Full disclosure: huge Tom Cruise fan here. He’s creepy as all get out, and I’d sleep with the lights on if I were a guest in his house, but have you seen Magnolia? Fantastic actor, undeniably.
It was reported Friday that he recently said an unpopular thing comparing his job of make-believe in Hollywood to that of American combat troops in Afghanistan. I didn’t get all bent out of shape about it, like some people did, because it was exactly something I’d expect Tom Cruise to say. He’s a famed narcissist; why get outraged when he says something narcissistic?
Well now I must trade that passivity for an active defense (I’m sure he’ll be calling me later to express his gratitude). The reported controversial quotes came from legal documents obtained by TMZ, but, as Cruise’s lawyer explained, TMZ didn’t give the context. According to his lawyer, Cruise was asked if “being separated from his daughter while shooting movies was comparable to a service member’s separation from his/her family during deployment, to which he…responded (with appropriate incredulity), ‘Oh come on. You know, we’re making a movie.’ ” From that point, as per his prompt, Cruise went on to make comparisons between Afghanistan and making movies. So let’s put a fork in the outrage.
Next up, the brat who usually deserves every bit of the hate thrown his way: Justin Bieber.
The Biebs posted a picture to his Instagram profile in which he is seen supposedly committing an act of vandalism known as graffiti. (He captioned the photo, “This is my escape.” I mention that because that’s just hilarious.)
Painted on the wall in front of him, supposedly by his own hand, is what is presumably a black man—black skin, gold chain necklace, gold tooth—whose face bears uncanny resemblance to a hastily doodled cartoon of a monkey’s.
This is “racist,” declared the Internet.
But I’m thinking The Biebs did not actually paint it. He is holding up a spray can in the picture, but the graffiti appears already to be completed. No paint is actually coming out of his spray can, either, so my guess is that he’s just posing. He’s a notorious poseur.
If he did do the graffiti, I’d still cut him slack; Justin Bieber genuinely thinks he is a black person, so who cares how he chooses to portray his own kind?
Regarding the graffiti itself, yes, it does look like a monkey. So do certain people. George W. Bush looks like a monkey; so does Michelle Obama. White actress Kate Mara looks like a monkey; so does Jay-Z. Why can’t the vandal—er, sorry, “graffiti artist”—have been spray-painting one of these types of people who happen to look like monkeys? Are monkey-like individuals to be excluded from representation in street “art”?
So, to the conservatives upset at Tom Cruise and to the liberals upset at Justin Bieber, I say this: relax.