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Cruising for a bruising
June 14, 2005 1:53 PM   Subscribe

Has anyone else noticed actor Tom Cruise going more and more wacky in public? Is his love affair with the hot-young-actress really a sham? Is this a PR stunt run dangerously wild, or Scientology in action? Oprah's scared, are you? The folks at FreeKatie.net think you should be.
posted by BrodieShadeTree (109 comments total)

 
Scientology is a sham which exists only to separate idiots from their money.

Why is this a bad thing?
posted by wakko at 1:56 PM on June 14, 2005


I heard tis because he changed his publicity agent to his sister (or aunt or something), and because of this there is no longer anyone to rein in his natural excesses.

boring really.
Plus - wtf. Boring tshirt or what.
posted by seanyboy at 1:57 PM on June 14, 2005


The images of him accosting Oprah are worth the price of admission alone.
posted by BrodieShadeTree at 1:58 PM on June 14, 2005


Tom Cruise is a rocky planet orbiting around a normal star. Oh, wait, wrong thread.
posted by kozad at 1:58 PM on June 14, 2005


Someone recently pointed out to me that Cruise was older in Days of Thunder than Katie Holmes is now... Damn. Good for him. He can be a freakin' nutjob if he wants to.
posted by brundlefly at 1:58 PM on June 14, 2005


Why does having a very young girlfriend warrant a "good for him?"
posted by trey at 1:59 PM on June 14, 2005


I do my best to never look directly at Scientologists lest they read my mind and learn my home address to begin the deluge of mail to convince me to give them a shot.

Actually, I do my best to pay absolutely no attention whatever the attention whores are doing. Unless they are abducted white girls. Hmm, has Katie been abducted and brainwashed? Possibly. Maybe I should start paying closer attention.

seanyboy, yeah, funny how the shirts are pretty pathetically stupid. Makes me think they don't really care about freeing Katie so much as making a quick and easy buck.
posted by fenriq at 2:00 PM on June 14, 2005


Dumba$$
posted by The Jesse Helms at 2:01 PM on June 14, 2005


wakko: Because Scientology is a vicious, bizarre cult that preys on its members, threatens ex members who speak out, runs extremely suspect rehab facilities, plants surveillance devices in people's homes, is responsible for deaths, and...
I could go on, but here.
posted by Derive the Hamiltonian of... at 2:03 PM on June 14, 2005


'Why does having a very young girlfriend warrant a "good for him?"'

I'm Holmes' age right now, so it's certainly not lechery on my part. However, if when I get Cruise's age there are people that far outside of my age group giving me a second glance, I'll feel like I'm doing something right....
posted by brundlefly at 2:07 PM on June 14, 2005


Once again, I ask... Why does dating someone much younger than you warrant congratulations?
posted by trey at 2:09 PM on June 14, 2005


Oh, I see what you're saying now.
posted by trey at 2:11 PM on June 14, 2005


I care about this even less than I care about the Michael Jackson verdict... which I didn't think was possible. Maybe it's time for a new label: GossipColumnistFilter.
posted by Doohickie at 2:32 PM on June 14, 2005


Really, I want to care about Tom and Katie, truly. Help me care, please...help.
posted by fluffycreature at 2:32 PM on June 14, 2005


Oh boy. Cafepress t-shirts!
posted by Robot Johnny at 2:35 PM on June 14, 2005


.
posted by dreamsign at 2:36 PM on June 14, 2005


She's no Shelly-Marie Tambo Vincoeur...
posted by Smart Dalek at 2:37 PM on June 14, 2005


Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!
posted by furtive at 2:37 PM on June 14, 2005


Maybe he thought Michael Jackson was going to be found guilty and was going to jail and someone had to take the throne of most insane celebrity.
posted by Kickstart70 at 2:42 PM on June 14, 2005


Does anyone know of a Scientologist in real life? Seems to me that it's just celebrities, and no one ever, like, lives next door to one.
posted by crawl at 2:51 PM on June 14, 2005


The only way I'd be less convinced of them being in love was if they were in a George Lucas movie.
posted by 23skidoo at 2:52 PM on June 14, 2005


"Does anyone know of a Scientologist in real life? Seems to me that it's just celebrities, and no one ever, like, lives next door to one."

Don't you have to pay for Scientologist enlightenment? That may be the culprit. Your neighbors have probably looked into Scientology, but settled for Jesus 'cause he's free.
posted by brundlefly at 2:55 PM on June 14, 2005


Doohickie, how about "we just never have a laugh around here at all -filter". Please turn on your sillygoggles.
posted by BrodieShadeTree at 2:55 PM on June 14, 2005


crawl, yes, I know a bunch of them. Some still practicing and some that have escaped, all in the same family.

I can tell you firsthand that Scientologists are fucking wacked out. Reading the hand written letters, some in crayon, to my house mate imploring him to "get back on the right track" was funny if we were drunk and downright scary if we were hungover, which were the only two states of being we were allowed to exist in then.

dreamsign, where'd you get a picture of a terrorist tomato? That sucker WILL talk, even if they have to surgically attach a mouth to it so it CAN talk, it WILL talk!
posted by fenriq at 2:56 PM on June 14, 2005


Hehe. That's the man, using his e-meter on vegetables. I kid you not.

Does anyone know of a Scientologist in real life? Seems to me that it's just celebrities, and no one ever, like, lives next door to one.

They've got a friggin recruiting centre on Yonge Street in Toronto, not far from Bloor. It generally looks pretty animated around there, so I'm guessing that, yes, they have some non-famous disciples. Moneyhandlers, and the like.
posted by dreamsign at 2:58 PM on June 14, 2005


I have this theory. One of many.

Polytheism is at the core of human nature. It's genetic. We can't fight it.

