Sunday, July 03, 2005
Cruise, who recently made headlines for "erratic" behavior...jumping around on Oprah's sofa, castigating Mat Lauer for believing that anti-depressants actually work, etc...stars in the new remake of Wells' War of the Worlds. His new "soundbite" is...amazingly...an admission that he believes in aliens.
Some in the UFOlogical community see this as a golden opportunity to get a "real celebrity" onboard the bandwagon, while others see it as nothing more than an extension of his promotional duties for a new movie.
These opposing viewpoints are now actually grist for UFO debate. Is it any wonder that UFOlogy teeters on the brink of irrelevancy?
Physics, Geology, Archaeology, Astronomy, etc., etc., have all survived and even thrived without any "help" from celebrities. Science does not rely on promotors. Real science doesn't need them.
One UFO maven even goes so far as to infer that Cruise, vis a vis his star power, has access to information we mere mortals can only dream about. Really? So, being paid millions to be someone else in a blockbuster movie constitutes proper qualifications for access to secrets, huh?
Forgive me for thinking this is infantile logic, and follow this alternative view...
Tom Cruise is employed as an actor. He has very public, very controversial religious views, which he believes are not subject to question.
As a function of his contract to act in the movie, he is required to promote the movie in the public and the press.
As a function of this function, and as a result of a very logical question for an actor in a movie about aliens, to wit...Do you believe in aliens?", Cruise responds in the affirmative. WOW!
His evidence? Zero. His rationale? Well, "are we so arrogant to believe that we are alone in the universe?"
While this opinion mirrors those of most when asked, there is somehow more legitimacy afforded Mr. Cruise...because he is a celebrity? Please.
I mentioned his religious views because Cruise is obviously not someone who holds his religious beliefs as a private matter. In fact, they imbue his every comment, so devout is he. As is obvious to anyone who has given even a cursory look at Scientology (Cruise's affiliation), one would quickly realize that extraterrestrial life is a given in Scientology.
So, Cruise is promoting his movie, and his religion, with this one comment.
Does UFOlogy need celebrity endorsements, even when said endorsement is clouded by self-promotion, profit-incentives, and religious dogma?
Since the debate is taking place, perhaps so. Apparently, there just aren't many issues worth debating if we've come to this.
But a true discipline...a science...does not need a celebrity to "prosyletize". And there would be no debate of such ridiculous thinking in a real discipline...a science.
Oh, but we're not talking about a discipline...a science...are we?
In the final analysis, celebrity endorsements tend to de-legitimize issues far more often than they enrich or legitimize. Cynical? Perhaps, but I prefer the term "observant". This is particularly true when none-too-ulterior motives are glaringly obvious.
I'd write more, but I have to finish writing this check to "Save the Children". I mean, Brad Pitt said on TV that we could eliminate poverty in this generation, so it MUST be true, right?
Yes...and the only Unidentified Flying Objects Tom would have had to worry about would have been a "fleet" of ladies undies, hurled aloft to venture where "no man has gone before"...unless you read the tabloids, of course.
Really, most attempts at musical accompaniment for science, science-fiction, and conventions in general fall far short of what one might call art. Shatner's "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" comes to mind, though the awesome jam session between Spock (on Vulcan harp) and Severin's "space-hippies" in "The way to Eden" marks a notable exception.
"The Impossible Dream" speaks to a rather nihilistic view of UFOs, doesn't it? Completely aside from the relative quality of the singer... :)