Should the Winklevoss Twins Defend “The Social Network?”

In an interview with Manny the Movie Guy, Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss were asked how they believe they were portrayed in the movie “The Social Network.” Here is their response.

“I think we were portrayed as guys who were trying to do the right thing, and had a certain moral code, and sort of did our best to deal with an individual that was unethical.”(1)

And the accuracy of the film?

“It’s definitely a true story, and it’s very well documented, and there’s been a lot of litigation, unfortunately. But if anybody does their research, they’ll see that these betrayals did in fact happen.”(1)

So not only do they believe the movie is spot-on, they believe they were portrayed as good guys and victims. After all, Mark Zuckerberg was portrayed as an anti-social, self-centered asshole. And the way he smiled after Tyler told him they row crew all but screamed the question “how can I fuck these guys over?”

But upon closer examination of the Winklevoss’s and Divya Narendra’s behavior in the following scene, it became apparent that their real-life counterparts should have actually paid attention to how they were actually portrayed.

The twins took Mark to the Porcelain Club so they could discuss their idea for Harvard Connection. Nothing wrong with that expect Mark wasn’t even a member. The twins knew it, yet Tyler asked “ever been in the Porcelain?” When Mark replied negative, Tyler added, “You understand we can’t take you past the bike room, ’cause you’re not a member.”

Then why not to take him to a nearby coffee shop to discuss Harvard Connection? That would have been regular, neutral ground where they could have a comfortable conversation. Why an elite Final Club that he wasn’t even a member of? Oh, yeah. At least he’s allowed in the bike room.

You can tell that they weren’t fully aware of what they were really doing at the time, but subconscious or not, it was an act of superiority. And their reasons did not stay subconscious for long. During a disposition scene Tyler sneered at Mark “Excuse us for inviting you in!”

Yes! Exactly! Mark should have been awed and grateful that he, a lowly middle-class sophomore who probably had to earn a scholarship to go to Harvard, would actually be granted the privilege of setting foot in the granddaddy of all Harvard clubs. And they even bought him a cheap sandwich wrapped in cellophane that was at least three days old! How dare he not be grateful!

After Divya Narendra is introduced, the conversation gears toward Mark’s invention of an app he invented. After admitting that he uploaded it for free despite Microsoft’s offer to buy it, Divya asks “Why?” while his tone asks “why the hell would you do something so stupid?” Mark shrugs in a way that says “I don’t know,” and “fuck you,” at the same time, which the official screenplay confirmed(2).

After the issue of Harvard Connection is brought up, Marks asks what’s the difference between it and MySpace or Friendster. The twins exchange glances as though the answer should be the most obvious thing in the world. Finally Tyler says in a deeply superior tone “Harvard(dot)edu.” In fact, the whole site is based on how superior Harvard is to everything and everyone else. Girls want to get with guys that go to Harvard and “the main difference between what we”re talking about and MySpace or Friendster or any of those other social networking sites is (exclusivity).” And when you watch The Social Network again, pay close attention to the sneering, dismissive tone Tyler uses when he compares MySpace and Friendster to Harvard Connection.

The last tactic the twins and Divya use to entice Mark into working with them is the fact that the women of Harvard are angry with him and this “could help rehabilitate your image.” Mark’s reply is the exactly the same as Erica’s when Mark told her that he wanted to take her to a Final Club so she would get to meet people “she wouldn’t normally get to meet.”

“You would do that for me?”

This last part reminded me of a scene in one of my favorite books “Life in the Fat Lane” by Cherie Bennett. In it the main character Lara Ardeche, a beautiful, wealthy high school junior, takes pity on the fattest girl in the school Patty Asher and offers to help her lose weight after her hearing her popular friends make fun of her.

“Patty, wait a sec,” I called to her.

She turned around.

I took a deep breath. “Look, I know that the things people say to you…well, I must know it must really hurt your feelings.”

She just stared at me.

“I mean, I know we aren’t really friends,” I rushed on. “But…but we could be! You know Molly Sheridan? We’ve been best friends forever. Well, she kinda has a weight problem, too. So, we’re planning on exercising together. You know, on a regular basis? We have this home gym? And I was thinking that the three of us could work out together! You know. At my house. You have such a pretty face.”

A muscle jumped in Patty’s fat cheek. “So, you’re going to save me, is that it?”

“Well, no, I just meant–“

Her face flushed with anger. “Where do you get off talking to me about personal things? You’ve never said more than two sentences to me before.”

My cheeks burned with embarrassment. “We worked on the play,” I said defensively. “We talked.”

“Right. Once you told me it was amazing I could play an old lady so convincingly without using makeup.”

“I meant that as a compliment, that you’re so talented–“

“I’m fat, not stupid,” Patty spat at me.

“Look, I didn’t mean to insult you–“

“No? So what did you mean to do?”

“I just want to help you–“

“What in the world makes you think I want help from you?” she asked me.

“Look, I know you’re just reacting this way because you’re embarrassed–“

“God, you’re amazing!” Patty exclaimed. “Do you think I don’t know that you and your little band of oh-so-cool friends think I’m this fat, pathetic loser? Well, guess what, Lara Ardeche? I think you’re pathetic! If you get crowned queen, it’ll be the highlight of your pathetic little life!” She turned and stormed out of the bathroom.

I just stood there, my mouth open, my hands shaking. I couldn’t believe what had just happened. There I was, being nice, trying to help her, and she acted like I had done something terrible!

Um, you did do something terrible. Patty’s practically a stranger to you. Who the hell are you to presume what she wants to do with her own body?

Later in the book, Patty visits Lara (who now weighs over two-hundred pounds thanks to metabolic disorder) in the hospital and explains her reaction.

Tears stung my eyes. “I never did anything to you.”

“Well, see, that’s the whole point. That’s how you see it. It’s funny really. You never said mean things to me like Blake or Jenny. You thought you were being nice with your I-feel-sooooo-sorry-for-a-fat-blob-like-Fatty-Patty. I guess I’ll take pity on her and try to help her lose weight. You were sooo superior, weren’t you, and I was supposed to be sooo grateful and for that, I hated you most of all.”

And aside from Divya and the Winklevoss’s superior presumption, their behavior reveals two things that they hold in high regard: money and image. They’re snobs, pure and simple. If they were this condescending and superior to Mark barely after meeting him, it makes you imagine how they would be if he gave them Facebook.

In an email to a friend, the real-life Mark said he was going to “fuck these guys in the ear.” He did, and if they’re the kind of people who would treat someone that way, they definitely deserved it.

Sources:

1. Manny the Movie Guy Interview

2. The Social Network Script

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