The modern extension of this is the cult of celebrity. Celebs are the new gods and an intrinsic need of ours. They are our pantheon. We don't WANT an invisible deity alone in his heaven working mysteriously. We want gods we can see and experience. When nature can't provide us a god anymore, we make one. And along came Hollywood. If you reject the cult of celebrity - you probably are an atheist or an HONEST pagan.

Tom Cruise? It makes more sense to worship the moon and sun.
posted by tkchrist at 3:00 PM on June 14, 2005


Best of the Web... Brodie you should be ashamed of yourself.
posted by AspectRatio at 3:02 PM on June 14, 2005


Scientology is a sham which exists only to separate idiots from their money.

Why is this a bad thing?
posted by wakko at 1:56 PM PST on June 14


You could ask Lisa McPherson, but she's dead.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 3:03 PM on June 14, 2005


I knew one in real life--worked with her--i was always disappointed that she never tried to get me to go to anything--she would try with everyone else.

It's a sham relationship, and everyone knows it--it is hysterical to watch tho--neither of them could say in televised interviews when/where they met. He's a pathetic closet case.
posted by amberglow at 3:03 PM on June 14, 2005


Well, worshipping the moon and the sun makes more sense than worshipping L. Ron Hubbard.
posted by kozad at 3:05 PM on June 14, 2005


I guess I'm an athiest or an HONEST pagan, then. I do worship the moon, mind you, but the sun worships ME.

I don't even know what that means, but it felt good to type.

(checking my e-meter)

Oops, time for my vitamins!
posted by davejay at 3:09 PM on June 14, 2005


Tom Cruise has p*ss*d me mightily off because of his Scientology-inspired inane babble re psych meds. For that reason alone I refuse to spend one dime on any of his movies.

And once again I must mention that L. Ron Hubbard started Scientology only after he said that the way to make a lot of money was to start your own religion. From science fiction writer to successful con artist...there ya go.

(I understand Scientology is a lot kinder to its celebrity representatives than to the hoi polloi. Free advertising and all that.)
posted by konolia at 3:09 PM on June 14, 2005


Aw, cut him some slack. He's a medical professional, you know.
posted by DyRE at 3:09 PM on June 14, 2005


The images of him accosting Oprah are worth the price of admission alone.

It was vaguely reminiscent of roughhousing with a sibling, but that's kind of a stretch, and yeah, that was weird and memorable.
posted by PY at 3:12 PM on June 14, 2005


Kill all celebrities.
posted by Citizen Premier at 3:13 PM on June 14, 2005


Tom who?
posted by nanojath at 3:15 PM on June 14, 2005


A guy who used to live in my house was apparently a Scientologist as I still get their newsletter and pamphlets (read: marketing materials) in the mail. It's hideously funny stuff. They are selling lecture tapes/CDs of Hubbard for hundreds of dollars. What goons follow this nonsense.
posted by xmutex at 3:18 PM on June 14, 2005


Does anyone know of a Scientologist in real life?

Around here, it's crazy-looking loner dudes who hold up opposite ends of protest banners. There's a few who hang out at Park Street with a sign that says "Psychiatrists: Stop Poisoning Our Kids."

Of course, they're not overt about the fact that they're scientologists and that the alternative to Ritalin is electronically purging alien ghosts from your body.

When I had a "suit job", I used to play with them after work. The best time I ever had with them was when I was meeting a friend at Park and arrived arly. I stood there in my dark suit and observed the scientologists, occasionally scribbling on a yellow legal pad. Eventually one of them leaned his sign pole against the stairs and approached me.

"Excuse me." I didn't respond. "Excuse me, sir! EXCUSE ME! ARE YOU A PSYCHOLOGIST?" I picked up my satchel and walked in the direction that my friend would be coming from.
posted by Mayor Curley at 3:21 PM on June 14, 2005


Yeah, what nanojath beat me to. Tom who?

I can't remember anything off the top of my head that he has acted in that had any culturally redeeming values. I'm not saying that they don't exist, but I just can't think of any, which isn't a very good sign.

Having lived in Southern California for a long time, I met too many Scientologists.

The most recent altercation involved accepting multiple copies of various Scientology rags - like Clear Times or whatever - from some poor glassy-eyed woman and then tearing them up and placing them directly in the trash, to applause from my fellow bus-stop waiting folk and people on the street.

I said to her something like "This is utter trash and you know it. And if it wasn't trash, you'd want to give away the whole program for free, because it would mean so much you would be compelled to. Compelled to shout it openly from the rooftops, from your heart. Instead you scuttle around behind legal and physical threats, coercing money from those who need it most - those who simply need a friend and a kind word and a little hope."

She actually threatened to call the cops on me for "theft" or something, which was pretty funny. I mean, she actually screamed something about if I didn't want to read them, why did I ask for four copies? And if I didn't read them it was theft!

Oh, and you can always tell when a previous tenet or roommate was ever even remotely interested in Scientology. The mail just never, ever stops.

Has anyone tried bulk-copying Scientology course-materials under the premise that religion can't be copyrighted? I know they agressively take to court infringers, but how can you claim you're a religion when you're obviously protecting "trade secrets" like the corporation you are?
posted by loquacious at 3:22 PM on June 14, 2005


I have this theory. One of many.

Polytheism is at the core of human nature. It's genetic. We can't fight it.


Any time I look at my own upbringing, (RC) I can't help but notice the thin veneer overlaying this. We believe in One God, but hey, you worried about that cruise you're going to take? Pray to St. Nicholas! Poor? Pray to St. Anthony! Going off to war? Pray to St. George! (or St. Joan)

Now I was taught that one should never pray for anything. But it just goes to show how little distance we've come from outright wish fulfillment as religion.
posted by dreamsign at 3:28 PM on June 14, 2005


AspectRatio writes " Best of the Web... Brodie you should be ashamed of yourself."

