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July 15, 2024

When Bad People Happen to Good Things

By Tedi Trindle

Recently, a prominent movie star appeared on national TV, with a duly purchased fiancee barely half his age (note that this will be his third wife), and started spouting off about human relationships. I never thought he was a person I would model myself after, but after hearing what he has to say, I am much less inclined to do so.

Yes, we are talking about Tom Cruise. I could have ignored his questionable influences, his ideology and his manic behavior regarding his new love, except for one thing. In one mad, sweeping moment, on national TV, he started attacking what I consider to be sentient people and recklessly endangering millions who suffer from depression. Cruise, who has never displayed anything more than low to average intelligence in public before is now a self-proclaimed expert in psychiatry. I must say that the only way he has not disappointed me was in my own estimation of his IQ.

In an interview with Matt Lauer of "The Today Show", who is not exactly a slacker in the IQ department he said he doesn't believe in psychiatry, and he knows the "history" of psychiatry, and he challenged Lauer to defy his so-called "expertise". He also said that Lauer did not know this history, so Cruise has also apparently gained amazing psychic abilities as well as hyper-intelligence.

I won't comment on how he, a college dropout, managed to gain such expertise. But I imagine it has something to do with reading a lot of L. Ron Hubbard and engaging in "magical thinking". I know it has nothing to do with the twelve years of intensive education and practice most psychiatrists find they are forced to endure after high school.

What Cruise ultimately said was that modern neuroscience and psychiatry was a lot of bull, and that if one would only open one's mind(presumably to his cult-like religion) one could avoid psychiatry in general and all the attendant downfalls.

Well ... no. You can't. The fact is that those people who have problems functioning in modern society have real, honest-to-goodness problems and need real, corporeal solutions. They don't need a lot of hocus-pocus philosophy dreamed up by a man who couldn't even write a decent science fiction novel.

The other person Cruise attacked was Brooke Shields, who recently wrote a book about her experiences in suffering from post partum depression and how her life was dramatically changed for the better with antidepressants. Unlike Cruise, Shields finished her college degree. At Princeton.

Cruise' answer to Shields' problem was to exercise, and take vitamins. Shields quite ably defended herself in a letter to the editor in The New York Times in which she said, in part, that she was going to take a wild guess and say that Tom Cruise has never suffered from post partum depression.

No matter what Cruise thinks he knows, chronic depression has reached epidemic proportions in this country. The primary cause of death amongst chronic depressives is suicide. And, while psychiatry and medicine are making rapid inroads in the cause and treatment of mental illness, depression is still very hard to treat under the best of circumstances. The last thing the depressives need to hear is that they simply haven't been taking their vitamins and doing enough jumping jacks.

Cruise says that "he doesn't believe in chemical imbalances". Yet he advises exercise and vitamins to "cure" depressives. I'd love to comment on Cruise's own chemical imbalance, and what made him break from his "handlers" in order to run off at the mouth and make you wonder why he isn't in a padded cell, but that's not the point.

If one has some sort of basic grounding in science, one understands that every time a person varies significantly from the norm, there is probably a chemical imbalance in the brain which is the culprit. And, while Cruise refuses to admit there are chemical imbalances, he advocates vitamins and exercise.

I'm not sure what medical school Mr. Cruise went to, but when you apply vitamins and exercise to cure a mental disturbance, you are addressing a chemical imbalance. Malnutrition is a chemical imbalance. Exercise is one way to stimulate endorphins and affect serotonin levels ... yes, to change the chemical balance of the body.

Barring a medical degree, or any degree for that matter, I'd urge everyone who admires Cruise to take his pseudo-scientific rantings with a grain of salt. He's a college dropout with a history of religious fanaticism. You're better off calling up your doctor and relying on your friends than listening a two-bit actor with a billion dollars in the bank who clearly doesn't have anything better to do that pretend to be an expert on things he obviously knows nothing about.

Comments and suicide notes can be sent to Tedi@PikerPress.com

Article © Tedi Trindle. All rights reserved.
Published on 2005-07-25
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