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In the middle of a slow period last November, I watched Shattered Glass for the hundredth time. It’s one of my favorite films and I had never realized why until then. 

The film, written and directed by Billy Ray, details Stephen Glass’s career as a star reporter at the New Republic, eventually revealed to be comprised of either partially or completely fabricated stories, held aloft by Glass’ ability to manipulate his editors and other members of staff, appealing to their goodwill and their desire to see a “nice kid” through troubled times.

I have a background in journalism. I also have a personal history of being involved with people with personality disorders, particularly narcissistic and borderline personality disorder.

There are scenes with ascended editor Chuck Lane and Stephen Glass that remind me of similar confrontations I had with my mother, my ex-wife, a friend of mine from high school – the lies, the repeated manipulation, the selfish behavior, the emotional stonewalling, the absence of accountability.

There are scenes with Chuck Lane and Caitlin Avey that remind me of confrontations I had with other friends and family members who rallied in defense of those same people; enablers who took what they said at face value and were quick to criticize (if not vilify) my actions when I challenged them or opted to cut those people from my life entirely.

Ultimately, Chuck Lane is vindicated for his probing questions, his refusal to capitulate or to accept bad behavior. Via the film’s narrative, he is publicly vindicated when the majority of us in similar situations are left only with personal resolution. It culminates in a long penultimate scene featuring two final showdowns with both characters in which he holds his resolve against both in a manner that I’ve had to do more than once, not always so elegantly and definitely not so eloquently.

“It’s indefensible. Don’t you know that?”

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~ by blackmoodcraft on February 5, 2016.

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