October 26, 2007

Li[f]e Imitates Shattered Glass

Glass Foer: Separated at birth?

" He handed us fiction after fiction and we printed them all as fact. Just because... we found him "entertaining." It's indefensible. Don't you know that? " -- Shattered Glass

I'll soon have more to say about how the entire pile of ever-escalating lies coming out of the New Republic over the Scott Beauchamp incident illuminates the brave new way of treason without consequences in the United States today,

but I would only note this strange bit of obfusction containe in today's "A Scott Beauchamp Update" from "the editors" at The New Republic [emphasis mine]:

Two-and-a-half weeks later, Beauchamp telephoned Foer at home and, in an unmonitored conversation, told him that he continued to stand by every aspect of his story, except for the one inaccuracy he had previously admitted. He also told Foer that in the September 6 call he had spoken under duress, with the implicit threat that he would lose all the freedoms and privileges that his commanding officer had recently restored if he discussed the story with us.

As fate and a virus would have it, I've been confined to my North Carolina treehouse today with the onset of a cold. As such I was using the television here as a distraction when, mirabile dictu!, the Independent Film Channel decided to screen "Shattered Glass."

With the current spinning and twisting slowly in the wind currently being undertaken by the kid editor Franklin Foer and the rest of his peanut gallery, seeing the film of how the previous liar fooled and bamboozled The New Republic was both depressing and amusing.

One particular scene is worth culling out. Soon after Glass begins to see that his whole edifice of lies has lost its bodyguard and is due to come tumbling down, he initiates a series of phony calls to his editor in hopes of putting off the inevitable. After one of Glass's confederates call the editor at his home at night (less chance for an "unmonitored call" I imagine), Glass himself calls the editor who will soon unmask him much later that same night to confirm that the editor received the previous call. The call only further arouses the editor's suspicions.

Within two hours after seeing this scene, I happened upon today's revelations by the New Republic. Poor magazine. Stonewalled by the Army. Stonewalled by its own reporter, the once Hemmingwayesque "Scott Thomas" and now merely soldierly Scott Beauchamp.

All of which only made me wonder if somewhere boy-editor Franklin Foer isn't screening his own copy of "Shattered Glass" late and night and thinking, "Hey, an unmonitored call to my home... maybe that would work...."

After all, if you're involved in marshalling an army of lies to defend your job and your magazine-cum-comic book it doesn't hurt to try and take a page from the book of a master liar like Stephen Glass.

Adam Penenberg: But there is one thing in this story that checks out. Kambiz Foroohar: What's that? Adam Penenberg: There does appear to be a nation on Earth named Iraq. -- Slightly altered from the script of Shattered Glass
Posted by Vanderleun at October 26, 2007 1:50 PM
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