Faux Underdogs

From Douthat's perceptive review of The Social Network:

The dark genius of meritocratic culture is that it can take a kid like Mark Zuckerberg, someone who grew up in Westchester and went to an exclusive prep school, and — by surrounding him with other hyper-competitive alpha students — make him feel like he’s an underdog, an outsider, someone who needs to fight and claw his way against all odds to make it to the top and stay there. Whether the flesh-and-blood Zuckerberg felt this way or not, I don’t pretend to know. But the phenomenon is real, and crucial to understanding the psychology of the American elite. And whatever liberties it takes with the facts, when it comes to depicting that psychology at work in an individual soul,  “The Social Network” absolutely nails it.