Decision ‘08 » Blog Archive » Today’s Worst Op-Ed…
…comes from Ruben Navarrette, Jr., in the San Diego Union-Tribune, who defends Tom Cruise’s recent Scientology-fueled rant on the Today show as an important contribution to the debate over over-reliance on prescription drugs, particularly the use of ritalin on the young.
Lauer thought that Cruise was being judgmental, and that he should keep his opinions to himself. He also thought Cruise should stipulate that – while the actor didn’t approve of taking antidepressants – those for whom the drugs had worked should be free to take them. Why should Cruise keep his opinions to himself? Shields didn’t keep her bout with mental illness to herself. She advertised it to sell books. Cruise is entitled to his opinion, just like anyone else. The problem isn’t that celebrities have opinions. It’s that the rest of society is quick to treat them as experts. They’re not experts. They’re movie stars with opinions. And they should be free to express their opinions, and the rest of us should be free to discount them if they don’t hold up.
Bull – Lauer didn’t ask Cruise to keep his opinions to himself, he asked him to acknowledge that drugs may help some people with mental disorders. Cruise denied that it was even possible, or that chemical imbalances even exist. It was Cruise who set himself up as an expert by asserting to Lauer that he ‘just didn’t know the history of psyciatry’ like Cruise does, and basically suggesting the Lauer was the one who needed to keep his opinion to himself. Navarrette’s defense of Cruise is wrong-headed, shallow, and unconnected to the facts.