We’re nearing the end of the moments from last night’s Golden Globes that deserve to be exhaustively analyzed, but we’re not done quite yet. Aaron Sorkin still needs some special attention. Sorkin won the Golden Globe for Best Screenplay and gave what started out as a nicely delivered, gracious speech, before it devolved into the night’s best moment of secret narcissism. That was the moment when Aaron Sorkin told Mark Zuckerberg that a fictional creation of Aaron Sorkin’s had gotten Mark Zuckerberg all wrong. Aaron Sorkin himself, however, well, he’s never wrong.
Toward the end of his speech, Sorkin said, “I wanted to say to Mark Zuckerberg tonight, if you’re watching, Rooney Mara’s character makes a prediction at the beginning of the movie. She was wrong. You turned out to be a great entrepreneur, a visionary, and an incredible altruist.” (Fincher, during his speech, was also sure to thank Zuckerberg. No one is rocking this Oscar boat.) Sorkin was referring to the scene at the very beginning of The Social Network in which Mara’s character, Erica Albright, tells Jesse Eisenberg’s Zuckerberg, “You are probably going to be a very successful computer person, but you’re going to go through life thinking that girls don’t like you because you’re a nerd. And I want you to know, from the bottom of my heart, that that won’t be true. It’ll be because you’re an asshole.” Keep in mind that Erica Albright is a totally fictional creation of Aaron Sorkin’s, and this scene and this dialogue never actually took place. In other words, Aaron Sorkin is blaming one of his fictional creations for being “wrong” about Mark Zuckerberg, even though the person who was actually “wrong” about Mark Zuckerberg was … Aaron Sorkin.
We don’t know if this is a writerly tic — the characters have become so real, they have minds of their own! — or if Aaron Sorkin has a really hard time uttering the words “I was wrong.” Either way, it’s not a particularly convincing apology: Apologies made on behalf of made-up people tend to be like that. Plus, it’s patronizing to think Zuckerberg would be interested in an apology from this fictitious Erica. She may be “real” to Sorkin, but there’s no way she’s real to Zuckerberg, who, more than anyone, knows just how fabricated she is.
There was also something off about Sorkin making a woman, just about the only woman in The Social Network, the straw man of his apology, especially since he did it right before he looked around the room and said, “I want to thank all the female nominees tonight for helping demonstrate to my young daughter that elite is not a bad word, it’s an aspirational one. Honey, look around, smart girls have more fun, and you’re one of them.” Aaron Sorkin, also not responsible for there being almost no smart girls in The Social Network!