PS: Now that Michael Jackson is retreating from the limelight a little bit, I’m happy Tom Cruise has decided to step up to play the part of Insane Celebrity. It’s the role he was born for. Although it sucks that he killed Oprah.
Of all the areas that I’ve thought of accusing Matt Lauer of betraying the intellectual and moral responsibility of any decent journalist, let alone an influential one, through the sheer and crushing weight of his obvious and profound ignorance of the subject at hand, the medical research and prescription practice of Ritalin has never been one of them. Kudos to you, Tom Cruise, for breaking down this final barrier, and for standing up on behalf of all of us to ensure some journalistic integrity on the celebrity beat of NBC’s The Today Show. As Matt Lauer himself might say, “You just said something that made me think of something.” Truer words were never spoken.
Cruise sounds like a raving lunatic quack! I love the line that Lauer says: “It’s very impressive to listen to you. Because clearly, you’ve done the homework. And you know the subject.” Ha! Just like a crazy person, Cruise totally missed the sarcasm. What I take from this is the renewed appreciation that movie stars, no matter how famous and skilled, can be messed up quacks. Go Scientology!
Ironic: I might, MIGHT, actually be interested in hearing more of Cruise’s arguments — ’cause sure, I’m open to critiques of modern medicine! — if he didn’t also, you know, BELIEVE IN SCIENTOLOGY.
The weird thing — well, one of several weird things — about Cruise’s bizarre but apparently sincere tirade against psychiatry is that he’s just so phony and noncommittal about everything else. Also, he probably would have gotten away with it if he hadn’t singled out Brooke Shields. That turned his celebentricity into a celebrity tiff — which made it a genuine news story.
That’s actually kinda sad and worrisome.
The rant I wrote for my blog and then decided not to use (you people are probably a better sample of interested parties than my readers.)
Someone please book Tom Cruise on a talk show with some surprise guests, say, a panel of academics who are well versed in the history of psychiatry, scientific and medical methodology, pharmaceutical research and the art of debate. A good Edward-Tufte trained visual explainer would also be helpful, with nice slides. I’m not a fan of automatically prescribing drugs, and I think some of our psychiatric practices can be debated logically and with data, but this is ridiculous and the man is just asking to be intellectually smacked. It wouldn’t matter if he wasn’t one of the most powerful men in Hollywood; I just shudder to think how many Katie-Holmes-like people out there actually listen to his constant prating about the evils of psychiatry. I’m hoping his own hubris will help take him down a notch or two. Here’s the actual transcript from msnbc.com. I understand that Matt Lauer is a talk show host, not an investigative journalist, and that he has to be polite to his guests, but still. Cruise was hardly polite back. It would help, of course, if Lauer had done some statistical and historical research before bringing the subject up, at least enough to stand up for himself. (Note to Tim: I have never actually seen Matt Lauer in action, and am less offended on his behalf given your comments.) Yet another example of why I rarely watch these kinds of shows.
yeah, seriously, why CANT these guys do their homework before interviewing the likes of Cruise? yeesh.
Basically what I was getting at in both of my earlier comments is that even for a TV journalist — heck, even for the Today show — Matt Lauer’s about as lightweight as they come, so for Tom Cruise of all people to slap him around, and to do it so badly, is pretty scummy. Being “glib” is basically Lauer’s job. I don’t like him because he does it a little too well.
Then again, presumably Lauer brought up the whole Scientology and psychiatry thing. He also didn’t totally roll over like Spielberg did. (Comparing the cult-status of Scientologists in Germany to the Holocaust to try to smooth things over? Please.) But I don’t think he would have brought it up if it hadn’t been in the context of Cruise’s comments about Brooke Shields, which made it seem like TC was picking on another celebrity, rather than just being plain old wacko.
It’s possible, too, that Lauer wasn’t really picking a fight, but trying to give Cruise an opportunity to recant or acceptably clarify his statements publicly (e.g., “I care about Brooke Shields, she’s a talented and beautiful woman. But I do have serious concerns about the overmedicalization of modern life…” etc.) rather than get all wacky (“You don’t know what you’re talking about! Psychiatry is a pseudo-science! Take some vitamins!”). Guess that one just fell in his lap.
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