Kessler on Cruise
July 10, 2005
Cf. Cruising Szasz
My esteem for Tom Cruise has gone up sever notches because of his interest in Szasz's writings. Since he's a powerful voice in Hollywood, he can write out psychiatric mendacity from his movie scripts or at least demonstrate psychiatric quackery with the story line should the opportunity arise - I think the movie "Rain Man" may have been a recipient of Cruisian influence - how? One, by showing that Raymond (Hoffman's character) had reasons for why he did what he did and why he say didn't want to fly - he knew the safety record of every single airline. Two (at least it was obvious to me), at the end of the movie, Raymond was asked to make a choice between the assylum where he stayed which he had made his home and had all the things he enjoyed and going with his younger brother. What he did (his
solution to the dilemma) could have been interpreted two ways. The conventional way of interpreting his "autistic" silence was that he was not ready to go into the real world and cope with the pressures he would encounter - that is the way I believe most people viewed Raymond - Tom Cruise's character was playing a conventional person - not a Szaszian - and believed Raymond was best left at the assylum. The way I interpreted it was much more subtle - Raymond actually loved both his brother and the assylum - he really didn't want to offend either by making a choice - he knew if he made a choice it would also be upsetting to himself as well - he just didn't want the pressure. So he allowed the choice to be made for him, avoiding the dilemma and making both satisfied that the best choice was made. This was perfect to me - I used the approach that behavior has reasons. I wonder if the director and Cruise (as well as Hoffman) knew that they knew.