07/06/2005: "Tom Cruise and Mel Gibson are the same?"
A few weeks ago I told myself that I was never going to read Mark Morford's columns again. The particular column that put me over the edge was titled "Porn Stars in my Underwear" and was a disgustingly vile piece of perversion.
Well, I got sucker punched into reading one of his columns again because it was listed on the main page (not the opinion section) and had an eye catching title: "The Great Tom Cruise Backlash. Will this annoying phase pass, or will Tom become the next super-rich, Mel Gibson-like nutball?" You can read it here.
I wrote him a letter that upon reflection I'm not so sure I should send. Is it the Christian thing to do? Well, you guys tell me! What do you think? Here is my letter to Mark Morford not yet sent:
Dear Mr. Morford,
I am writing in regards to your column printed July 6th titled "The Great Tom Cruise Backlash. Will this annoying phase pass, or will Tom become the next super-rich, Mel Gibson-like nutball?"
Let me start off by saying, what I find amazing about your columns is that you have an amazing amount of insight for a complete moron. To be clear, I'm not using the phrase moron lightly or just to put you down. I've been reading your columns for at least a year now and during that time I believe I've had enough exposure to you to make a reasonably accurate judgment of your intellectual ability. You are a moron.
At first I thought you were just misguided. Sometimes you'd come up with a good thought buried in a column or even an entire column that focused on a good thought. So I figured there must be a man behind the curtain.
Then I believed that a great deal of your odd antics could be the result of showmanship. This is common enough in the media because it catches people's attention and gets the public riled up. You see it in the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Howard Dean. To get attention they both exaggerate and make unreasonable and overly biased comparisons. As different as these two people are, they share this type of showmanship. So, for a while, I figured that you were cut from that mold.
But eventually my desire to be charitable couldn't escape the hard truth. You are a moron and for two reasons:
1. You have no ability to compare things
2. You have no sense of subtly or magnitude
Case in point, your most recent column. I completely agree that Tom Cruise has turned a corner in his life and is headed for a cliff that'll take him a long way down. Good insight! So in what way does that make him like Mel Gibson?
OK, so you didn't like the Passion of the Christ. But does someone making a movie that reflects their faith automatically make them a "creepy religious nuthead"? It seems pretty ludicrous to me to call him that when he is man who is still married to his first wife, cares for his family, gives bundles of money to the poor without proselytizing them and is generally a humble, quiet and well liked person by just about all accounts. From what I can tell, he doesn't seem to go out of his way to force his faith on anyone nor flaunt it in the face of the public. Even the Passion of the Christ reflects this mind set. It wasn't heavily advertised nor did he go out of his way to garner big studio support that would ensure that it got in lots of theaters. He was willing to accept that it might be a short running, small crowd movie. That it wasn't was a surprise to even him.
So, back to my original question, in what way is Tom Cruise like him? Is is it the fact that Tom is working on wife number 3? Is it the fact that he stuck two adopted children in the middle of a nasty divorce? Is it the fact that Cruise is heavily publicizing both his romantic life (which he seems to have always done to some degree) and now more aggressively his religion? What is it that makes these two people similar? In truth, Mel Gibson and Tom Cruise are remarkably different people, two that should never be compared. You inability to see that is a pretty strong indicator that you are indeed a moron.
As another example, OK, so you don't like the President. But does that mean you have to bring him up in EVERY single column (and I do mean 100% of them) you write no matter how distant to the subject of politics it is? Is he really the source and summit of all that is evil? I'm sure you'd answer yes to that question. While there is much to dislike about the President and it is reasonable to be very against his policies, he is not evil nor the source of it. Your inability to see ANY redeeming qualities (and I really do mean ANY) in him is further evidence that you are a moron.
So it's official: you're a moron. Without the ability to have any sense of scale or any ability to compare one thing to another you're going to be completely unable to have a logical thought.
Good luck with that.
Online reader in Roseville, CA
Replies: 4 Comments
Ken Crawford :
What, is Mark Morford faking acting like he's my brother now? Or is it Michael Moore...
Mel Gibson did profit handsomely from The Passion of the Christ. But capitalism is completely compatible with the Catholic faith. Here's what a Christian is obligated to do in a capitalist society in regards to making profit:
-They must pay everyone who works for them a just wage.
-They must not extort people of their money.
-They must be honest.
-They must fulfill their obligations as a Christian, including being charitable with their wealth.
There is no requirement that one not profit from their faith. People do it all the time. People who build churches make money. People who make rosaries and religious jewelry or religious statues and paintings make money. People who work for the Church as speakers or administrators (not Priests and Bishops) make money. People who write religious books make money. Similarly, someone who makes a religious movie is just as allowed to make money from it as any of the above examples.