Oh GIVE ME a BREAK. #1 posted the Hasselhoff Recrusion did he not?
posted by BrodieShadeTree at 3:33 PM on June 14, 2005


but how can you claim you're a religion when you're obviously protecting "trade secrets" like the corporation you are?
Do they actually claim to be a religion? Not meant to be a snark...just asking. Where I live, Scientologists are about as rare as a full set of teeth at a tractor pull.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:37 PM on June 14, 2005


Oh, come on, Cruise has given us some testoterone driven flicks for the not so high brow set (such as yours truly). I still quote Top Gun to my coworkers to get a giggle, or a head shake of pity :)

I mean, so, he might be gay, he might be a nutjob for adhering to Scientology, but he makes great (sorry for the broad catergorization) Guy Flicks. And yes, he just so happens to be the EXACT SAME character in every flick, but I still love 'em.
posted by eurasian at 3:41 PM on June 14, 2005


Does anyone know of a Scientologist in real life?

My ex-uncle-in-law was one. Probably still is, for that matter. Weeeeird dude. He lived out on the coastal plain of NC in a set of singlewides linked together that were attached to / next to his old trimaran*. Didn't have enough money to get his wife and kids much medical or dental care, but had money to send to the Elronians. At least once or twice his father threated to disinherit him if he didn't start spending more money on his family and less on Scientology.

*This isn't quite as crazy as it sounds; in NC you didn't have to pay property tax on trailers, only on the land they sit on. But it's still loopy.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 3:42 PM on June 14, 2005


Evidently alt.religion.scientology, a forum frequented by critics of Scientology, has consistently been "sporged"* by a "poetry-bot."

SEE: here and here.

*A piece of internet slang that, I must confess, I was not aware of.
posted by brundlefly at 3:42 PM on June 14, 2005


I've been reading this book about the Mormon church and it's interesting to look at the many similarities between the early days of the LDS church and of Scientology: odd beliefs, eccentric founder with a dodgy past, "documentary proof" that vanishes in a puff of smoke (e-meter readings vs. Smith's "translations" of Egyptian hieroglyphs), shady financial dealings, great interest in material wealth and success, insular and isolationist but with a fervent proselytizing arm, secret tenets that are only revealed when one gets high enough up, clashes with various governments over the group's status as a religion...

Give it sixty years and middle America will be talking about those nice clean cut Scientology youths and going to Scientology Tabernacle Choir concerts.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 3:51 PM on June 14, 2005


I mean, so, he might be gay, he might be a nutjob for adhering to Scientology, but he makes great (sorry for the broad catergorization) Guy Flicks.

I have to agree. If it were Cruise and Gibson in a celebrity deathmatch, I'd be sacrificing virgins to Cruise's Thetan boxing coach. At least Cruise is harmless.
posted by dreamsign at 3:51 PM on June 14, 2005


On preview, I didn't meant to lump in his being gay as being a negative, only lumping together the various detracting gossip about him. Man, does that ever read poorly.
posted by eurasian at 3:54 PM on June 14, 2005


Tom Cruise is starting to show the side effects of exposure to Scientology.

It is not a religion. It is a criminal organization. It is psychopathic. One of their central tenets (although you don't get to learn this until you've been a scientologist for awhile) is that non-scientologists are not human and therefore get no moral protection.

To a scientologist, it is perfectly ethical and moral to lie to, cheat, or even kill a non-scientologist. If you're not in the cult, you're meat, to be taken advantage of and discarded when convenient. Seriously.

They will go after their critics extremely aggressively. They will do ANYTHING to shut up critics. They will research their opponents exhaustively and throw out the most unbelievably loaded pejoratives in an attempt to discredit criticism. "Mr. Jones is an admitted pedophile and pornographer, and you should pay no attention to his rantings." Like that, but incredibly twisted and nasty; they'll plumb depths that will shock and appall you.

These people are actively evil and malicious; they are the single worst organization I know of. You can read more about them at www.xenu.net, aka Operation Clambake.

I suggest you educate yourself a bit.... these people are really dangerous.
posted by Malor at 4:02 PM on June 14, 2005


Has anyone else noticed actor Tom Cruise going more and more wacky in public? Is his love affair with the hot-young-actress really a sham? Is this a PR stunt run dangerously wild, or Scientology in action?

could anyone give less of a shit than me? because people who give a shit about tom cruise need to stay out of theaters. and what Malor said.
posted by quonsar at 4:06 PM on June 14, 2005


Oh Quonsar, so cool, so collected, so detached. I get goose pimples everytime....
A++
posted by BrodieShadeTree at 4:09 PM on June 14, 2005


Thorzdad: Yeah, Scientology is a tax-exempt religious organization in the US. A few European countries have nixed that in their own countries, and I think I recall a few others outright banning the organization.

On the other hand, I'm conflicted. If Scientology/SaintHillCorp can be a recognized, tax exempt religious organization, why can't something like Burning Man?

(Burning Man is tax exempt as a non-profit LLC, but not as a religion. The debate about the appropriateness of the Burning Man organization being recognized as a religion rages and has been raging for a long time, both externally and internally. Some on "the inside" would hate to see it be "recognized" as a "religion", if simply because of the inherent dogma that would follow. Others would debate that the main focus of Burning Man is spiritual in nature - the spirituality of humankind itself, of the unknown. Even others would argue "Shut the fuck up, go make some art and bring me back a cold beer you dorkwad, or I'm gonna light you up with this here flame cannon." I only bring up Burning Man as an example because it is clearly, vastly more spiritually and religiously motivated than an overtly materialistic organization like Scientology.)
posted by loquacious at 4:10 PM on June 14, 2005


A blurb on Operation Clambake about "trade secrets" and Scientology, as a preface to Operation Clambake's "secret library".
posted by loquacious at 4:22 PM on June 14, 2005


I have a couple of mormon friends, one who was my dive partner. I've talked to scientologists about Scientology, and I've never been bothered by folks from either group. Lots of other factors there though. It's when people group up that they seem to lose most of their brains.

