Off Topic Messages

Fri Apr 28, 2006 8:17 pm

The most upsetting part of the media storm around Tom Cruise is the incredible thrashing he gets for his support of Scientology. Regardless of the merits of Scientology, this is the man's religion, and everyone is stomping all over it as if we're discussing his haircut! What frustrates me - and I really do get upset about this - is that if he had become a devout and vocal Christian or Muslim or Buddhist (or whatever) instead, he wouldn't have gotten any of this resistance, and this hypocrisy is extremely disturbing. If I had said, "Anyone who belongs to Christianity -- much less advocates it at every turn -- has serious issues. It is a dangerous cult that exists solely for profit and uses coercion and intimidation to scare off detractors and those that try to leave and then kick up a fuss," how many non-Christians would agree -- and yet, how many of you would have formed a dislike for me? Cryogenic seems to get away with it all right a few posts up. "Freedom of religion"? I don't think so.

Fri Apr 28, 2006 8:47 pm

Pete Dube wrote:
Ezzz wrote:As the great Stewart Granger once said back in the eighties, "In my day, all leading men were tall, at least six foot, these days there all midgets!"

Very wise words, from probably the most talented, of all the "widows peaks".


:) How tall is Cruise? I thought he was 5'8"-5'9". I don't consider that short. That's medium/average height. I'm pretty sure Nicholson, De Niro, Newman, Redford, Stallone are in the the 5'9"-5'10" range (Nicholson may even be a little shorter). Brando was 5'9"-5'10". As short actors go Pacino, Hoffman, Dreyfuss have certainly been successful leading men. Heck Alan Ladd was 5'4" - and he was Shane!

I had to take up for the short guys. I'm maybe 5'6".


Cruise is between 5'7 and 5'8 - probably nearer the former. He's quite well known for the elevated shoes. There's a pic of him from the 80s with Sinatra and he looks a good inch shorter. It's also a myth that Alan Ladd was only 5'4. He was more like 5'6-5'7.

Fri Apr 28, 2006 9:07 pm

Ezzz wrote:As the great Stewart Granger once said back in the eighties, "In my day, all leading men were tall, at least six foot, these days there all midgets!"

Very wise words, from probably the most talented, of all the "widows peaks".


Not sure why those words are wise. Totally inaccurate would be more like it. Some of the biggest stars were of average or short stature, including Bogart, (around 5'8 ), Cagney (5'5 ish ), James Dean (5'8 max ), Yul Brynner (5'8 ), Tony Curtis (5'9), Newman (5'8-9), Kirk Douglas (5'9 on a good day), etc. There were of course some very tall actors, such as Rock Hudson, John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, etc, but plenty of smaller guys.
Last edited by TJ on Fri Apr 28, 2006 9:09 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Fri Apr 28, 2006 9:08 pm

I`d be rather shocked TJ if Alan Ladd was 5'6-5'7, he really does look a little chap. But so was Cagney, Bogie, and Eddie G Robinson.

Ladd was`nt much of an actor, but he was a superb film star, amongst my faves are, This Gun For Hire, The Blue Dahlia and of course Shane.

Fri Apr 28, 2006 9:11 pm

Ezzz wrote:I`d be rather shocked TJ if Alan Ladd was 5'6-5'7, he really does look a little chap. But so was Cagney, Bogie, and Eddie G Robinson.

Ladd was`nt much of an actor, but he was a superb film star, amongst my faves are, This Gun For Hire, The Blue Dahlia and of course Shane.


Cagney and Edward G Robinson were certainly short. Bogie not as short as sometimes portrayed. There are many pics of Ladd looking just too tall to be 5'4, even if he was wearing lifts. I agree - cool actor.

