You can't make this stuff up

In 2004, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, a University of Pennsylvania graduate, wrote a review of a movie about another Penn grad, fabulist Stephen Glass.  It ran in the student newspaper, the Daily Penn, and Erdely describes Glass as her former classmate. 

In light of how Erdely's own blockbuster story in Rolling Stone about a gang-rape at the University of Virginia has unraveled when people started asking tough questions, I thought this passage from her review of Shattered Glass raised some interesting questions of its own.

I found the movie riveting—although, due to the personal connection, plus the fact that Shattered Glass portrays my own line of work (realistically, I might add), I’m an admittedly biased viewer. As the lights came up, however, I felt dissatisfied by the film, because it never attempts to resolve the big question: Why did he do it? Perhaps director Billy Ray, who had no access to Glass during the filmmaking, was never able to come up with the answers, and—in his efforts to remain true to the facts—didn’t want to make any leaps of his own. There are allusions to the pressure Glass was under and to his demanding parents; there’s a suggestion that Glass enjoyed the celebrity of being a young hotshot, and cut corners in his quest for fame. And yet none of these seem enough to explain why a journalist would not only make up his articles, but would also go to such extreme lengths to cover his tracks, by concocting phony notes, inventing Web sites for phony companies and voicemail boxes for phony sources. All things considered, Glass’s fabrications and cover-ups probably took more time and effort (and produced more anxiety) than if he’d just done the reporting in the first place

These aren’t the actions of a person under strain, as I once tried to convince myself, or of a man-child being suffocated by his overbearing parents. They’re the actions of a sociopathic creep. The movie points in that direction, but doesn’t try to nail it down. What was Glass after? What was he running from? The movie ultimately doesn’t shed much light, and Stephen Glass himself isn’t telling. If, that is, he even knows.

So why did you do it, Sabrina?  Do you know?

Hat tip: Ace of Spades

In 2004, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, a University of Pennsylvania graduate, wrote a review of a movie about another Penn grad, fabulist Stephen Glass.  It ran in the student newspaper, the Daily Penn, and Erdely describes Glass as her former classmate. 

In light of how Erdely's own blockbuster story in Rolling Stone about a gang-rape at the University of Virginia has unraveled when people started asking tough questions, I thought this passage from her review of Shattered Glass raised some interesting questions of its own.

I found the movie riveting—although, due to the personal connection, plus the fact that Shattered Glass portrays my own line of work (realistically, I might add), I’m an admittedly biased viewer. As the lights came up, however, I felt dissatisfied by the film, because it never attempts to resolve the big question: Why did he do it? Perhaps director Billy Ray, who had no access to Glass during the filmmaking, was never able to come up with the answers, and—in his efforts to remain true to the facts—didn’t want to make any leaps of his own. There are allusions to the pressure Glass was under and to his demanding parents; there’s a suggestion that Glass enjoyed the celebrity of being a young hotshot, and cut corners in his quest for fame. And yet none of these seem enough to explain why a journalist would not only make up his articles, but would also go to such extreme lengths to cover his tracks, by concocting phony notes, inventing Web sites for phony companies and voicemail boxes for phony sources. All things considered, Glass’s fabrications and cover-ups probably took more time and effort (and produced more anxiety) than if he’d just done the reporting in the first place

These aren’t the actions of a person under strain, as I once tried to convince myself, or of a man-child being suffocated by his overbearing parents. They’re the actions of a sociopathic creep. The movie points in that direction, but doesn’t try to nail it down. What was Glass after? What was he running from? The movie ultimately doesn’t shed much light, and Stephen Glass himself isn’t telling. If, that is, he even knows.

So why did you do it, Sabrina?  Do you know?

Hat tip: Ace of Spades