I'd characterize being closeted in F-ing modern day Hollywood as being negative (although money and fame make people do strange things). Perhaps though Cruise is closer to Troy McClure in sexual appetites....?

Or perhaps he's just on the cocaine?

loquacious - druids/drunes were wickermaning people thousands of years before buring man.

But if we're recognizing anything as a tax exempt religious organization I'd join the direct action baptists and squirt people with my hose. No, wait, I'd join the holy church of trephination.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:23 PM on June 14, 2005


But Shields is disgusted by the TOP GUN star's "dangerous" comments and took a swipe at his Scientology beliefs, by saying she wouldn't take advice from someone who devotes his life to creatures from outer space.

Put your manners back in, Brook. - Tom
posted by jikel_morten at 4:24 PM on June 14, 2005


Burning Man? Spiritual? I suppose. If taking a shit load of drugs and fucking a bunch of people you hardly know is spiritual? Er... now that I think about it... Hallelujah! Send me to the desert!

If being like other religions is all you need to qualify, then somebody should submit the tax-exempt application as I find Scientologists and Burning Man advocates equally as annoying as most other religious people who can't shut the fuck up about it.
posted by tkchrist at 4:25 PM on June 14, 2005


I'm not sure why it is so hard to accept that our souls are polluted by thetans that were killed in giant volcanoes by nuclear missles sent by the galactic overlord Xenu. Doesn't sound much more far fetched than an invisible man in the sky giving laws to humans via a burning bush to me. Once you question the rationality of one religion, don't you sort of have to start questioning the rationality of them all?

Tom Cruise is not a dumbass because he is a Scientologist. He is a dumbass because, well, he is dumb and an ass.
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:26 PM on June 14, 2005


#1 posted the Hasselhoff Recrusion did he not?

The Hasselhoff Recrusion was clever and funny in a very disturbing way. Just because Matt posted it doesn't mean we don't have any standards.

I'm looking forward to the Brad Pitt breaking up with Angelina Jolie thread.
posted by marxchivist at 4:26 PM on June 14, 2005


Konolia's back! (Did you ever leave?)

Would any Scientology-critics mind giving me a non-circular explanation why Scientology is so obviously kooky while the major monotheistic religions get a free pass despite, well, can we just take a look at that list again?

odd beliefs, eccentric founder with a dodgy past, "documentary proof" that vanishes in a puff of smoke ... shady financial dealings, great interest in material wealth and success, insular and isolationist but with a fervent proselytizing arm, secret tenets that are only revealed when one gets high enough up, clashes with various governments over the group's status as a religion...

This is non-snark. This is a serious request.

Living in a glass church and throwin' stones,
posted by joe lisboa at 4:28 PM on June 14, 2005


Wait a second... your talking about Tom Cruise's relationships and quasi-religious beliefs in a serious tone? This cannot be, the center will not hold. For shame, Brodie. For shame.

Malor is entirely right except he left out the part where we acknowledge that all Scientologists are idiots except for the few that are getting filthy rich. See, those guys, the guys in charge, are worthy of worship -- it takes some serious cojones to pull off getting a pyramid scam called a religion and granted tax exempt status. I've been plugging away for decades and have aliens, demons and all that good shit, the IRS just ain't going for it.

More power to 'em, says I.
posted by cedar at 4:29 PM on June 14, 2005


If you've got aliens and demons, cedar, my check's in the mail.
posted by joe lisboa at 4:30 PM on June 14, 2005


tkchrist, you're actually pretty on the money, speaking from a communications point of view. the old gods were created to personify nature but also as a way to document and reinforce stereotypes that people found useful. In greek and roman gods especially you can see strong personallity types. as with stories like eodipus, odysius, pandora, etc.

myths and religion were once the main form of media and the main way for a culture to perpetuate certain ideas and images. now we have movies and, more importantly, movie stars. perfect people we will never meet yet feel we have a deep connection and udnerstanding with.

i'm still trying to work out whether it's more dangerous for greedy religion or greedy capitalism to be at the steering wheel for this type of thing.
posted by es_de_bah at 4:34 PM on June 14, 2005


Tom is a guy who just happens, at this moment in his life, to be on top of the world. He has much materially, is famous and so has a pulpit from which to offer his opinions. He's young enough to still be optimistic, energetic, and pain-free and old enough to be very sure of himself. His religion tells him he's an amazing human being, his young woman tells him he's a great lover, and his bank account tells him he's secure. Sooner or later, like all of us, he'll undergo difficult life lessons that will bring him closer to ground, to a little humility. For some reason, his have just been delayed longer than usual. Check in on the man in say, 10 years, see if he's still promoting Scientology, if he still has the same lover, if he's still a major Hollywood draw, if he goes on Oprah and jumps on the furniture or if he offers a little sober reflection instead.
posted by scheptech at 4:37 PM on June 14, 2005


I have this theory. One of many.
Polytheism is at the core of human nature. It's genetic. We can't fight it.
The modern extension of this is the cult of celebrity. Celebs are the new gods and an intrinsic need of ours. They are our pantheon. We don't WANT an invisible deity alone in his heaven working mysteriously. We want gods we can see and experience. When nature can't provide us a god anymore, we make one. And along came Hollywood. If you reject the cult of celebrity - you probably are an atheist or an HONEST pagan...

posted by tkchrist at 3:00 PM PST on June 14

tkchrist, I think you're actually pretty on the money, speaking from a communications point of view. The old gods were created to personify nature but also as a way to document and reinforce stereotypes that people found useful. In Greek and Roman gods especially you can see a strong emphasis on personality types. Also with stories like Oedipus, Odysseus, Pandora, etc.

