Friday, June 24, 2005

A Sign That You Need A Life...

I was at the doctor's office the other day (just routine stuff - nothing to worry about), and while I was waiting I cast about for something to read. My choices seemed to be between Good Housekeeping, some sort of car magazine, and People.

Since I was just looking for mind-occupying fluff, I chose People. This issue had a big story about Katie Holmes and her sveng - oops, I mean her fiance, Tom Cruise. Now, I had heard various bits about their supposed whirlwind romance, and the questions about whether Katie would become a scientologist, etc. Apparently there's also a big debate about whether their romance is real or just a publicity stunt for Cruise's latest movie. I guess fans want the artificial, shallow, and contrived-for-the cameras lives of their Hollywood stars to nonetheless sparkle with real romance.

But what flummoxed me was in the "Letters" section of the magazine. Some woman had written about a Cruise - Holmes story from a previous issue. This reader was outraged that anyone could suggest that Tom and Katie's romance could be anything less than authentic. And she wrote something to the effect that "Tom has always been a genuine man with great integrity".

Now, I have nothing against Tom Cruise. I've seen a few of his movies. For all I know he may be a man of great integrity. Though, to be honest, I kind of doubt it - a man of integrity doesn't divorce his wife (or drive her to divorce) because she doesn't want to join his goofy made-up religion.

But I thought, concerning the letter-writer, "how could you know he's a 'man of integrity'? How could you possibly know?" I'm sure the woman doesn't personally know Tom Cruise. And short of personal knowledge, there is no way we can make such statements about a person. So how can she make such a statement? Well, obviously, she feels like she knows Cruise. Note how she refers to him as "Tom", as though he was her friend.

But, of course, she doesn't know him at all. She knows the movies he's made, and whatever image he and his publicists choose to project. And, unfortunately, she, like so many others, have made celebrity and glitz some sort of alternate reality.

So here, based on this incident, I offer my
Three Signs That You Need A Life:

1. You follow, and know the details, of the amorous lives of Tom and Katie (or Brad & Jennifer/ Angelina) etc.

2. You subscribe to People magazine.

And, the most dramatic sign of all:

3. You actually take the time to write a letter to People magazine.