Fri Apr 28, 2006 10:05 pm

Peter Franks wrote:The most upsetting part of the media storm around Tom Cruise is the incredible thrashing he gets for his support of Scientology. Regardless of the merits of Scientology, this is the man's religion, and everyone is stomping all over it as if we're discussing his haircut! What frustrates me - and I really do get upset about this - is that if he had become a devout and vocal Christian or Muslim or Buddhist (or whatever) instead, he wouldn't have gotten any of this resistance, and this hypocrisy is extremely disturbing. If I had said, "Anyone who belongs to Christianity -- much less advocates it at every turn -- has serious issues. It is a dangerous cult that exists solely for profit and uses coercion and intimidation to scare off detractors and those that try to leave and then kick up a fuss," how many non-Christians would agree -- and yet, how many of you would have formed a dislike for me? Cryogenic seems to get away with it all right a few posts up. "Freedom of religion"? I don't think so.


It seems to me Peter that Christianity does come in for quite a bit of bashing. Be that as it may there's a difference between a religion and a cult. But your point is taken.

Sat Apr 29, 2006 1:33 am

That's a good point Peter. The thing that makes me skeptical of Scientology is that from the explanations I've seen (and for all I know they may be inaccurate given that come from people who have been disgruntled with the religion) that you have to pay to get from one level of understanding to another. That seems very dodgy.

Sat Apr 29, 2006 2:13 am

Personaly Im completely anti-religion, Im quite happy to disagree with every single religion on the face of this earth existing.

Sat Apr 29, 2006 3:10 am

Pete Dube wrote: It seems to me Peter that Christianity does come in for quite a bit of bashing. Be that as it may there's a difference between a religion and a cult. But your point is taken.


The only difference between a religion and a cult is the number of people involved and the number of years people have been following it.

Sat Apr 29, 2006 9:06 am

Trevell wrote:
Pete Dube wrote: It seems to me Peter that Christianity does come in for quite a bit of bashing. Be that as it may there's a difference between a religion and a cult. But your point is taken.


The only difference between a religion and a cult is the number of people involved and the number of years people have been following it.


Pete, taking Trevell's position into account, I'd be interested to know what, in your view, are the differences between a religion and a cult?

Sat Apr 29, 2006 9:27 am

Not that Pete needs me to chime in for him.........but I will anyway :lol:

A cult is usually a personality-based dynamic. A charismatic leader is the pivotal difference rather than doctrinal issues. As such, it bridges the religious divides.

You can have the Heaven's Gate variety (UFO cult that committed suicide at their charismatic leader's insistence) which is a cult that develops outside of the established religious norms , just as well as the cults that exist relative to more established religious traditions (Jim Jones, with his passing acquaintace with Christianity led his followers to a similar fate).

With either example (and literally dozens more could be named such as "Moonies" with charismatic leader Moon, Scientology with Hubbard, David Koresh's group, Farrakhan's particularly odd melding of black power, Islam, and UFO theology, etc......) the group revolves around a personality who has the ability to manipulate people and ultimately control them not only physically but psychologically.

Religions are divided generally along doctrinal lines...........cults are divided from religions and each other almost purely by personalities.

A cult will generally fade after its leader perishes, since it is generally a personality driven phenomenon. There are exceptions to this where an equally charismatic successor rises to the top or the cult has garnered enough influence and money to remain viable. These circumstances make its survival more likely to extend past its originator's demise.

But those are the exceptions.

Sat Apr 29, 2006 7:16 pm

Peter Franks wrote:Cryogenic seems to get away with it all right a few posts up. "Freedom of religion"? I don't think so.


Try this one on for size -- if you can: freedom of speech.

Your entire reasoning is specious. The reason people keep "stomping" all over scientology, or Scientology, is that it's a whacky cult. Cruise has only worsened its image with his tirade against drugs, rant about post natal depression and personal attack on Brooke Shields. Shall I present a couple of Tom's "pearls of wisdom"...?

Tom Cruise wrote:When you talk about postpartum, you can take people today, women, and what you do is you use vitamins. There is a hormonal thing that is going on, scientifically, you can prove that. But when you talk about emotional, chemical imbalances in people, there is no science behind that.

[AND]

Here is the thing: you have to understand, with psychiatry, there is no science behind it. And to pretend that there is a science behind it is criminal.

Sources: http://www.hollywood.com/news/detail/id/2440860
http://atheism.about.com/b/a/172798.htm
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/gossip/ ... 6946c.html


But I tell you what: try joining Scientology, keep attenting their "audit" sessions and see how much money they ask you for.

