Tom Glasson’s “THE COUNSELOR” Treads a Thin Line
By Rochus Pomponius, Adjunct Critic
While not perfect, there is much to praise in Tom Glasson’s “THE COUNSELOR”, particularly the author’s remarkable ability to earn respect through provocation. It is an ability few authors possess, or wield adeptly enough to get away with it. Fortunately, Glasson does so with the skill of a high-priced defense attorney.
It takes tremendous talent to garner approval from blatantly inflamatory dialogue. Glasson bashes his subject’s premise unapologetically and questions its soundness, while at the same time proving to the audience that his scathing attacks are warranted—even necessary. I’m the process, he exemplifies his undeniable gift for gleaning truth by force.
Glasson supports his technique beautifully, from insightful analysis (albeit interpretive at points) to alliterative imagery to refreshing displays of common sense. Each one is a vital component of his repertoire. Occasionally, the assaults border on arrogant presumption, but even then it’s evident his claims are far from unfounded.
That said, this piece is not without its shortcomings—such as Glasson’s attempt to garner moral life lessons effectively from anecdotes that seem tailor-made for that purpose. This is particularly mystifying, considering the subject is rife with symbolism. Nevertheless, in spite of a valiant effort, he misses the mark completely. And even this might be simple to overlook if not for subsequent failed attempts. Moral: One should quit while they’re behind.
In a shocking twist, Glasson ultimately abandons his subject altogether due to his inability to discern order from chaos. This is a surprising revelation, considering the author’s quantitative analysis and steadfast resolve to this point. This forces the reader to either empathize with the author’s plight, or condemn his failure, chalking it up to his inadequacies as a writer.
The end product is something that will no doubt polarize the audience. Some will no doubt appreciate his scathing, unapologetic approach, while others will find it presumptuous and cynical. Moreover, the conclusion will either disappoint or appeal to one’s capacity for forgiveness. But the mark of a great artist is the ability to create something that will be discussed and debated long after the final touches are added. In that respect, he is well on his way.