Sunday, June 26, 2005

Welcome to Crazytown, Population: Cruise

I know it hasn't been in the news a lot lately, but Tom Cruise has a new movie out. Oh, yeah, and he also wishes to make it known that he's totally batshit insane.

Of course, first it was that whole "I'm suddenly in love with Katie Holmes!" flipping out on Oprah thing. Whatever. Seemed a little odd to me, but hey, who am I to judge? If I suddenly found myself with a girlfriend who looked like Katie Holmes, I'd probably jump around like a crazed simian myself. It's just unlikely I'd be a guest on Oprah at the time (unless the topic that day was "Overweight Bloggers With Surprisingly Attractive Girlfriends".)

Then, he started going off on Scientology all the time, promoting it publicly and fervently in a way that was fairly unprecedented for the formerly shy and reserved star. I mean, anyone remember the old Tom Cruise? The guy who was married to Nicole Kidman? He used to be really private about his personal life. He used to speak about religion and love and stuff like that only when prompted. These days, he's making more public confessionals than the entire cast of the "Real World."

What happened? Did Team Dianetics finally get pissed at investing all this time into his case without benefit? Maybe they're telling him to start publicizing their particular brand of nutjob semi-spiritual hooey or else.

I don't know. But on Friday, things finally got completely out of hand. I think we can now move from the "Something Weird is Happening With Tom Cruise" phase into the "Tom Cruise has lost his mind" phase. The Cruise Alert Meter has gone from Orange to Yellow. You may officially start to panic.

That's a photo from Friday morning, of your boy TC berating Matt Lauer on the "Today Show" about psychiatry. It's weird. Matt asks a fairly innocent question of Tom about some comments he made a few months ago, about Brooke Shields taking anti-depressants for her severe post-partum depression.

CRUISE: i've never agreed with psychiatry, ever. Before I was a Scientologist I never agreed with psychiatry. and when i started studying the history of psychiatry, i understood more and more why i didn't believe in psychology.//And as far as the Brooke Shields thing is, look. You gotta understand, I really care about Brooke Shields. I-- I think here's a-- a-- a wonderful and talented woman. And-- I wanna see her do well. And I know that-- psychiatry is-- is a pseudo science.

I'm reminded of an interview I read a few years ago with Tom's fellow Scientologist, Fat Actress Kirstie Alley. I love that you can now refer to Kirstie Alley as Fat Actress Kirstie Alley without being deemed cruel or offensive. Anyway, she said that she would not agree to appear on the "Cheers" spin-off "Frasier" because it made a hero out of a psychiatrist.

The interviewer then asked the obvious question...wouldn't it then be wrong to appear with the Frasier character in "Cheers," as he was still a good guy, just not the show's star? She shrugged this off, saying that he was being mocked on "Cheers" but was the hero of "Frasier."

Anyway, I always thought that was stupid.

TOM CRUISE: Matt, you have to understand this. Here we are today where I talk out against drugs and psychiatric abuses of electric shocking people (PH), okay, against their will, of drugging children with them not knowing the effects of these drugs. Do you know what Aderol (PH) is? Do you know Ritalin? Do you know now that Ritalin is a street drug? Do you understand that?

So, already, Tom's kind of sounding strange and paranoid. Connecting a woman taking some relatively mild drugs to treat a genuine diagnosed mental disorder to the one of the most divisive and severe treatments in the history of psychiatry is kind of a stretch. No one suggested electocuting Brooke's uterus. Well, except me.

She's just popping some Zoloft or something.

MATT LAUER: I understand there's abuse of all of these things.

TOM CRUISE: No, you see. Here's the problem. You don't know the history of psychiatry. I do.//

Here's where Cruise starts going totally off the rails. I hate when people use this kind of argument, first of all. The "you'd agree with me if only you knew more about this" thing. Ugh, so obnoxious. It' susually a sign that someone is losing an argument, when they feel the need to fall back on credentials.

And where exactly did Tom learn all this stuff about psychiatry? From Scientologists? Because then, it's clearly biased information, and any educated person knows not to accept information solely from a single, obviously biased source.

So I'd trust Matt Lauer's more limited but reasoned knowledge of psychiatry to Cruise's half-assed expertise.

TOM CRUISE: But what happens, the antidepressant, all it does is mask the problem. There's ways of vitamins and through exercise and various things. I'm not saying that that isn't real. That's not what I'm saying. That's an alteration of what-- what I'm saying. I'm saying that drugs aren't the answer, these drugs are very dangerous. They're mind-altering, anti-psychotic drugs. And there are ways of doing it without that so that we don't end up in a brave new world. // the thing that I'm saying about Brooke is that there's misinformation, okay. And she doesn't understand the history of psychiatry. She-- she doesn't understand in the same way that you don't understand it, Matt.

Were I Matt Lauer, and the biggest superstar in the world had just tossed this kind of insane rant my way, I genuinely don't know how I would react. I'd probably try to steer the conversation back to more comfortable ground.

"So, yeah, psychiatry's weird, how about that. Tell me, did you an Anthony Edwards really pal around on the set of Top Gun, or is it all just an act? Because you two look, like, totally natural together."

I mean, first off, he refers to all anti-depressents as "anti-psychotic" drugs, which isn't exactly true. Or true at all. Most of them are anti-anxiety drugs, and I guess that's a family that includes anti-psychotic drugs, but it's inaccurate to refer to them as the same thing. Also, he's using the term "anti-psychotic" because it's weighted - it sounds really serious, because if you're psychotic, you're a mad dog killer. But really, it's just a name, like any other scientific name, for a family of medication.

Also, can you imagine going to a doctor for severe depression and him prescribing "vitamins or something"? You'd probably punch him through the wall. If you could gather the strength, that is.