Myths and religion were once the main form of media and the main way for a culture to perpetuate certain ideas and images. Now we have movies and, more importantly, movie stars. Perfect people we will never meet yet feel we have a deep connection and understanding with. People whom we believe we know something about (this is called a parasocial relationship).

I'm still trying to work out whether it's more dangerous for greedy religion or greedy capitalistic showbiz to be at the steering wheel for this type of thing. Maybe that's just a question of semantics, tho. :)
posted by es_de_bah at 4:40 PM on June 14, 2005


>_< sorry for double post
posted by es_de_bah at 4:41 PM on June 14, 2005


Cruise is a vapid, empty shell of a that exists for no other reason than to make movie studios and cults tons of money. Cut open the fucker's chest and you will find a black shriveled piece of meat that hasn't actually operated in over two decades.

I wonder if there is some way of getting Dubya and crew interested in the $cientologists, some terrorist angle or something. It would be terribly entertaining. Especially if Travolta and Cruise somehow end up in a standoff against the FBI, holed up in some $cientology stronghold in southern CA.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 4:42 PM on June 14, 2005


With all due respect, don't most religions take money from their followers? Aren't most of them run like corporations (and often corrupt corporations)? Don't they tell you what to think and how to act? Why does it make more sense to follow the teachings of a carpenter from thousands of years ago rather than L. Ron Hubbard?
posted by sacrilicious at 4:42 PM on June 14, 2005


Do the aliens and the demons breed, cedar? How much to watch?
posted by Sparx at 4:43 PM on June 14, 2005


Joe -lisboa, Your right. All religions are fairly kooky.

So let's start a purely rational one... and still try to get rich. I wonder if THAT is possible? Who's in?

We should start with a winning template: Creation myth. Martyr. Apocalypse. Salvation.

I'll start.

Creation Myth:

In the beginning there was a mystery. So we just guess based on the best available evidence. We assume all was void. And then, somehow, there existed a singularity. And Maxwell (rather, Maxwell later described Thermodynamics) said let there be light and there was light...

NEXT?
posted by tkchrist at 4:44 PM on June 14, 2005


I did not realize I was serious. In fact, I thought I was being whimsical in pointing out some flavorfull incongruities. Ah well, next time maybe I should just snark and point and laugh and remain 'oh-so-above-it." Dang it.
posted by BrodieShadeTree at 4:44 PM on June 14, 2005


Katie Holmes is so last week.
posted by thirteenkiller at 4:50 PM on June 14, 2005


loquacious I'd rather no religions were tax-exempt. But like that'll happen in the US.

Cruise the actor: Rain Man was a good flick. Well, 'cos of a good script and Hoffman too. But I always thought it ironic he first made pro-military Top Gun, then antiwar Born on the Fifth of July.

Cruise & Women: Was he into Scientology when he was married to his first wife, wazhername? And - I've no idea who this Holmes girl is. What are her acting credits?
She's no Shelly-Marie Tambo Vincoeur...
She's certainly no Margaret Mary O'Connell either.

Celebs are the new gods and an intrinsic need of ours.
Serious question: What is the celeb culture like in various parts of the world?
I've heard contrary things about Western Europe (outside of England) Supposedly celebs aren't bothered by tabloids so much, but then we all hear of paparazzi hounding the Grimaldis and other "royals," and some athletes.
I think there's a big celeb culture in Japan; not sure about Russia, let alone Africa, other parts of Asia, etc.
posted by NorthernLite at 5:00 PM on June 14, 2005


What is the celeb culture like in various parts of the world?

AS far as I know there are few exceptions. Maybe the types of celebs differ - not necessarily Pop or Movie/Media stars. Some times royalty some times sports stars. But every country and culture I have come across has these crazy fixations.
posted by tkchrist at 5:11 PM on June 14, 2005


tkchrist : Word. I only choose Burning Man because it's an easily recognizable example. I can also choose "art happenings", "acid tests" and "underground raves" as examples. The common thread would be the phenomenon of the group experience, and the Temporary Autonomous Zone.

NorthernLite : I agree with that as well. If any given organization gathers funds for building churches, or even wicker men, or cruise ships, they should probably be taxed just like everyone else.

But I would probably take that a step further and abolish taxes in general. The majority of my meager tax dollars has just been mis-approriated to kill people, anyway. IMNSHO.
posted by loquacious at 5:15 PM on June 14, 2005


I can't remember anything off the top of my head that he has acted in that had any culturally redeeming values. I'm not saying that they don't exist, but I just can't think of any, which isn't a very good sign.

Magnolia? I heard Collateral is good.
posted by designbot at 5:26 PM on June 14, 2005


Hey. As far as Cruise's acting? Acting? I wouldn't use those words... more like performance. Risky Business and Minority Report were good flicks.

He was brilliant in Magnolia.
posted by tkchrist at 5:29 PM on June 14, 2005


"Why does it make more sense to follow the teachings of a carpenter from thousands of years ago rather than L. Ron Hubbard?"

Anecdotally - because L.Ron invented the thing just to scam people - and/or ostensibly as a joke to 'wake people up' (heard through several grapevines - including R.A. Heinlein & fans & co. and Del Close et.al.)

....not sure if that really illustrates why though. Pulling the wool over your own eyes can be fun.

I suppose really because the carpenter's teachings are based in actual human archetypes (or do you think J.C. was actually born on Saturnalia, Lenaea, Yule, Shabe-Yalda, the festival ofWiracocha, etc?) which are connected to reality (again - for example - the winter solstice) and how we percieve and relate to it on very fundimental levels.