Now, as the 4th bullet of obligations makes clear, Mel Gibson is required as a Christian to be charitable with his wealth. From what is reported Mel Gibson is very generous with his money and gives to charitable organizations all the time in very large sums. I suspect that some portion, but definitely not all of it, of the profits he made from the Passion did go to charity. It just went to charity indirectly (i.e. from his wealth) instead of directly (i.e. directly from the profits of the movie).
I think what questions like the one you're asking assume is that you can only have one motivation for an action, which just isn't true. We often have multiple, honestly motivations for our actions. If I decided to become a Catholic author and publish a book I'd be doing it because I love writing about the faith. But that's not the only reason. I'd also be doing it because I need to make money to provide for my family. If I made a fortune off the book, that's completely compatible with the Christian faith.
Or said a different way, just because Mel Gibson thought he was going to lose money on The Passion doesn't mean he can't keep the money if he ends up making money. Whether he made money doesn't change his motivations.
07.07.05 @ 10:10 AM PST
Ken's Brother :
Well here's the ethical question... did Gibson keep the profits from the movie the Passion of the Christ. One could make the arguement that he shouldn't be allowed to personally profit from it. Not saying he has to give it all away to crack babies (or me, whichever he feels like), but ya know there are a lot of people who that money could help.
Granted I know very little about what he did with said profits...
07.07.05 @ 09:42 AM PST [homepage]
Ken Crawford :
That's kind of my point. He's making a comparison that doesn't make any sense. He thinks that because Tom Cruise and Mel Gibson are both actors who are religious, that makes them comparable. But just because two people are religious doesn't make them comparable. Osama Bin Laden is really religious too but that doesn't make comparing Tom Cruise to him a reasonable thing to do. (I purposely avoided "throwing names" like Bin Laden in my letter.)
And that's what Morford does, he makes comparisons that don't make any sense. He has no sense of proportion or magnitude. Every religious person is a "creepy religious nuthead" despite what their actions actually suggest.
As for "Passion of the Hubbard" as Morford calls it...
What Morford apparently fails to realize is that making a movie doesn't mean people are required to go see it. He treats the Passion of the Christ as if the huge crowds going to see it were all Mel Gibson's fault and doing. The reality was that its success was beyond his means. It was successful because he made a movie that moved and challenged people. In other words, it was a good movie. You can do that with a movie about Christ or Christian themes. Said differently, Gibson was only able to make a successful movie about his religion because his religion is a reasonable one. A Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim (mainstream version, not Jihad version) or other reasonable religious person could do the same with a movie about their faith.
On the other hand, Battlefield Earth (which I haven't seen) or any Scientology propaganda movie (like the Passion of the Hubbard) isn't going to be good because, not only is it promoting a false "religion", but a false "religion" that is obviously ridiculously stupidly nearly-humorously false. And since the movie isn't going to be good nobody is going to go see it. And if nobody goes to see it, there's no reason to worry about it.
The closest a person like Cruise could do is make a movie that is generally good but has "hidden themes" that reflect Scientology. Subtle indoctrination is the best technique the Scientologists could use.
Coming full circle, what makes Cruise and Gibson vastly different people is their motivations and their resulting actions. Cruise is looking to use excessive publicity to publicize his religion despite any interest from the public. He's an arrogant, belligerent ego-maniac. Gibson on the other hand responded to a desire for an orthodox Hollywood quality movie about Christ. He did it thinking he'd probably lose money but that there were enough people who'd want to see it to justify it. Instead of being an ego-maniac, he's a humble introvert who made a charitable decision to make a movie about his faith.
These two are nothing alike.
Now that I'm writing this "comment", I think I see what this letter actually needs to look like. I really don't like the tone of my posted letter. Morford is still a moron, but it isn't appropriate or Christian to berate him like that. It is wiser to write a charitable rebuttal. I had too much frustration with Morford yesterday to write a composed rebuttal to his column. I think I now have the material and composure to do it.
07.07.05 @ 09:13 AM PST
Ken's Brother :
you're totally right... Morford is an idiot (and to believe we share the same four last letters of the last name...).
But you're off onto *why* he's an idiot.
He wants to compare Tom Cruise to Mel Gibson because they're both very religious people and he fears Cruise will make his own Scientologist version of the Passion of the Christ. But that's already happened.
It was called Battlefield Earth (thanks John Travolta and Kelly Preston).
And from what I heard it really sucked.
But that's not stopping me from Netflixing it (I only have 225 movies ahead of it in my queue!).
07.06.05 @ 09:25 PM PST [homepage]