23 August 2006

American Jesus

I was reminded of the passage from Matthew 19:24,
...I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.
when I read this story from the WSJ today. It seems Tom Cruise has been dropped by Viacom-owned Paramount Pictures. The reason? (What the fuck do you think?)
"It's nothing to do with his acting ability, he's a terrific actor," said Mr. Redstone. "But we don't think that someone who effectuates creative suicide and costs the company revenue should be on the lot."
Notice a few things about what Viacom chairman Sumner Redstone said. It has nothing to do with Cruise's "acting ability". I haven't seen a Tom Cruise movie since, say, Jerry Maguire. And his early stuff? Risky Business, Cocktail, Rainman? Super! But I imagine that, as filmmaking technology changes, so too changes the demand put on actors. I haven't seen any recent Tom Cruise movies lately, but I've seen the commercials all over the fucking place. It must be hard to act in front of a blue screen. Yes, I'm talking to you War of the Worlds, Minority Report and Mission Impossible III. Anyway, Cruise's acting ability has nothing to do with this.

But why did Redstone say that Cruise "effectuates [sic] creative suicide"? Doesn't the "creative" denote something artistic, say, acting ability? I suppose the two cancel each other out. The decision is acting-based neutral. Now, when Redstone says, "costs the company revenue", now there's the ticket. Cruise, having went off the deep end, obviously costs parent company Viacom tons of money. Or, well, he doesn't earn as much money... But that's almost the same thing. OK.

That said, and even with all the riches of Tom Cruise, I think this decision makes him a little more holy. Now you might think there are millions of paths to the one true god God, the Father, who sits to the left of his Son, Jesus. I do, too. Getting fired can only help Cruise's spirituality and soothe his soul, really prepare it, for the time when he's ready to embrace a real religion, Christianity. (Probably on his death bed.)

This trend, though, is a little disturbing. Are we having another Red Scare in Hollywood? Are there going to be commissions set up to publicly persecute those who practice strongly their religious beliefs? First Mel Gibson gets shafted by Disney for being an Anti-Semite (really, is there a faith with a longer history?) and now Cruise gets cut for being a Scientologist. (I can only hope Will Farrell becomes some sort of crazy, multiple-wife-having Mormon Scientist who refuses to use contraceptives and fathers, like, 100 children in illegal marriages. Come on trifecta!)