Friday, July 15, 2005

Questions For Tom

Kudos to David Rowan at the Times of London for raising the issue of the media coddling Tom Cruise and his batshittery of late:

Thanks to his recent pronouncements, we now know that Scientology has “the only successful drug rehabilitation program in the world”, that psychiatry (as his Church teaches) is a Nazi “pseudoscience” and that antidepressants are worthless — tsk, Brooke Shields — as there is “no such thing as a chemical imbalance”. We have learnt that Cruise had a Scientology “massage ” tent brought on to Spielberg’s set (“to help the sick and injured”), that he is a Scientology “helper” who can save criminals and drug-addicts through the Church’s Narcocon programme and that his new fiancée, Katie Holmes, joyously “digs” Scientology too.

All very enlightening to the fix-grinned trivia merchants granted audiences with the great star — but in their fear of earning disapproval, too many so-called journalists have simply indulged Cruise’s questionable assertions. As talented an actor as he is, his active promotion of Scientology interests at a time when the group is pushing its medically questionable programmes in American schools and lobbying to legislate against psychiatry, demands closer scrutiny in the public interest. Instead, the tough questions go unasked and unanswered, with even Readers Digest — which once investigated what it concluded was “a frightening cult” — now reduced to attending a Scientology “immersion course” in order to interview Cruise for a cover story.

Oprah, Matt Lauer and countless red carpet mike stands in nice clothes haven't yet had the guts to ask Tom some of the tougher questions about Scientology. If he's going to use his celebrity to promote his "church," then he at least owes the public a few answers to some of the more unsettling questions.

Rowan continues:

So here are a few questions that the media ought to have asked Cruise. Tom, if you are so keen to place the Church firmly at the heart of public debate, why is it so anxious to suppress open discussion about its treatment record or finances? Why have defecting members been held to “billion-year” contracts to stay silent? And why have journalists investigating the church so often alleged that they met campaigns of personal intimidation and harassment? Richard Behar, who wrote an award-winning cover story for Time magazine in 1991, headlined “The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power”, claimed that in researching his piece, “at least ten attorneys and six private detectives were unleashed by Scientology and its followers in an effort to threaten, harass and discredit me”. The Church also brought a $415 million libel suit over Behar’s article — ultimately thrown out ten years later, but not before it served to warn off other potential investigations.

Some questions I'd like to ask Tom myself:

*Do you know who Lisa McPherson is and if so, would you care to comment on the circumstances of her death?

*Given your passionate support for the church's objections to psychiatry and pharmaceutical treatment for mental disorders, how do you feel about the founder of your church using drugs to conduct mind control experiments on his own children?

*What would your good friend Will Smith think if he knew L. Ron Hubbard was a racist that supported apartheid in South Africa?

*Do you support freedom of expression for non-Scientologists? If so, have you spoken to any of the church leaders regarding their efforts to silence anyone that raises criticism of their tactics?

It's doubtful Cruise will ever have to face such scrutiny, certainly not from the entertainment media, many of whom are willing do endure hours-long tours of the Celebrity Center in Los Angeles to kiss his ass for the privilege of an interview.


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