Simplicity, Duplicity and Celebrity

Contrary to popular opinion, simple living is not rooted in asceticism but in the avoidance of duplicity. It starts with an inward reality that results in an outward life-style. Richard Foster reminds us, “Simplicity is freedom. Duplicity is bondage”

So imagine the hollow life of today’s celebrity whose publicist is hired specifically to keep the celebrity’s inner life hidden, thereby projecting an illusionary chimera.

Such is the plight of Tom Cruise who went nuts in the ramp-up to War of the World’s. Naming his sister as publicist he violated every rule of celebrity by being himself (something Truman Capote did–but drank himself into oblivion in the process.) Look at what the unleashed Cruise accomplished in a few brief months of honesty. “First he jumped maniacally on Oprah’s couch, spouting his love for new girlfriend Katie Holmes. Then he attacked Brooke Shields over her use of drugs to combat postpartum depression (which he claimed was a figment of her imagination), sparred with “Today” show host Matt Lauer over psychiatry and spent long stretches of his interview on “Access Hollywood” proselytizing for Scientology. During the same period, he established a Scientology tent on the set of “War of the Worlds” and asked a number of journalists who wished to profile him to attend multi-hour sessions on Scientology.”

Remember the riveting interview with Matt Lauer? Cruise, neck-veins pulsating, a manic look in his eyes, irrationality spilling from his drug-free brain through his lips like water over Niagara–there he was taking on a cowering Matt Lauer (who could not believe a guest went off the normal nice-guy chat script).

Not since Howard Beale’s outburst in the movie “Network” has such raw, brutal honesty spilled off the television screen. Beale a newscaster implored his audience to rouse themselves from TV news-watching passivity: “You’ve got to say, ‘I’m a HUMAN BEING, Goddamnit! My life has VALUE!’ So I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window. Open it, and stick your head out, and yell, [shouting] I’M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!’ I want you to get up right now, sit up, go to your windows, open them and stick your head out and yell – ‘I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!’ Things have got to change. But first, you’ve gotta get mad!..”

Now the news is out. Cruise is being releashed before his next film release.

WAIT! There’s more. In a controversial move Harper Collins has digitally removed a cigarette from the jacket photo of illustrator Clement Hurd in the new editions of the classic “Goodnight Moon.” The New York Times reports, “In the great green room, there is a telephone, and a red balloon, but no ashtray. ‘Goodnight Moon,’ the children’s classic by Margaret Wise Brown, has gone smoke free. ‘Goodnight Moon’ has been newly revised by HarperCollins.In a newly revised edition of the book, which has lulled children to sleep for nearly 60 years, the publisher, HarperCollins, has digitally altered the photograph of Clement Hurd, the illustrator, to remove a cigarette from his hand. HarperCollins said it made the change to avoid the appearance of encouraging smoking and did so with the permission of the illustrator’s estate. But Mr. Hurd’s son, also a children’s book illustrator and author, said he felt pressured to allow it.” Like Cruise, reality is being altered for “the public’s own good.”

In today’s hypocritical religious climate housed in a duplicitous cultural and political climate, truth and sincerity is but a distant and vague memory. Read the Old Testament stories and you see human outrageousness on full display–way wilder then couch jumping.

I may be in the minority, but I liked Cruise unleashed and Clement Hurd with his cigarette. In God-land honesty is not the best policy it is the only policy.

Yours for the pursuit of God in the company of friends, Dick Staub.

PS. And remember, “these are the best of times and the worst of times, but they are the only times we have.” (For Now).

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    Posted in Staublog in November 17, 2005 by | No Comments »

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