While we're on the subject of celebrity pseudo-science around here today, I feel like it's been a dereliction of duty on my part that I haven't even bothered bringing up the impending divorce of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. It's not like I care much about Hollywood marriages, but ones that involve Scientology are both fascinating and revolting to me -- no way around that.
Since I've written quite a bit about Scientology before -- the truly conspiracy-minded have even suggested that it was my 2008 column in the Huffington Post about Anonymous's war on the "religion" that got me fired from CNN -- I've been paying some attention to all the little Scientology-related details that have emerged in the wake of last week's Tom-and-Katie split announcement. Obviously, there's the rumor that Holmes bailed when Cruise decided that he wanted to enroll their young daughter in either the "Sea Org" or one of L. Ron's other strict indoctrination programs; the spooky black SUVs that have mysteriously appeared outside Holmes's place in New York City and which have seemed to follow her everywhere since the split; the claim that Holmes said being married to Cruise was like being Mia Farrow in Rosemary's Baby; the list goes on and on.
While I could easily publish another acerbic, long-winded diatribe about the dangerous lunacy that is Scientology, my favorite thing about this particular topic is that I don't have to. Nobody does. Yes, Paul Haggis's extended and revealing takedown of the group, its ridiculous cosmology, and its cult-like tactics, from the inside out, was excellent -- and there's been plenty of other terrific stuff written about the insanity of Scientology. But in the end, nothing tells you everything you need to know about Scientology like ten minutes of Tom Cruise talking about it himself. I've said it before but it bears repeating yet again: I go back and watch this video clip every once in a while simply because it's just that fucking crazy. It's rare to see a movie star -- someone whose every move is generally reduced to inoffensive homogenization by an army of publicists -- allowing himself to go this far off the rails. This image of Cruise, the one we were never meant to see but which millions of us now have, should never at any point be separated from the carefully crafted, entirely bullshit image his Hollywood handlers would have us believe. The next time you see Tom Cruise acting demure and humble and otherwise behaving seemingly normal during a press junket for one of his movies, remember, this is the real him: all bukkaked with crazy via the jet-fuel semen of L. Ron Hubbard; an entire dictionary of silly, official-sounding acronymic lingo blared through an amp cranked to 11.
This is what he's momentarily tamping down for public consumption. This is what he's dying to unleash.