Sat Apr 29, 2006 10:12 pm

I was not trying to defend Scientology nor was I upset that people stomp all over it; I was defending Tom Cruise’s right to believe in it and his right to support it and that people were stomping all over that, regardless of how respectable Scientology is. It’s his religion, his system of beliefs, and they are entirely personal matters. Tom Cruise’s merits as an actor should not be based on Scientology’s merits as a religion.

I certainly understand that if Cruise (or any other celebrity) makes a comment in public, he can expect a certain response, whether he’s discussing politics, religion, acting, or anything else, and that Cruise or his publicist could have prepared for any reactions and chosen a less controversial path. However, I don’t see a reaction to comments to be the case here. People are using Scientology to discredit Tom Cruise and vice versa, and that’s disrespectful to his (and all Scientologists’) right to choose his own religion and to express his feelings. You can say that paying for advancement within the religion is “dodgy” (as likethebike did), but let’s not forget that a few centuries ago Christians were paying the church for tickets that would “ensure” they would go to Heaven.

Furthermore, who is to say whether Scientology is a “whacky cult” or a religion as respectable as [X]? If a cult is indeed defined as the religious devotion to a single figure or object, it’s not extremely different from, say, Christianity. Whether God is a person or not, he has been personified, and people pray to Him (!) every day, so who’s to say that Christianity is not a cult? They’re both based on faith anyway; there are no absolutes and while some of Scientology’s beliefs are certainly unorthodox and discomforting because they go against medical facts, in the general sense, if everyone is not allowed to trample over Christianity or Islam (or…) without causing offense, it shouldn’t be the case for Scientology. Pick a standard and apply it universally. As long as his religion does not affect his work or anyone else, Tom Cruise and Scientology are completely separate entities and they should be treated as such.

Freedom of speech is great – where’s his?

Sun Apr 30, 2006 10:39 am

Thanks for responding in an intelligent and adult manner, Peter. It seems increasingly rare a thing on the Internet these days.

Peter Franks wrote:I was not trying to defend Scientology nor was I upset that people stomp all over it; I was defending Tom Cruise’s right to believe in it and his right to support it and that people were stomping all over that, regardless of how respectable Scientology is. It’s his religion, his system of beliefs, and they are entirely personal matters.


The emboldened assertion is problematic: I completely agree with it -- yet Cruise has not been treating them as "personal matters"; rather, he has been on a Cruise-ade and making his views, which obviously stem from his beliefs, very public.

Peter Franks wrote:Tom Cruise’s merits as an actor should not be based on Scientology’s merits as a religion.


I agree. And you won't find me dim enough to be falling into that trap in the future (at least, I hope not).

Peter Franks wrote:I certainly understand that if Cruise (or any other celebrity) makes a comment in public, he can expect a certain response, whether he’s discussing politics, religion, acting, or anything else, and that Cruise or his publicist could have prepared for any reactions and chosen a less controversial path. However, I don’t see a reaction to comments to be the case here. People are using Scientology to discredit Tom Cruise and vice versa, and that’s disrespectful to his (and all Scientologists’) right to choose his own religion and to express his feelings.


Again: Tom Cruise has discredited himself by making several scary rants. No one was really paying that much attention before. It was previously a case of "live and let live". It still is, of course, but now that Cruise has thrown a rock in the pond, everyone is feeling the ripples.

Scientology is a cult built on profit rather than divine revelation -- fact.

Peter Franks wrote:You can say that paying for advancement within the religion is “dodgy” (as likethebike did), but let’s not forget that a few centuries ago Christians were paying the church for tickets that would “ensure” they would go to Heaven.


Human history is littered with stupid, myopic, selfish, abhorrent, bizarre, cretinous, depraved behaviour.