Simply making something up, while fun, has less of a meaning for us as to our place in and connection to the universe and our identity as humans and connections to each other.

Which is something - to connect back to the topic - that Tom Cruise is doing, trying to - literally - seduce us into thinking that "Tom Cruise" is his real identity.
But even the best of us get lost with money and fame and power, etc. Best to avoid caring about such things, lest you lose your identity as well (as I've heard from some quarters).
posted by Smedleyman at 5:32 PM on June 14, 2005


Vanilla Sky was kind of cool too.
posted by designbot at 5:36 PM on June 14, 2005


According to scripture (quantum mechanics) there is and never was a true void, nor were photons the first particles to be created!

(And thus was born the first protestant tkchristian church.)

"NEXT?"
tkchrist - was that a soup nazi 'next'?
posted by Smedleyman at 5:36 PM on June 14, 2005


Not to give the wrong impression; I'm sure Tom Cruise the person is a Giant Douche™. I'm just saying not all his movies have been mainstream crap.
posted by designbot at 5:39 PM on June 14, 2005


first protestant tkchristian

LOL.

Yes. The Soup Nazi will be canonized in my church.
posted by tkchrist at 5:53 PM on June 14, 2005


Not to give the wrong impression; I'm sure Tom Cruise the person is a Giant Douche™

I worked as a grip right out of school. Many of my old friends are still in the "biz" and from what I have heard from reliable sources - that at least professionally - Cruise is a dream to work with and very kind.

Remember though, and I think I said this before: Nothing will make you immune to the hype machine of Celebrity Cults faster than working on movie sets. Like skydiving, everybody should do it once just to see how fucking stupid it really is.
posted by tkchrist at 5:59 PM on June 14, 2005


tkchrist: I hope this is pompous enough to fit a new religion - it's a fun way to spend a lunchhour (also, I stole your first line):
---------------------
In the beginning there was Mystery. And Mystery begat Confusion, for Man knew not and knew not so. Confusion whispered in the ear of Man, not as a voice, but as Ignorance. A thousand brothers killed each a thousand more, all seeking to proclaim their mastery of Confusion from the peak of the largest hill of corpses, for Confusion told them ever Noise was the greater of Signal.

But Mystery spoke to Man, not as a voice, but as a challenge - calling Man to breach Confusion's walls as Man had breached the walls of his brother's Fortress to lay waste his brother's children. And Mystery called each man a fool who listened only to the tales of others for they would breach no walls, and they would not lay waste Confusion who was begat by Mystery, and they would dwell in Confusion's dark Fortress forever.

So many men were fools, but some were not. And Confusion whispered in countless ears of the wisdom of foolishness, of its grand traditions, of its proud lineage. So the tales of others grew long in the telling and the Fortress of Confusion grew mighty and the Noise of Confusion grew deafening and so great was the Noise that countless more men fell upon their brothers and laid waste their brothers' children and the Noise grew louder.

And always those who listened to Mystery remained few. But they knew the substance of the Fortress was but Noise, and so they worked upon the Signal that would breach its walls and lay waste to Confusion and free their brother's children. They made no claim to wisdom or to respecting tradition, and what lineage they had was defined by the Signal's strength as it passed along the generations, for no man was the Signal, though the Signal elevates each man who listens to Mystery as if he were on the shoulder's of Giants.

The signal grew until Confusion, deep within its fortress of Noise, became aware of Signal, and feared that Mystery was upon It and would lay it waste for its constant Noise. So Confusion built its walls of Noise all the more solid, and stretched its fortress to areas the Signal had yet to reach. At times it surrounded encroaching Signal with noise, so Confusion could guide it's direction and breach the fortresses of Men and lay waste their children. And so the battle lines were drawn.

Some say the Noise will echo forever in Man, like screams in a valley of ambush, that the war might last forever. Some say Confusion will finally drown Mystery in a sea of noise. Others swear the signal can only grow ever faster until in the blink of eye it will dwarf the Fortress of Confusion forever. I say, to accept the Challenge of Mystery is to be of Man and accepting of his Destiny.
posted by Sparx at 6:18 PM on June 14, 2005


Once again, I ask... Why does dating someone much younger than you warrant congratulations?

It doesn't. To me it implies that they're lacking the requisite charisma to impress someone their own age, so they've got to go with the younger ones; who can't see through their bullshit.

That, and I've run across enough young women who think being with a fossil makes them "sophisticated". These people drive me to drink in their presence.

But then, that's just one man's (anti-social) opinion.
posted by Dark Messiah at 6:45 PM on June 14, 2005


The most annoying thing about scientology is that I didn't think of it first. I'm at least as holy as those folks, I shouldn't pay tax either. Seriously ... and don't get me started on the christians.
posted by snarfodox at 6:58 PM on June 14, 2005


Would any Scientology-critics mind giving me a non-circular explanation why Scientology is so obviously kooky while the major monotheistic religions get a free pass

Nobody's asking you to give a "free pass" to anything. Doubt whatever you want to.

But looking at that list, there are several things that wouldn't apply to any of the mainline strains of the Abrahamic faiths (not to pick on other faiths, but those three are enough to get the point across):

eccentric founder with a dodgy past -- Maybe, but not verifiably, which isn't nothing. The difference between Moses or Jesus and Elron is the difference between King Arthur, whose stories might have some historical truths to them (or might not), and Sauron, whose creator is on record as making him up.

