June 24, 2005

Tommy Boy Cruise: Expert on Psychiatry

Oh. My. God.

NEW YORK: Tom Cruise criticized NBC "Today" show host Matt Lauer on Friday when Lauer mentioned Cruise's earlier criticism of Brooke Shields for taking anti-depressants. Cruise told Lauer he didn't know what he was talking about. "You don't know the history of psychiatry. I do," Cruise said.

The interview became more heated when Lauer, who said he knew people who had been helped by the attention-deficit disorder drug Ritalin, asked Cruise about the effects of the drug.

"Matt, Matt, you don't even — you're glib," Cruise responded. "You don't even know what Ritalin is. If you start talking about chemical imbalance, you have to evaluate and read the research papers on how they came up with these theories, Matt, OK. That's what I've done."

{empahsis mine}

Tommy Boy: world renowned expert in psychiatry. He knows the psychoses and he knows FOR A FACT that drugs are bad, mmmkay!

Because he's done the research.

I have two questions. First, isn't it a bit odd that Tommy Boy can say he's more knowledgeable about psychiatry than Matt Lauer when he never bothered to graduate from freakin' high school? And second, isn't it a bit of a cheap shot to go after Lauer on who knows more about what? Sheesh. Show some kindness, eh?

I'm going to one up my prediction from last week: War of the Worlds is going to tank worse than Gigli, not that it's just going to be another Gigli.

Has anyone actually heard anything about what this movie is about in the midst of all this PR hubbub? I certainly haven't. If Tommy Boy is out there and is supposedly "promoting the film" one would think I would have heard something about the film itself. I haven't. Have you?

UPDATE: Here's the video. If you're running Firefox or some other non-IE browser, you'll need to load up IE to view it.

I cannot get over how much Tommy Boy thinks he knows better than actual doctors because, you know, he's read the research. Ummmmm. Ooooookay. My conclusion: it's dangerous. Seriously dangerous. Some poor soul who is struggling with mental illness will watch that and they will go off their meds because Tommy Boy told them there is a "better way" and that "chemical imbalances don't exist." And something horrible could happen. What he's proposing is dangerous because he makes no room for exceptions.

That's scary, folks.

While I will not argue that perhaps he has a point where this sort of medication is being abused and that there is work to be done even if you're on these drugs, his whole attitude scares me. Because it's one thing to say that if you're mildly depressed you don't need to go on meds. That's one thing. It's completely, entirely, another to lump all mental illness under one umbrella and to say people can handle this stuff better on their own.

A few years ago, a member of our extended family was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. Yep. He had all of the usual symptoms they show you on tee vee: delusions about the CIA, voices in his head, etc. His family was forced to commit him when the voices started telling him to kill himself. The only reason this man is alive today is because of psychotropic medications. They brought him out of the dangerous fantasy world this illness had forced on him. He has a job now. He's working. He's getting married later this summer. He's living a productive, satisfying life because of these medications. Now, in Tommy's world, this illness doesn't exist, hence there's no need to medicate for it. Furthermore, Tommy would advocate that it's dangerous to medicate anyone for something of this nature, because those drugs change things.

Well, duh, you asshole. Of course they change things, but when the change was forced on you in the first place, through no fault of your own, what exactly are these people to do? Huh? Run down to the Celebrity Center in L.A.? Do you have a Scientology cure for paranoid schizophrenia? Do you have one for bi-polar disorder, too? Do you treat the mentally ill there for no cost, or do they have to pay through the nose for "enlightenment" ? It's curious, isn't it? You never hear the Scientologists talk about the medications for the mentally ill folks who WANT TO KILL THEMSELVES OR OTHERS, do you? They'll bleat on until the cows come home about ADD/ADHD medications or anti-depressants, but they never do talk about the serious stuff, do they? Why is that, do you think? Are they afraid of being sued? Of having all that money they earmarked for the Celebrity Center going to pay off judgments of people who've sued them for their bad advice instead?

I'll repeat: this is dangerous. There is enough of a stigma attached to mental illness that people already don't seek treatment for serious problems because they're afraid of what people will think about them if they do. The last thing anyone needs is for an uneducated celebrity to stick their nose into the situation, heightening that stigma. It's scary and it's dangerous. And someone who is not healthy and in their right mind could die because of it.

What will Tommy Boy say to their families then? That he's quite sorry for their loss, but, really, it's not his fault because they hadn't shot down to their local Scientology center and signed up for the full meal deal?

