January 12, 2007

John Travolta: Scientology's Black Sheep?

Back in the late 70s and early 80s, in the era before Crazy Cruise, John Travolta was Scientology’s beloved poster boy. Before rumors of contractual marriages, couch jumping and angry, glib-infused interviews, JT was the ideal Scientology pitchman. Never would he angrily berate a journalist who dared to question the validity of Scientology with a brash “F*ck you, f*ck you then, period.” Never would he insist on setting up Scientology information tents on movie sets, or making donations to Scientology-sponsored charities in other’s names, as a holiday gesture. Rarely would JT speak of Scientology in interviews, wisely choosing to keep his religious orientations private. When he did speak of the controversial organization, he kept his voice down, he spoke articulately and intelligently and actually made the L. Ron Hubbard-founded group sound somewhat appealing.
So what has happened? JT has been suspiciously absent from all things Scientology. He was a no-show at the much-hyped Scientology-joining of the wee Tom Cruise and robotic Katie Holmes. While his wife “performed” in the Scientology Christmas pageant, he was notably absent. He was also conspicuously missing at the opening of a new Scientology center in England last fall. Has Scientology disowned their previous golden boy, or is he no longer clear and making a break for thetan-infested freedom?
Will this be, more than anything else, the signal of the downfall of the Church of Scientology? Will David Miscavaige and his minions regret backing the pint-sized Top Gun tornado rather than the Phenomen-aly talented Saturday Night performer? JT has nary a blip in his PR radar. Sure, those pesky maybe-gaybe rumors have been floating around for years, much like his glib counterpart, Mr. Cruise; and JT’s star certainly did not ascend to the heights of Cruise’s, even at JT’s prime. But JT has not offended legions of females everywhere, with misinformed remarks on the validity of post-partum depression. Nor has he alienated psychiatrists and trained therapists everywhere, with a flip dismissal of the medical profession. He also hasn’t sent the vast American public into a sugar-induced coma with the pushy, anything-but-soft sell of his marriage, and fervent declaration of love and of how magnificently, amazingly perfect his life is.
I truly like JT. I think he’s a decent guy, a man who found Scientology to be comforting to him at one time, but who has been drained, emotionally and probably financially, by them since. While I have no hope of Tiny Tom escaping the clutches of the Church of Scientology, I do hope that JT manages to leave and live his life the way he wants. His real fans will accept him, no matter what. Here’s hoping that 2007 will turn into a COS-free one for Mr. Travolta.

1 comment:

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