"documentary proof" that vanishes in a puff of smoke -- Nope. None of them claim to have the original holy texts written by El Queso Grande's hand or anything like that, in the same way that, say, Joseph Smith claimed to have back in the day (or that people assert that he claimed to have, anyhow).

shady financial dealings -- Not by and large. You can find scam artists in modern American protestantism, to be sure, but that's absolutely dwarfed by the thousands upon thousands of religious bodies that are basically financially transparent. If you look around online, you can easily find the financial statements, budgets, incomes, and so on for many churches -- in many cases right the way up the organizational ladder -- and the statements will be basically accurate.

great interest in material wealth and success -- Not for a few hundred years, unless you want to count the odd scam artist. Except for the few scam artists, nobody joins the ministry to get rich.

insular and isolationist but with a fervent proselytizing arm -- Nope, except where they're immigrants, I suppose. Or New England, but everyone is insular and isolationist up there ;^) .

secret tenets that are only revealed when one gets high enough up -- Not that I'm aware of. You can go and read the entire text of the holy texts of all three Abrahamic faiths, and you can read extensive commentaries upon them, and you can read extensive descriptions of rituals, and so on, all freely available in your local library.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:58 PM on June 14, 2005


This is the sort of thing that just validates my belief that The Day Of The Locust has a truly happy ending.
posted by maryh at 7:05 PM on June 14, 2005


To add one more distinction to ROU_Xenophobe's list:

Many, not all, evangelical Christian churches (can't comment on the other Abrahamic or other religions since I don't know enough) will not insist that you join their particular church. They're more than happy if you pay attention, learn something, and declare yourself to be a follower of Jesus, that's the main thing, it's the thing they're most interested in; if you then move on to a different church and never support theirs with money or in any other way that's ok. Contrast with Scientology where a central authority exists and definitely expects to benefit financially from your adherance.
posted by scheptech at 7:23 PM on June 14, 2005


I can't believe I'm taking the time to post in this pointless, soul-sucking thread.

From the "sham" link in the FPP:
Holmes ... is set to make her big-screen debut in Batman Begins

Eh? Debut? I'm pretty sure I saw her shaking her jiggly bits in a Billy Bob Thornton movie a few years ago. The Ice Storm? Pieces of April? Debut? WTF?
posted by intermod at 7:36 PM on June 14, 2005


Sparx, that was actually astonishingly beautiful.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 9:18 PM on June 14, 2005


intermod - as any fan of Katie Holmes will tell you, her delightful bosom was the star of the Cate Blanchett/Keanu Reeves hick/tarot movie The Gift.
posted by longbaugh at 10:12 PM on June 14, 2005


$cientology died on Usenet in the mid- to late-90s; it was the first institutional victim of the Net's brand-new freedom of information. Operation Clambake is a thoughtful and detailed treasure trove for anyone who wants to learn just how destructive and malicious $cientology is, but it's also important to remember just how courageous the online folks who first went up against $cientology really were. The cult's absurdly vicious spamming, legal and physical attacks against people who a) posted its moronic secret teachings to the world or b) simply dared to express a negative opinion about the group are a part of NetLore no fan of this fucked-up medium should be ignorant of.

In short, anyone who isn't aware of the power-hungry, control-freak idiocy that is $cientology doesn't know jackshit about the history of the Net. Just saying.
posted by mediareport at 10:27 PM on June 14, 2005


Smedleyman: While I don't know the details of Scientology, I would argue that all religion is based on human archetypes to some degree (a la Joseph Campbell). And yes, while Christianity is certainly based in reality, how much reality is a matter of opinion. L. Ron may have made stuff up, but I would guess that some of the things in the bible may have not literally happened. To me, aliens and angels seem equally improbable.
posted by sacrilicious at 10:54 PM on June 14, 2005


but I would guess that some of the things in the bible may have not literally happened. To me, aliens and angels seem equally improbable.
Unquestionably. The point I failed to communicate well is that the human archetypes present in many religions go even deeper than Campbell points out. For example there is evidence for star charts that go back tens of thousands of years.
We can superimpose whatever new age or religious babble we wish on that fact, but those people were looking at the same stars, living through the same seasons, trying to predict and make sense of the weather and their local universe and themselves in the same way we are. While the science is certainly superior now, the metaphors still point both ways. That is, the apprehension of ourselves in looking at things. It seems people are attracted to the ancient things because it seems more 'in tune' or simpler, and in many ways it is.
Heisenberg and Schroedinger tell us a great deal about the universe, but Hereclitus was saying "all things are fire" long before Einstein. To some degree the truths there are purely human truths, but there is a great deal of science there (or pre-science if you like) and the language and metaphor used for science from the past is - closer to the human bone if you will.
So certainly 'angels' are completely fiction. However there are some fictions that are useful tools from which we can derive understanding and some that are not. (I'd not put angels in the very useful catagory though, but the mysteries of Dionysus, say, are a very valuable insight into the human condition)

Muslims recognize the Koran as divinely inspired for this kind of reason. Because it's so beautiful.
So obviously something doesn't have to be factual or 'real' to be true (or really, real). But to be useful - real - it does have to be universal and have depth. It has to be livable.
Not sure I'm explaining the difference between a livable idea and one artificially derived out of ego, but like jazz, if you have to ask...

We can derive comfort from any kind of metaphor, certainly, but where the comfort becomes more important than the insight is where people lose the path and become to attached to the metaphor. And it is so easy to become attached to a metaphor that serves ego.
Such as the 'path' metaphor itself.
“Tom pays Jessica to ‘keep Katie on the path’.She goes everywhere.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:42 PM on June 14, 2005


Best of the Web... Brodie you should be ashamed of yourself. -AspectRatio

I can't believe I'm taking the time to post in this pointless, soul-sucking thread. -intermod

ok, i'll throw down. i'd say between tkchrist's insightful thoughts and Sparx's remarkable revision not to mention the rest of what i read here tonight...

