Ed Driscoll

The 800 Pound Clam In The Room

Speaking of The War of the Worlds, Matt Drudge has a transcript of Tom Cruise’s interview with Matt Lauer on The Today Show. Based on that transcript, it appears that somehow, the interview went off on a tangent based around one of Cruise’s obsessions–psychiatry and antidepressant drugs.

Assuming it’s a complete transcript, the interview wraps up with this exchange:

MATT LAUER: Do you want more people to understand Scientology? Is that– would that be a goal of yours?

TOM CRUISE: You know what? I– absolutely. Of course, you know. And people–

MATT LAUER: How do you go about that?

TOM CRUISE: You just communicate about it. And the important thing is, like you and I talk about it, whether it’s– okay, if I wanna know something, I go and find out. /Because I don’t talk about things that I don’t understand. I’ll say, you know what? I’m not so sure about that. I’ll go find more information about it so I can– I can come to an opinion based on– on the information that I have.

MATT LAUER: You– you’re so passionate about it. And I’m–

TOM CRUISE: I’m passionate about learning. I’m passionate about life, Matt.

So why on earth wouldn’t Lauer, who I’m sure believes himself to be an objective hard-hitting liberal journalist, who would think nothing of questioning the religious beliefs of any red stater, ask at some point during the interview, “Tom, it’s obvious that you think that the psychiatric profession is misguided. And I’m sure there are many who’d agree with that.

“But if I may blunt, like many in Hollywood, you belong to a religion created by a pulp science fiction writer whose critics say believed that mankind evolved from clams, and that 75 million years ago, there was an alien galactic ruler named Xenu who nuked planet Earth. Any thoughts, Tom?”

And let the viewers watch what happens next. It’s possible it would produce an exchange similar to what Ted Koppel got, when he asked Louis Farrakhan about Farrakhan’s science fiction beliefs:

Farrakahn believes Elijah Muhammad, the (by all accounts deceased) former leader of the Nation of Islam, is living on a spaceship circling the planet. Also, a few years after Elijah “died,” the spaceship picked up Farrakhan and the two men had a nice chat with each other. Afterward, Farrakhan says the spaceship let him off near Washington, D.C.

The only major television journalist I’ve ever seen query Farrakhan about this stuff was Ted Koppel, host of ABCs “Nightline,” in 1996. Koppel asked him about the spaceship stuff, saying, “It sounds like gibberish, but maybe you can explain it.”

Farrakhan didn’t back off. The spiritual leader explained that the huge spaceship is “over the heads of us in North America, and soon you shall see these (spaceships) over the major cities of America.” This fact is being kept “above top-secret by the United States government.”

Farrakhan didn’t stop there. Offended at the “gibberish” remark, he fell back on some hard science: “And if it were gibberish, they made an awful lot of money, Mr. Koppel, on that movie called ‘Independence Day’ — it flooded the theaters.” Koppel conceded this point, but also alerted Farrakhan to the fact that “Independence Day” wasn’t a true story.

Or, Cruise might simply unclip his lavalier mic and storm off the set. No matter how the conversation broke, like Koppel and Farrakhan, it certainly would make for exciting TV.

Update: Joe Gandelman has some thoughts and an additional quote from the interview:

When asked if he could be with someone at this stage in his life who doesn’t have an interest in the Church of Scientology