiring, rags-to-riches story about a young entrepreneur who started a $25 billion company and became the youngest billionaire ever, and the creative steps he went through in solving thorny design, implementation, and managerial problems.

Instead, Hollywood has given us a nasty, cynical, exploitative yarn about slimy people harassing and suing the pants off one another, excruciating and embarrassing depositions taken and disputed, and flimsy contracts and partnerships violated and dissolved.

To the extent that “The Social Network” is engaging, it’s like watching a 12-car pileup, where the cars are driven by obnoxious social climbers and rapacious lawyers.

The development of the Facebook site and its spreading use around the world should have been the main story of the film, with the ugly legal wrangling just blips in the background. Instead, the film puts the malicious finger-pointing and backstabbing front and center, with details about the creation of the site mere interludes between the bickering.

Maybe a movie focusing only on the virtuoso creation of Facebook wouldn’t have been enough of a film—maybe Facebook simply isn’t that monumental an achievement. But that doesn’t mean a film dwelling on the legal fallout is a keeper either.

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