In the past, I’ve joked about how among staffers at the New York Times, “Mad Men” draws roughly a 90 rating, which explains why the paper is so infatuated with the AMC series.

And apparently, the new movie “The Social Network” is the equivalent of “Avatar” within the small pool of the Times offices. Especially among the paper’s op-ed columnists.

David Brooks devoted his latest column to an analysis of the movie’s sociological significance. Now Maureen Dowd and Frank Rich have both used the Sony release as a point of reference in their latest columns (she somehow tied it into “Das Rheingold”, while he linked the movie to the sorry state of our politics).

They’re all legitimate points, to be sure, but the sheer invasion of the David Fincher-directed film on the Times’ opinion pages is almost comical, a portrait of what high-brow New Yorkers do when they deem to visit the multiplex.

Both Rich and Dowd regularly use pop culture as a touchstone in their columns, admittedly, while occasionally veering out of their lanes, as it were, to do so. Then again, I suppose we should be thankful: At least print columnists focus on something with big thematic ambitions like “The Social Network,” and all that buzz probably contributed to the film’s solid second-weekend hold at the boxoffice.

With TV, by contrast, you’re more likely to get pieces about the growing trend of people raising kids after their parents are killed in accidents as a tie-in to “Life As We Know It.”