It’s indefensible! Don’t you know that?
This 2:22 scene from Shattered Glass is a model of self-deception — how a reporter allows her friendship to severely cloud her judgment. What’s especially educational is the turnaround time to see what would be obvious to anyone without a personal stake in it.
She repeatedly digs in to find a way to absolve her friend, but she can’t escape the envelope of arguments that cut off every avenue of evasion:
The screenplay was based on the Vanity Fair article with an except below:
Chuck Lane: This wasn’t an isolated incident, Caitlin. He cooked a dozen of them, maybe more.
Caitlin Avey: No, the only one was Hack Heaven. He told me that himself.
Chuck Lane: If he were a stranger to you, if he was a guy you were doing a piece about, pretend that guy told you he’d only did it once. Would you take his word for it? Of course not! You’d dig and you’d bury him! And you’d be offended if anybody told you not to.
If only we could calculate the astronomical amount of waste we produce in our steadfast refusal to open our eyes as she did. No need to see the next scene — as the excellence in her acting shows that her intellectual honesty has overcome her. As the swivel door swings a breeze her way, and she looks around to wonder — she is well on her way to the truth. She has lived up to what Columbia President Lee Bollinger described as intellectual inquiry in Anna Quindlen’s article: Life of the Closed Mind:
Is that true? Maybe there’s something to what she just said. Let me think about it. That’s interesting. Maybe I should change my mind. I changed my mind.
Alas, only in the movies. In the real world we are increasingly defending the indefensible as if it were a call of duty — rarely risking having to face the reality that is revealed with reflection.
She lived up to the intellectual inquiry described in Anna Quindlen’s article: Life of the Closed Mind:
“To learn to ask: ‘Is that true? Maybe there’s something to what she just said. Let me think about it. That’s interesting. Maybe I should change my mind. I changed my mind’.” When is the last time you can honestly remember a public dialogue — or even a private conversation — that followed that useful course?
On top of being far more fruitful, such conversation would be so much more interesting, don’t ya think?
Alas, only in the movies. In the real world we defend the indefensible as if it were a call of duty — avoiding any truth that has even a whiff of inconvenience.