The Enemy's Dangerous, But Right Now, You're Worse

The Morning Call thinks Maverick has lost it

This s something you’re not likely to ever see us do again – or ever want to see us do again, or care much about, or…something.  But we’re about to defend Tom Cruise.

We’ve never liked Cruise.  We don’t see his movies.  We don’t care how impossible his missions are.  He bothers us.  When we were in the tenth grade, we took our girlfriend to see “Top Gun,” because she, of course, felt differently about the little fella that we did.  We made the mistake of pointing out to her that his teeth are distractingly off-center (and, in fact, his right front tooth is actually just slightly on the left side of his face).  And she never forgave us for that.  C’est l’amour.

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Anyway, Cruise, the guy whom even most of his fellow Scientologists think is pretty weird, has been in the news this week because someone in the media got their hands on some tape of him freaking out on the crew of his latest movie (“Mission Impossible, ∞”).  Cruise was unhappy that people on set were not abiding by COVID mask and social distancing practices, and he lost his damn mind about it, as The Sun notes here:

An audio tape captured Cruise shouting: “If I see you do it again, you’re f***ing gone. And if anyone in this crew does it, that’s it — and you too and you too. And you, don’t you ever f***ing do it again.”

Fifty members of staff at Warner Bros. Studios in Leavesden, Herts, were left stunned by the angry outburst.

He went on: “They’re back there in Hollywood making movies right now because of us. “We are creating thousands of jobs, you motherf***ers.

“That’s it. No apologies. You can tell it to the people that are losing their f***ing homes because our industry is shut down. “

"We are not shutting this f***ing movie down. Is it understood? If I see it again, you’re f***ing gone.”

Yesterday, The Sun followed up with two more stories on Cruise and his rantics.  The first suggested that the actor has been freaking out for some time and has now decided to “take a break”:

The superstar has lost his temper with crew on several occasions over a failure to stick to strict Covid guidelines – with five staffers later quitting….

Earlier this week The Sun told how the actor let rip after two crew breached Covid rules by standing too close together.

Another eruption followed on Tuesday night as news of his rant emerged.

A source said: “The first outburst was big but things haven’t calmed since. Tension has been building for months and this was the final straw.

"Since it became public there has been more anger and several staff have walked.”

The second piece focused on comments by former celebrity handlers for Scientology, people who know Cruise and others formerly well-placed in the organization, who insist that Cruise’s behavior is right out of the Scientology “leadership” playbook:

Tom Cruise's epic rant at film staff has "zero" to do with Covid - and all to do with showing off his “tyrant” power, according to his former Scientology pals….

Scientology’s former Commanding Officer at its Los Angeles Celebrity Center, Karen Pressley, was a high ranking member of the hardcore Sea Org for 12 years, signing a billion-year contract.

She also wrote a book about how the Church hooks in A-list celebrities, called Escaping Scientology, An Insider’s True Story

As an expert on the church's stars, Karen says prominent Scientologist Cruise's rant has "zero" to do with Covid and describes it as “Scientology mindf**k”.

“TC’s [Tom Cruise's] rant to his film crew is a classic example of the Scientology mindf**k I witnessed for 16 years working under David Miscavige and other seniors in Scientology’s food chain," Karen told The Sun….

"Acting like a tyrant is a choice, especially with his savior complex, while getting people to believe he’s doing them a favor. But that’s Scientology."

Brendan Tighe, Cruise’s former security guard in Scientology, says that the way he was ranting was pure “Church-speak" and inspired by the star's friend and Scientology leader David Miscavige, who has a reputation for abusive tirades.

Now, we’re not experts on Scientology, by any stretch of the imagination.  Everything we know about it we learned from Leah Remini.  Maybe Cruise did take several “how to be a d*ck” courses from David Miscavige and now is just really, really good at it.  We don’t know.

