Sunday, 17 April 2011

The truth: rarely pure and never simple

"People say that they love truth, but in reality they want to believe that which they love to be true" Robert J. Ringer

Bryony Hannah's astonishing performance in 'The Children's Hour' has had a lasting impact on me and prompted me to think some more about notions of truth and falsehood, and the line between the two.  The web of deceit a clearly very troubled teenager spins swiftly traps everyone around her and a very sticky mess ensues.  At the moment in their lives when the two main characters' lives seem complete and secure, their world is brought crashing down around them.  And all on the basis of an elaborate story spun by a child fed by her fear, and fuelled by an overactive imagination. 

The stories people tell themselves are equally powerful, as I was reminded recently when I watched 'Shattered Glass' - a film about a fraudulent journalist who at 25, from his position as the most sought-after young reporter in Washington D.C. was making up much of what he was writing in a prominent publication - and most creative he was too.  The film charts the intrigue of competitors and latterly his editor who was himself sucked in to a wild goose chase in a desperate but ultimately vain attempt to corroborate anything in the article that brought the curtain down on Stephen Glass' career as a journo (from which he apparently moved on to law school).  The ramifications of the revelation were devastating for all around him, whose disbelief spoke for itself:  people do not like to have their version of reality brought into question.  It both threatens and terrifies.  Sometimes the truth really does hurt.   

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