In a no longer so recent film, Wedding Crashers, there is, amongst the wreckage of that film, a really interesting exchange between Owen Wilson and…
In a no longer so recent film, Wedding Crashers, there is, amongst the wreckage of that film, a really interesting exchange between Owen Wilson and another character. After John Beckwith (Wilson) and Jeremy Grey (Vince Vaughn) have gone on a rampage of womanizing and chauvinism, leaving a trail of cologne and rumpled suits behind them, Beckwith accidentally calls a woman by the wrong name. She then pulls herself away from him, crosses her arms, and asks, “so would you say you’re completely full of (it), or just partially?” Instead of what you might expect him to say (some manner of excuse and story and continuation of the patterns that Beckwith has already established for himself) he falls back on to the bed, sighs, and responds “I’m not sure.” That moment, even taken on its own, is one of the best examples of a thoroughly modern problem that I’ve found.*
It speaks to a fear of so many of the people that I know, this fear of “Inauthenticity.” One of the better writers of the last 20 years**, David Foster Wallace, speaks about this idea of inauthenticity in connection to loneliness, saying “ I can’t know what you’re thinking and feeling and you can’t know what I’m thinking and feeling.” It’s this sense of cultural isolation that can leave us saying “I’M not even sure how full of (it) I am anymore,” because we can no longer be certain how much of what we are thinking or feeling is valid.
* It also establishes Owen Wilson as Hollywood’s Holden Caulfield.
** Although this claim might be argued with vehemently by those who deem him “too” much of one of the following: Post-modern, Neurotic, or Unnecessarily Intellectual. Don’t listen to these people.