Three Things That Rocked Me Like A Hurricane Last Week
The Social Network. I am an unabashed fan of Aaron Sorkin, from the heights rapid-fire walking and talking he reached with The West Wing to the swiftly forgotten self-aggrandizement of Studio 60 One the Sunset Strip, I have enjoyed them all. I’m also partial to David Fincher. Trent Reznor’s instrumental work basically got me through studying for law school finals with its dark ominous tones. So why did I avoid a movie that puts all three together while it was in theaters? I have no idea. Something about The Social Network failed to grab my interest. I thought it looked good and made vague plans to Netflix it eventually, but I never worked up the energy to see it during its theatrical run. Not even the Oscar buzz for the film could get my ass in the seat. Something about the subject matter just didn’t appeal to me. But having finally watched it, I have to ask myself: What took so long? This movie was awesome. Well written, directed, and acted. The most compelling part of Facebook’s creation myth was the portrait it paints of Zuckerberg: ruthless genius and profoundly sad dude, a Charles Foster Kane for the Internet age. I especially loved the framing device of present-day depositions taking us back to the early Harvard days of the social networking behemoth.
Portal 2. This game makes my head hurt. In a good way. I’m still puzzling my way through the single player campaign, but I can already tell that Valve have hit this one out of the park. I’m almost completely desensitized to the simulated sensations of video games. Rarely do I get a visceral thrill. But the dizzying possibilities set up by the simple mechanic of creating a portal between two points in space often leaves me feeling slightly breathless. The voice acting is great as well. I could listen to Steven Merchant read the phone book, but the voice of the robot Wheatley is hilarious.
The Economist. I am a long time subscriber to the best weekly magazine in the history of the printed word, and their recent release of the iPad app has opened the magazine up for me in new and more convenient ways. My chief issue with the paper is the sheer deluge of information it rains down on my every week. Classically liberal, but intensely focused on taking the long view of the weeks news stories The Economist delves deeper and takes a wider scope than any other paper. This week’s edition goes deep into the dysfunctional workings of Californian politics with a special report on the failings of “extreme democracy”. It’s more riveting than it sounds. Plus, infographics!