Peter Franks wrote:Furthermore, who is to say whether Scientology is a “whacky cult” or a religion as respectable as [X]? If a cult is indeed defined as the religious devotion to a single figure or object, it’s not extremely different from, say, Christianity. Whether God is a person or not, he has been personified, and people pray to Him (!) every day, so who’s to say that Christianity is not a cult? They’re both based on faith anyway; there are no absolutes and while some of Scientology’s beliefs are certainly unorthodox and discomforting because they go against medical facts, in the general sense, if everyone is not allowed to trample over Christianity or Islam (or…) without causing offense, it shouldn’t be the case for Scientology. Pick a standard and apply it universally. As long as his religion does not affect his work or anyone else, Tom Cruise and Scientology are completely separate entities and they should be treated as such.


The major faiths of the world -- Christianty, Islam, Judaism, Sikhism, Buddhism, Hinduism etc -- do not ask money of their followers for divine truths, or such truths supposedly enshrined within their ideologies, to be revealed. Scientology does.

Peter Franks wrote:Freedom of speech is great – where’s his?


Here:

Image

Tom Cruise, in being a hugely successful, ridiculously wealthy, active A-list star, has more freedom of speech -- or certainly more visbility in mounting that freedom -- than most people can dream of.

You can also see Tom Cruise's fanatical posture in the above photo. He's literally got one hand-on-hip, with the other thrust forward in a pointing/grabbing motion, and his body arched forward, in a threatening pose. The interviewer, Matt Lauer, is in a passive pose, having to endure this verbal and physical domination. Cruise isn't calling for an open dialogue: he's literally dismissing an entire branch of science. Only the staunchest and strangest of adherents ever do that. This is the 21st century -- not the Middle Ages. Cruise also resorts to an ad hominem attack (a classic sign of poor reasoning) and calls Lauer "glib". A reading of the transcript -- and a watching of the video (if you can locate one) -- is insightful.

Sun Apr 30, 2006 12:53 pm

Cryo- My point is who really cares about Tom Cruise's views on religion? Perhaps celebrity worship is the topic we really ought to be discussing.

Peter- For all we know you could be right.

Sun Apr 30, 2006 2:59 pm

Cryogenic wrote:
Peter Franks wrote:It’s his religion, his system of beliefs, and they are entirely personal matters.


The emboldened assertion is problematic: I completely agree with it -- yet Cruise has not been treating them as "personal matters"; rather, he has been on a Cruise-ade and making his views, which obviously stem from his beliefs, very public… Tom Cruise has discredited himself by making several scary rants. No one was really paying that much attention before. It was previously a case of "live and let live". It still is, of course, but now that Cruise has thrown a rock in the pond, everyone is feeling the ripples.


I agree in part, and perhaps Cruise should have pulled the Elvis card – “I’m just an entertainer and I’d rather not say” – rather than respond to every comment, but at the same time, as likethebike already mentioned, it is the interviewers who keep asking about it, trying to turn him into the exemplary town drunk when in fact the entire matter is not even relevant to our relationship between the audience and the performer. Whether he started the topic by bringing it up in interviews or whether it got started on its own (Hollywood seems to reveal everything sooner or later), every time someone asks him about it, the more he’s going to be asked about it in future (“I heard you said…”), especially when considering the alarming thirst for sensationalism already mentioned. Scatter is right in saying he could have avoided all of this with a “witty response and dismissive wink of the eye,” but at the same time, where is the public’s respect for another person’s opinion? Is it really too idealistic to think that people could simply hear his views on Scientology (or whatever) and say, “I do not agree with that,” and then not dismiss his entire past and future body of work? I know you already commented on not being “dim enough to fall into that trap,” but based on what I’ve seen, many people already have.

