Monday, June 27, 2005

Reconsidering Tom

Spurred by not just the (perhaps?) ironic comment appended to the post below, I've been feeling a bit bad about blindly labeling poor Tom crazy the way the rest of the media has. Irritating and self-righteous, sure, but is he certifiable? I don't think so. Rather, in keeping with a piece of wisdom I read somewhere a while ago: we get exactly the celebrities we deserve. And who is a better barometer of what we as a mainstream (pop) culture deserve than Tom Cruise? In the '80s, he reflected youthful snottiness and greed back to us. In the '90s, he flirted with extreme sports and more than a glimmer of ambiguous sexuality. And now, in the '00s, he's reflecting back our culture's fundamentalism to us. Not just religious fundamentalism, but also the reactionary male desire to be worshipped by an emotionally/sexually pliable sweet young thing about fifteen years your junior. I will go to the mat any day of the week for his performances in Eyes Wide Shut and Magnolia (and, on alternating days, Jerry Maguire, too), and I'm not saying that this role-playing is in any way conscious on his part, but this does help me get my head around the current juggernaut a little easier. All of which makes me long for Ben Stiller to pull his killer Tom Cruise impression out of retirement for some badly needed satirization to let off some of the pressure that's built up around him. (Say it with me now: "I think I'm entitled.")

On a related subject, Slate's Explainer gives the 411 on why the Scientologists aren't so much fans of psychiatry. An informative short primer.

After my first ride on the Flaming Wheel of Death down at Navy Pier last night, I am happy to report that it's not particularly flaming nor indicative of imminent doom in any way. If I had to hear the first verse of "Sweet Home Chicago" one more time, though, I might have jumped out of the plastic bucket we were sitting in.

I partied like Lindsay Lohan this weekend. Many thanks to the Grinnellians and P. Ninny, respectively, for keeping me lubed up for a solid twenty-four hour period of time. I feel I've fully compensated for all the drinking I'd not done earlier this season.


brendan said...

I thought I was the only person who loved Tom in Eyes Wide Shut. I've also been told I'm the only person who thinks that movie is sensual.

brendan said...

Also, I've always wondered why people care what celebrities think.

Also, my grandmother went to Grinnell, if that's worth anything.