What we do know, however, are the manifestations of the symptoms of OCD – Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.  And Tom Cruise’s outbursts most definitely fit the criteria.  His anger at seemingly trivial things (e.g. standing too close to one another, even while masked); his repeated outburst at people who are only tangentially related to events that have him upset; the irrationality of his anger and the bewilderment of those with whom he is angry; his clear and inarguable fear of contamination; and his insistence on taking excessive precautions against it are all signs of someone who is allowing his inner dialogue to supplant normal, rational thoughts and behaviors.

Add to this that he is a member of a “religious” organization that is famously dismissive of the treatment of mental health as a medical matter, and it is distinctly possible that when we say Cruise has “lost his damn mind” it means that he’s lost his damn mind.

And why shouldn’t he lose his damn mind?  Everyone else is doing it.

You don’t have to look very long or very hard to find a story or a study or a report about how the COVID experience is making people crazy – literally.  The following, for example, is from this month’s issue of Scientific American:

You didn't need a crystal ball to forecast that the COVID-19 pandemic would devastate mental health. Illness or fear of illness, social isolation, economic insecurity, disruption of routine and loss of loved ones are known risk factors for depression and anxiety. Now studies have confirmed the predictions. But psychologists say the findings also include surprises about the wide extent of mental distress; the way media consumption exacerbates it; and how badly it has affected young people.

For example, a report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, published in August, found a tripling of anxiety symptoms and a quadrupling of depression among 5,470 adults surveyed compared with a 2019 sample. Similarly, two nationally representative surveys conducted in April, one by researchers at the Boston University School of Public Health and another at Johns Hopkins University, found that the prevalence of depressive symptoms (B.U.) and “serious psychological distress” (Hopkins) were triple the level measured in 2018. “These rates were higher than what we've seen after other large-scale traumas like September 11th, Hurricane Katrina and the Hong Kong unrest,” says Catherine Ettman, lead author of the B.U. study….

An unanticipated finding, across all three surveys, was the outsized toll on young adults. In the CDC survey, 62.9 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds reported an anxiety or depressive disorder, a quarter said they were using more drugs and alcohol to cope with pandemic-related stress, and a quarter said they had “seriously considered suicide” in the previous 30 days. Young adults were also the most affected age group in an unusual, real-time study that tracked the rapid rise in “acute distress” and depression at three points between mid-March and mid-April. “We expected the opposite because it was already clear that older individuals were at greater risk” from the virus, says senior author Roxane Cohen Silver, a psychologist at the University of California, Irvine.

As with Scientology, we’re not experts here either, but it seems to us that the thing that some of these mental health studies are missing is that the virus, the social distancing, and the quarantines are not causing this breakdown so much as are the politicization of the virus, the social distancing, and the quarantines.  The fact that our politicians, media, celebrities, etc. treat the virus is as just another front in the culture wars, just another excuse to hate your fellow man and his political predilections, is, we think, the key to understanding why this is so devastatingly depressing to many people.

According to Scientific American Roxane Cohen Silver’s study “does point to one major contributor to anxiety for people of all ages: increased engagement with media coverage of the outbreak. Especially problematic is exposure to conflicting information.”

That’s politicization.  The media has played a key role in encouraging and supporting the political establishment in its efforts to shove COVID and responses to it into the usual ideological and partisan pigeonholes.  They’ve also played a key role in amplifying the differences that have artificially pit one “side” against the other in what started out as a public health emergency but quickly evolved into a  battle for political survival and supremacy.

The whole thing is so gross, so petty, so damaging, and so very American.  That’s who we are these days.  That’s what we do.

It’s no wonder people are suffering.  You take a global pandemic; add severe economic devastation, massive social disruption, and increasing isolation; and then mix in a touch of the self-absorbed and self-serving machinations of our ruling class, and it’s hardly surprising that a significant number of Americans spend their days doing their best Lady Macbeth imitation, washing their hands for a “quarter of an hour,” muttering “Out, damn spot!”

Now, as we say, Tom Cruise may just be a world-class jerk.  It wouldn’t surprise us.  I never knew what she saw in him anyway.

Or maybe…just maybe…for once in his adult life, Cruise is just like everybody else and is being driven mad by our useless ruling class and its exploitation of our fears.

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