[disclosure: my plan was to come in here and snark all over a celeb thread]

So here i go, out on a limb and say, yes. Best of the Web.
posted by quin at 12:37 AM on June 15, 2005


i'll further add, that while not a Tom Cruise fan, in the past week i watched Collateral. And i'm sorry to say, i found his roll compelling and quite well acted. (which is to say, at one point in the film i actually said aloud "holy shit, this guy can act!")

So here is what i'm saying, see Collateral. it is not bad.
posted by quin at 12:46 AM on June 15, 2005


Collateral, Risky Business, Minority Report.
Also Magnolia, but I am the only one scared by how good he is at playing that part? I think all actors find a role that they can really get into, because at some level they truly identify with the character. There is something about him in that movie that just gets to me...it's freaky.
posted by slimslowslider at 1:07 AM on June 15, 2005


He was good in Magnolia. Pat Healy took a chunk of that movie as the pharmacy guy though.
I liked Rain Man too. Come to think of it I like most of his work. But is there a role he plays that isn't appellated by the term "cocky?" (cocky teen, cocky fighter jock, cocky hit man, etc)
posted by Smedleyman at 1:15 AM on June 15, 2005


I don't really dislike Tom Cruise, and I will probably see WOTW just because I'm usually a sucker for summer popcorn flicks. (and I have to admit I'm secretly hoping Spielberg hasn't jumped the shark yet....since Schinder's List--with the exception of parts of Saving Private Ryan--everything has been thunderingly mediocre). Maybe he could be a good actor if he would take more challenging roles. Magnolia was as close as he's come to doing something daring.

As for Scientology, I think the bad outweighs the good, but Tom Cruise is obviously treated like a king by them, unlike most of the members. He's not gonna be privy to the dark side of things (and there are plenty of dark sides to those people).

That said, he is kind of loony. Probably still hung up over Nicole Kidman. Maybe he'll calm down after a bit.
posted by zardoz at 3:50 AM on June 15, 2005


Sparx!! I... I... Wow. Superb.

Ok. Here is the deal. You are now a Prophet. You get 40% or all the revenue from your Word. I know, I know that leaves 60% - but we are going to have HUUUUGE overhead and start-up with this religion thing and I figure that we should reserve a small cut for our Mysterious deity if he actually shows up.
posted by tkchrist at 11:09 AM on June 15, 2005


Everyone in this thread would do themselves a favour by reading A Piece of Blue Sky by Jon Atak.

It's available freely on the web, but it's probably easier to go to the library.

If you are not well-informed about Scientology, the facts will shock the hell out of you. And you will become a little more wary about their continued existence.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:25 AM on June 15, 2005


I would like to award some superlatives, if I may. Vanilla Sky was the worst movie I have ever seen in my life. And Tom Cruise is the ugliest-supposedly-attractive male celebrity. Brad Pitt comes in a close second. (Sarah Jessica Parker wins the female award.)
posted by crapulent at 11:29 AM on June 15, 2005


eurasian writes "Oh, come on, Cruise has given us some testoterone driven flicks for the not so high brow set (such as yours truly). I still quote Top Gun to my coworkers to get a giggle, or a head shake of pity :"

As other have said Tom has done some decent stuff even if it is just playing himself. My favourite (though not because of Tom) is Days of Thunder. 1) it has Nicole in all her magnificance and 2) I can't help but tear up when they push that stock car, it gets me every single time damn it.
posted by Mitheral at 1:04 PM on June 15, 2005


I saw the Oprah show and he was way over the top. And, his new GF is hot--obviously makes him loose it. Second, that's just the way Oprah runs her show--she pokes a nerve and usually a bad one for me--in everybody. Cruze surprised her. It was a fantastic show
posted by xtian at 2:27 PM on June 15, 2005


Vanilla Sky was the worst movie I have ever seen in my life.

You have not seen Cliffhanger. That is the worst movie ever. Excruitiatingly bad.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:28 PM on June 15, 2005


And you will become a little more wary about their continued existence.
Wary of that. Also wary of what it is we do about it.
Cruise could be the greatest actor since Larry Oliver, but having a "minder" to keep your girlfriend "on the path" is weird - well, more than weird it's restrictive to liberty - and something should be done about it. It needs to be handled carefully though.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:42 PM on June 15, 2005


That said, he is kind of loony.

posted by zardoz


When a flying, gun-vomiting, disembodied head calls someone a loony, I believe it.

Vanilla Sky was the worst movie I have ever seen in my life.

So says someone who never saw Wild Wild West. Or Red Zone Cuba. Or Highlander 2.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 3:50 PM on June 15, 2005


There is no way Tom Cruise is gay. No self-respecting gay man would dump Nicole Kidman as his "beard" over Penelope Cruz. Kidman is a capital-A actress with 1940s style movie star glamour. Penelope Cruz is frumpy and Katie Holmes is just a scared little kid by comparison.

Although as a straight guy, I think anybody who dumps Nicole Kidman must be completely batshit, but that's just my opinion.
posted by jonp72 at 6:40 PM on June 15, 2005


I think anybody who dumps Nicole Kidman must be completely batshit

I dunno, the throbbing Botox vein-bulge mars her for me.

Regardless, he had to dump Kidman - the contract was up. Katie Holmes is a straight (pun intended) replacement - Batman Returns is her Days Of Thunder (albeit sans-Cruise), she puts in a stint as his beard for approx. ten years, at which point both will make certain they have high profile projects to promote (cf. Moulin Rouge) he moves on to the next girl in need of sustained co-publicity.

Mr. Cruise will doubtless continue to meet his male companion at premieres and parties after the pair arrive in separate cars (though by the end of his marriage to Kidman, said companion would accompany them if their group was large.)

Allegedly.

Um, this is the Popbitch board, isn't it?
posted by jack_mo at 7:27 AM on June 16, 2005


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