Posted by Kathy at June 24, 2005 03:26 PM

He's just gone off the deep end....I can't even fathom the lengths this publicity stunt has endured. I guess we can look forward to the E! True Hollywood Story....

Posted by: sadie at June 24, 2005 06:31 PM

Ton didn't graduate from high school??

Posted by: Fausta at June 25, 2005 07:54 AM

Make that "Tom"

Posted by: Fausta at June 25, 2005 07:55 AM

Hey Fausta, it's Dr. Cruise, OK? He didn't spend eight years in imaginary medical school just so you could call him "Tom" or "Ton", whatever. You don't have to respect the man, but show some respect for the imaginary medical degree. ;)

Posted by: Russ from Winterset at June 25, 2005 09:48 AM

So you're saying I shouldn't take his advice on dealing with the issues I've been having as of late?

Posted by: phin at June 25, 2005 11:05 AM

Fausta: I've read in many places that he dropped out. Whether he went on to earn his GED, I don't know. I suppose it's possible that he could have, but I doubt it.

The Cake Eater Chronicles: We're all about regurgitating useless knowledge gained while getting our teeth cleaned!

Russ: play nice ;)

Posted by: Kathy at June 25, 2005 11:07 AM

Are we talking about your fascination with puddin' wrasslin, phin? ;)

Posted by: Kathy at June 25, 2005 11:08 AM

Kathy dearest, I know no other way to play. ;)

Good call on their position on ADD/ADHD meds versus meds for full-blown schizophrenia. I guess that the difference is that parents of ADD children are more likely to invest their money in THE L.RON HUBBARD VITAMIN LINEUP FOR GOOD MENTAL HEALTH (TM) than the victims of schizophrenia would be willing to do. Talk about preying on the helpless. What's next, will Dr. Tom pull a John Edwards & say "if all of you would just convert to Scientology, your mental problems would just fall away and your physical limitations will evaporate...and you can all rise and walk."???

Posted by: Russ from Winterset at June 25, 2005 01:24 PM

I had a dream last night that we lived high on a mountain-top in a cabin with all modern conveniences. We had Secret Service type guards to protect us from Tom Cruise.

I have GOT to lay off the pizza before dinner.

Point being: Tom Cruise = Mid-life crisis. Definitely.

Posted by: Margi at June 25, 2005 02:39 PM

It's not so much that Tom thinks he's a doctor, it's that L Ron was paranoid about psychiatrists and that Scientology makes money off of their "therapy."

So we're a direct threat. In his mind, at least.

And of course he's more knowledgeable than Matt Lauer about psychiatry. Obviously, ignorance is the only reason someone wouldn't think psychiatrists are evil.

Posted by: owlish at June 25, 2005 05:14 PM

Does Tom Cruise know more about psychiatry than a medicial doctor? No. Does Cruise know more about psychiatry than Matt Lauer? Yes. Is Cruise a quack? I think so, but even quacks aren't wrong all the time. Some peychiatry is quackery. Cruise would like you to believe it all is. I believe the correct approach is to sceptical about psychiatry, not hostile.

Posted by: David L at June 25, 2005 07:58 PM

I think the "research" he did was when he read those scientology papers on psychiatry, so you know, now he's an expert. He certainly knows more than we do about what what decisions we should make with regards to our own mental healthcare. You know, I've never really been that impressed with Tom Cruise as an actor, but I think he could quite possibly become one of the greatest cult heroes of our time...

Posted by: val at June 25, 2005 10:12 PM

Great post - it shows why celebrities are not precisely the oracles of wisdom. Why Congress keeps inviting them to testify I don't know....

If it's okay with you, I would like to use this one for your Cotillion entry!

Posted by: MaxedOutMama at June 26, 2005 08:50 AM

Go right ahead ;) I tried to send it to your email account, but it apparently doesn't like yahoo mail.

Posted by: Kathy at June 26, 2005 05:01 PM

I submitted a piece on Kelly Preston and pschyotropic drugs for Cotillion. Tom Cruise is an idiot, that's for sure. And it is the Scientology movement fighting to remove the drugs as an alternative. My piece however was about school districts making it mandatory for kids to be medicated without the proper testing that's needed for a legitimate diagnosis. It has become a growing problem and Kelly Preston, et al. have been fighting it. Perhaps if Mr. Cruise would have approached it the way Preston does he wouldn't look the fool. But hey, I'm sick of him so I REALLLY enjoyed it.

Posted by: Stacy at June 28, 2005 12:43 PM
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