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Tom Cruise: Top fun
3 July 2005
Last week we’re afraid we rather recklessly bigged-up Tom Cruise for his dignified response to that Channel Four comedy clodhopper with the water pistol. Now we’re feeling rather foolish. Not because he wasn’t dignified under the circumstances, but because since then, he has gone totally Icke, and fairweather friends that we are, we now want nothing more to do with him. The thing is, we were prepared to turn both a blind eye and a nauseated stomach to his appearance on Oprah – watch it if you can - and we were even prepared to overlook his rather ungallant attack on Brooke Shields earlier this month. But this week he went too far, and we’re not referring to his professed belief in aliens.
This week Cruise was interviewed by Matt Lauer on a programme called Today. In the footage of the interview, when the subject turns to mental health at least, Cruise suddenly transforms into a glassy-eyed aggressor, testily hectoring shiny Matt Lauer, pouring scorn on his knowledge of prescription drugs and the damage they cause. ‘You don’t know the history of psychiatry,’ he hectors, ‘I do’. At that point, ironically, if Matt Lauer had thrown a glass of water in Tom Cruise’s face, he would have become a hero.
The interview speaks for itself. Here’s an excerpt:
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, look, you got to understand, I really care about Brooke Shields. I think, here's a wonderful and talented woman. And I want to see her do well. And I *know* that psychiatry is a pseudo science.
Lauer: But Tom, if she said that this particular thing helped her feel better, whether it was the antidepressants or going to a counselor or psychiatrist, isn't that enough?
Cruise: Matt, you have to understand this. Here we are today, where I talk out against drugs and psychiatric abuses of electric shocking people, okay, against their will, of drugging children with them not knowing the effects of these drugs. Do you know what Aderol is? Do you know Ritalin? Do you know now that Ritalin is a street drug? Do you understand that? […]
Lauer: I understand there's abuse of all of these things.
Cruise: No, you see. Here's the problem. You don't know the history of psychiatry. I do.
Lauer: Aren't there examples, and might not Brooke Shields be an example, of someone who benefited from one of those drugs?
Cruise: All it does is mask the problem, Matt. And if you understand the history of it, it masks the problem. That's what it does. That's all it does. You're not getting to the reason why. There is no such thing as a chemical imbalance.
Lauer: So, postpartum depression to you is kind of a little psychological gobbledygook….
Cruise: No. I did not say that. […] The thing that I'm saying about Brooke is that there's misinformation, okay. And she doesn't understand the history of psychiatry. She doesn't understand in the same way that you don't understand it, Matt.
Lauer: But a little bit of what you're saying, Tom, is, you say you want people to do well. But you want them do to well by taking the road that you approve of, as opposed to a road that may work for them.
Cruise: No, no, I'm not.
Lauer: Well, if antidepressants work for Brooke Shields, why isn't that okay?
Cruise: I disagree with it. […]
Lauer: I'm only asking, isn't there a possibility that — do you examine the possibility that these things do work for some people? That yes, there are abuses. And yes, maybe they've gone too far in certain areas. Maybe there are too many kids on Ritalin. Maybe electric shock…
Cruise: Too many kids on Ritalin? Matt.
Lauer: I'm just saying. But aren't there examples where it works?
Cruise: Matt. Matt, Matt, you don't even — you're glib. You don't even know what Ritalin is.
Of course, deep down inside of himself, beneath the madness, Cruise may have a point. There is a serious problem with the over-prescription of anti-depressants and other drugs, just as there is a major problem with the levels of power exerted by the giant pharmaceutical corporations, and just as many psychiatrists are full-of-shit-charlatans. But Tom didn’t say that. Tom got categorical. Tom said: ‘There is no such thing as a chemical imbalance.’ Tom (the Scientologist) said: ‘I know that psychiatry is a pseudo science.’ Of course, in the world of the religiously fervent, there is no room for doubt.
Some call it madness.
Indeed, Cruise's behaviour has ignited speculation that he might damage his image and undermine the success of his pseudo love for Katie Holmes. It has also launched him into a whole new era of ridicule. He was very high on many a media mocksmith’s list of targets a few years ago when he was so vehemently and humourlessly insisted on defending his heterosexuality. Then he went quiet. Nicole seemed to do him some good. Then Nicole left. As a result of his homosexuality? Not for us to say. But as far as Tom’s image was concerned, he wasn’t much fun anymore – just a boring old religious nut who for the most part kept quiet about his religion and contented himself with a series of glamorous films and blockbuster beards. Just recently however, another screw seems to have come loose in his pretty glassy-eyed little head. Midlife crisis? Possibly. Chemical imbalance? It’s looking that way.
Now, even more than when he wasn’t gay, Tom Cruise is an international figure of fun.
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