Furthermore, the media and the public oftentimes take comments out of context or emphasize them to unrealistic proportions. Cruise stated that the “placenta”-comment was just a joke, but how many people have already used it as a reason to jump on the Cruise-is-crazy bandwagon? How many people actually sought out the original comments to judge for themselves, rather than just ride the latest trend to bring down a celebrity? A transcript and video of the Matt Lauer interview can be viewed here, and again, I think the whole thing is taken out of proportion. Yes, his view that there is no such thing as a chemical imbalance strikes me as odd because I generally place my faith with science, but at least he claims to have read up on the subject – how many of his detractors can claim the same? Furthermore, he is not claiming that people simply should not take drugs; instead he says that antidepressants “mask the problem” and he believes in alternate treatment, including “vitamins and through exercise and various things.” This is not as unconventional as people make it out to be; he is not the first to suggest that there are ‘natural’ ways to cure health problems. His so-called “attacks” on Lauer are not off the mark, either: “You’re here on the ‘Today’ show. And to talk about it in a way of saying, ‘Well, isn't it okay,’ and being reasonable about it when you don’t know… I think that you should be a little bit more responsible in knowing what it is.” What he is commenting on here is not the specific subject at hand, but Lauer’s (and I assume his other detractors’) responsibility in reporting to the nation and whether or not he has done the research required before dismissing him as a “kook.” Everybody loves to quote Cruise’s use of the word ‘glib,’ but really all he’s asking for here is responsible reporting. Nowhere in this interview is he “dismissing an entire branch of science” except when dealing specifically with psychology (“I've never agreed with psychiatry, ever. Before I was a Scientologist I never agreed with psychiatry. And when I started studying the history of psychiatry, I understood more and more why I didn't believe in psychology”).

An entirely separate topic is Scientology itself, about which you wrote:

Cryogenic wrote:Human history is littered with stupid, myopic, selfish, abhorrent, bizarre, cretinous, depraved behaviour… [But] the major faiths of the world -- Christianty, Islam, Judaism, Sikhism, Buddhism, Hinduism etc -- do not ask money of their followers for divine truths, or such truths supposedly enshrined within their ideologies, to be revealed. Scientology does.


But now we’re getting into the discussion of the oddities of religion itself. You may say that having to pay for “divine truths” is unorthodox (although I haven’t read all I can on Scientology, so I don’t know how verifiable that is), but I don’t think that’s any stranger than having to cut off part of a boy’s penis for Judaism or having to fast for weeks for Islam. Call me crazy, but I’m more emotionally attached to my penis being intact than my wallet being full. People do not seem to take these things into consideration when discussing Scientology because it is currently (and will likely remain) the underdog. That is what bothers me: people praise equality and respect for other beliefs (especially in the United States), but as soon as their group is in the majority and with power, equality and respect completely vanish and this is frustratingly hypocritical.

Mon May 01, 2006 12:04 am

I think a reason Scientology is given almost no respect is because a man made it up within our lifetimes. It's newness works against it as does it's propensity to attract the wealthy and famous. I'm not saying this couldn't be the case with other religions but at least there is an opportunity for faith. I'm not saying that Hubbard did not have a legitimate religious epiphany and I'm not saying that other religions aren't based on some sort of divine guidance, I'm just saying it's very easy to see the strings of Scientology because we were there when they were put in.

The other thing that works against Scientology is L Ron Hubbard himself. His entire existence was one profit making scheme after another. While again he may very well have had an genuine awakening, it's also easy to see how people could believe that this was just the latest and most successful scheme.

Mon May 01, 2006 12:38 am

likethebike wrote:I think a reason Scientology is given almost no respect is because a man made it up within our lifetimes. It's newness works against it as does it's propensity to attract the wealthy and famous. I'm not saying this couldn't be the case with other religions but at least there is an opportunity for faith. I'm not saying that Hubbard did not have a legitimate religious epiphany and I'm not saying that other religions aren't based on some sort of divine guidance, I'm just saying it's very easy to see the strings of Scientology because we were there when they were put in.

The other thing that works against Scientology is L Ron Hubbard himself. His entire existence was one profit making scheme after another. While again he may very well have had an genuine awakening, it's also easy to see how people could believe that this was just the latest and most successful scheme.


Well said bike (ever get tired of hearing that?? :lol: )

It works against him as well that he was quoted a year before he had his supposed "epiphany", he was overheard bemoaning the low monetary return he received from his science fiction novels.

He is quoted as saying "If someone REALLY wanted to get rich, the way to do it would be to start your own religion". :lol:

Mon May 01, 2006 12:55 am

Has anyone noticed that everytime Larry King interviews a celebrity that is in scientology he takes a (I interpret) gentle stab at scientology by stating and asking if the person being interviewed knew that he (King) met Hubbard from the old days in Miami and interviewed Hubbard when he was a science fiction writer?