So today I was on GM Guild
and someone posted up an email they had sent to TIME magazine, asking for them to name Steve Irwin (the sadly deceased aussie TV animal guy) the Man of the Year or whatnot. In this email, the writer compared Steve Irwin to "big-name stars" like Tom Cruise, noting that Irwin donated most of the money he received from his $33 million dollar Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course
movie to help animals. In my response to this person's post, I said that Tom Cruise did in fact contribute massively to charities and churches but simply did not make this known.
I quote from Vanity Fair
's October 2006 issue, page 293: "(Tom and Katie chose not to link Suri's first photo session to anything financial--even though they praise their fellows stars' decision. [Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie] Tom contributes extensively to charitable causes but declines to draw attention to such donations.)"
And you know what? My friend advised me to take down that comment because it would start a fight and that Cruise had "bad PR" (the rest of my post congratulated the noble soul for nominating Irwin for the Man of the Year but said I didn't think he deserved it, nor did I think TIME would either). At first I somehow doubted that my friend's calculation and association faculties were malfunctioning or lacking, but then I realized that he was simply thinking along the lines of every other "sane" and "reasonable" and socially correct person out there, particularly the media that often defines what is socially correct in this day and age.
Let's face it, the media is targeting Cruise. Oh yeah, all the stories associated with him are just too juicy to pass up, but in my mind being ecstatic was never a cause for a public stoning (verbal stones). But wait! His social incorrectness did not begin there. He started out being a Scientologist. Now, people can ignore that if he's quiet about it. I guess the gestapo passed over Jews that were quiet enough about it. But then he went and spoke out against drugs. UH-OH! So the whole weight of the pharmaceutical companies was now against him. I mean, it's all hypothetical, but big-name companies that are involved with dangerous chemicals have a historical tendency to invest millions of dollars in coverups. Read A Civil Action
and tell me how much you think it cost to bribe that judge.
So then Cruise goes and falls in love, gets happy about it, and then expresses himself. You know what I was doing in New York? Promoting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. That's a document drawn up by Eleanor Roosevelt, adopted by the United Nations and then promptly forgotten about by the vast, vast majority of the world's population. We're talking maybe 99% of the people out there don't even know this document exists. And you know what one of the 30 human rights on it is? Freedom of Expression. So Tom Cruise went and jumped on a piece of furniture in order to express how happy he was. Whoop de fucking do. (Gosh, swearing, what next from my dirty, nonconformist mind?) It's his human right to express himself, whether it be joy or sorrow. Since when did exercising a human right constitute such a gross social error as to justify enormous media coverage talking about the incident? Or rather, how did our society degrade so much so that expression became a scandal? That's my cynical thought.
*Maybe one day soon, freedom of thought (another one on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights) will also become an act of "social suicide" warranting Watergate coverage.
*I think the most similar and yet different thing I've seen lately was the front page coverage of Mel Gibson getting a DUI and ranting about the Jews causing wars. Talk about blowing out of proportion.
*I didn't lay out the entire track of Media v. Cruise in my cynical thought train (chugga chugga) so I will here: Scientologist, anti-drug, expressing joy, marrying Katie Holmes and most lately not wanting to expose his newborn child to the world. Those are his crimes, and on every count the media has skewered him with rumors and cruel conjecture as punishment.
*$10 says the media finds some way to make the Vanity Fair article into something bad.