I also like that Tom argues psychiatry is filled with misinformation. Almost as if a guy just made it up about less than 100 years ago. Like some Southern California science fiction writer just dreamt up this thing called "psychiatry" and started writing books about it and encouraging famous and wealtyh people to join him.

Oh, wait...I got mixed up...

MATT LAUER: Well, if antidepressants work for Brooke Shields, why isn't that okay?

TOM CRUISE: I-- I disagree with it. And I think that there's a higher and better quality of life. And I think that promoting for me personally, see, you're saying what, I can't discuss what I wanna discuss?

Now at this part, Tom starts to feel kind of backed into a corner, I guess, so he starts using two different, equally classic George W. Bush tactics. Check it out.

(1) When asked why someone else should be banned from engaging in an activity to which he objects, he doesn't offer an actual argument, but repeats his initial objection.

Why can't Brooke Shields take antidepressants? "I disagree with it." Why can't gay people get married? "I disagree with it." Why can't we do research on stem cells? "I disagree with it." Well, tough shit, Tom.

(2) Rather than defending his point of view as valid, he insists on his right to express a point of view regardless of its validity.

He doesn't say "Psychiatry is wrong and this study/essay/theory proves it!" He says "I'm allowed to criticize psychiatry." Well, of course you're allowed, but that doesn't mean you actually have anything salient to say.

TOM CRUISE: Matt. Matt, Matt, you don't even-- you're glib. You don't even know what Ritalin is.// //if you start talking about chemical imbalance, you have to evaluate and read the research papers on how they came up with these theories, Matt, okay. That's what I've done. Then you go and you say where's-- where's the medical test? Where's the blood test that says how much Ritalin you're supposed to get?

MATT LAUER: You're-- you're-- it's very impressive to listen to you. Because clearly, you've done the homework. And-- and you know the subject.

I've included this part both because it makes Tom Cruise sound like a lunatic, and because it shows the depth of Matt Lauer's ass-kissery. Seriously. The man in front of his is spouting garbled nonsense about Ritalin. It's supposed to be an interview about War of the Worlds, but it's starting to sound more like a retarded guy reading aloud from Battlefield Earth.

And Matt somehow finds the strength deep within himself to praise the guy. Imagine if your job was like that. All the time, morons would come in and yell some bullshit at you about whatever crap was on their minds, and when it was over, you had to compliment them. "Hey, that was some interesting bullshit. You're a thoughtful guy."

It must get old fast.

MATT LAUER: You-- you're so passionate about it. And I'm--

TOM CRUISE: I'm passionate about learning. I'm passionate about life, Matt.

So, there you have it. Hard-hitting news man Matt Lauer once again gets all the facts. Tom Cruise: passionate about his loony, fictional religion.


Konrad said...

Maybe Tom boy was brainwashed from the Scientiology sect? Is it still seen as a church in the States?
In Germany he would have serious problems promoting it, at least for his superstar image. But I think people didn't realize it that much up to now. But the perception increases.

Lons said...

To begin, I don't think there's any doubt he has been brainwashed. That's what cults do.

It is officially called the Church of Scientology in the US, but people don't actually take it seriously. Everyone knows it's a cult invented by a sci-fi writer.

I just think, until recently, it was a silly joke for most Americans, something easily dismissed and goofy about his character. Now that he's talking about it constantly, rubbing people's faces in the fact that he subscribes to these oddball beliefs, I think it will start to alienate some of his fans.

Charlie Babbitt said...

I'd really like it if an interviewer actually asked a fucking question or two about War of the Worlds.....I mean....the film comes out in a couple days ......

Chrysalla B said...

Cruise has gone bonkers.

His brain has been hijacked by scientology.

Scientology is an interesting subject and the "author" of this "religion" has made several interestingly valid points in his writing. Reactionism was my favorite.

I am not an advocate of Scientology.

Scientology does seem to attract many entertainment types so that they can help fund the "church". I remember when Al Jarreau was pushing it hard in the media about how Scientology majorly improved his life.

In regard to the viewpoint on psychiatric theory, there is validity to what Cruise says. There is still not enough known about the human brain to provide evidence that the drugs dealt out in massive quantities from the prescription pads of psychiatrists are the best health option for people suffering natural chemical imbalances. Oftentimes, it is true that supplements, vitamins and exercise would be better therapy.

Jonathan said...

I think it's wrong, though, to think that Tom Cruise and Scientology are crazier than other religions just because fewer people practice it. Scientology is stupid and nuts, yes, but is it actually more farfetched than every other unsupported bullshit religion in the world? There is rampant hypocrisy, especially in the conservative media, when pundits talk about loony Tom Cruise to hurt Hollywood's image, and then in the next segment Ann Coulter vomits up her latest argument for Muslim genocide, and then tries to back it up with the Book of freaking Daniel. I think we should take Tom Cruise's rants as a very public, very obvious statement as to how all religions (by which I mean, beliefs backed up with approximitely 0 physical evidence) are equally batshit and with any hope will eventually be regarded as such.

Cory said...

Jon's absolutely right. When you step back and list the basic belief system of each mainstream world religion, it doesn't sound any less crazy than Scientology. The only difference is a few thousand years of fine-tuning the story (and hammering it into people's heads).

SallyTeller said...

You have summed up the Tom Cruise mental state. He has obviously flipped! One can only assume that the world trip to publicize "War of the Worlds" was just too taxing for the fellow! I must admit that regardless of the critics review of the movie and even though it may be considerd "stupendous," Tom convinced me that not one dollar of mine is going to be used to purchase a ticket! Sorry Steven Speilberg!!!!!!!!1