Handling truth

The warring sides in the Anti-Cyber Crime Law, especially its provision against libel in cyberspace, recalls to mind this particular movie scene.

As always, riveting stunning performance by the man himself – Jack Nicholson. And of course Tom Cruise and Demi Moore – so young then.

Jack Nicholson’s character bellows at Tom Cruise’ – you can’t handle the truth! But after the speech, he acknowledges that yes he did authorize Code Red that got a cadet killed which spurred the investigation. At the end, audiences realize that Nicholson’s character’s admonition actually refers to himself. He had been living with his own version of the truth so long that it has become the truth.

In his speech, Nicholson’s character raises the curtain up a bit into the nuances in the military’s chain of command, if only to provide civilians or non-officers context of the accusation. We see Cruise’ character and the others riveted by what appears as an outburst. Like the others in his audience, we come to see grains of truth in his speech. And you sort of understand where he’s coming from. But before that seed of compassion takes full root in the audience, Cruise’ character steps in and as thunderously reiterates the question of the investigation: did he or did he not authorize the operation? The directness and simplicity of the question, characteristics of truth itself, had the effect of slicing through the fuzzy-wuzziness of grand posturing to get at the core.

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