Monday, January 1, 2018

TODAY'S NUGGET: Shattered Glass (2003) - A Contradictory Character

[Quick Summary: Based on a true story. A well-liked young staff writer from the esteemed The New Republic reports on the most fascinating stories,* until a journalist fact-checks one and finds it is fictional.]

I find contradictory characters both fascinating and frustrating, i.e., good reading.

Here, for example, I like AND dislike the Stephen Glass character.

a) I LIKE HIM BECAUSE: He's doesn't brag, is entertaining, thoughtful, and loyal.  He's the friend that enters when all others exit.


Lane looks over theother reporters at this table - recalling that painful time:

LANE: No one on the staff would speak to me. No one... (they nod, remembering) Except for Stephen.

The Staffers react, surprised. Very.

                                                                                                     CUT TO:


It's late; the suite is still. Glass walks down the hallway in his socks, checking to see thatnoone's around to spot him... Then he ducks into:


Lane looks up from his desk, drained - and thrown... because Glass is standing in his doorway.

GLASS (softly, with compassion): How's it goin', Chuck?

Lane sighs with relief. He's got an ally."

b) I DISLIKE HIM BECAUSE: He lives in denial, even when the reputation of others is on the line.

The scene below is a conference call between Glass and Lane (his boss), and Penenberg, a Forbes Digital Tool reporter, who has questions about a Glass article.

ex.  "PENENBERG: Um, a few other people we can't seem to locate. Julie Farthwork, Frank Juliet, and Restil's agent - Joe Hiert...We called the numbers you gave us and got voice-mails for all three. And all the e-mails we sent came back saying "no address" or "account closed."

GLASS: Really? 'Cause I've e-mailed them about a million times each. Hiert's on-line all day long.

PENENBERG: Did you ever call these people and get them directly?

GLASS: No. I always left messages and spoke to them when they called back.


That hangs we SPLIT SCREEN INTO FOUR SEPARATE IMAGES, each a little slice of tension: Lane's eyes, his notepad, Glass' fidgeting hands, the mini-cassette.

INTERCUT with Penenberg, who is as calm as can be...

PENENBERG: And the references in the article to Nevada law enforcement officials. Was Jim Ghort the only one you spoke to?


PENENBERG: Do you have a phone number for him?

GLASS: Yeah. Definitely. Somewhere around here.

Glass looks through his notes as if inconvenienced. Then:

GLASS (cont'd): Ready?

PENENBERG: Mmm-hmmm.

GLASS: 605-43--



PENENBERG: 605. That's not Nevada.


He pauses. Lane tightens.

GLASS: I guess I got him mixed up with another source. I just have to -- (shuffling pages) Ghort is actually the guy who told me about the Law Enforcement Officials. (more shuffling) I might have to --

LANE (sharply): Give him the number, Stephen.

END a deafening silence fills both offices. Glass looks wounded.

...and Penenberg and Foroohar look stunned. They know that a lined just got crossed...

PENENBERG (for Foroohar only): This guy is toast.

Foroohar nods."

WHAT I'VE LEARNED: The contradictory nature of the Glass character (both loyal and untruthful) gives a familiar story a new angle.

Shattered Glass (2003)(revised draft, dated 5/20/02)
by Billy Ray
From an article by Buzz Bissinger

*He bamboozled The New Republic into printing at least 41 invented or partially invented articles.

No comments:

perPage: 10, numPages: 8, var firstText ='First'; var lastText ='Last'; var prevText ='« Previous'; var nextText ='Next »'; } expr:href='data:label.url' expr:href='data:label.url + "?&max-results=7"'