Allison Kaplan Sommer in the new firewalled Haaretz wants to talk about Mark Zuckerberg's intermarriage to Priscilla Chan. Oh please, who cares any more! But Sommer makes an interesting point:
When the movie "The Social Network" came out, Zuckerberg reportedly took great offense with the way in which screenwriter Aaron Sorkin implied that he created Facebook in order to meet girls, specifically non-Jewish girls...
I tend to believe that Zuckerberg - who met Chan at [a Harvard fraternity party like one in the film] didn’t, in fact, intentionally set out in search of a non-Jewish girlfriend or wife. Religion and ethnic identity was and is simply irrelevant to him, and, like it or not, to most of his generation of American Jews. Sorkin - a generation ahead of him - was imposing a narrative on Zuckerberg and his friends that didn’t fit.
In the new online social order Zuckerberg has helped create, we are all friends and we are all networked.
Sommer's observation that Sorkin was anachronistic is well taken. I went to Harvard in the '70s; and the social stratification described in The Social Network could have been mine; but the Social Network is set in 2003-2004. A friend who went to Harvard in the '90s tells me that the era of Jewish outsiderdom at the school was well over even at that point.
Why is this important? Because there is a tendency in American Jewish life to hold on to the injustices of the past and fail to see the new reality. When we "impose a narrative," it tends to be a narrative of victimization. Mark Zuckerberg is one of the wealthiest men on earth, and his company, god bless it, played a significant role in the liberation of Egypt. He's a powerful guy, and I don't think he's as culturally bound as Aaron Sorkin. So get to work on Palestine, Mark.