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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review June 30, 2005 / 23 Sivan , 5765

It's not the celebrity, it's the subject

By Ruben Navarrette Jr.


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | I can't believe I'm defending Tom Cruise.

But someone has to do it. Cruise has been criticized and ridiculed after a heated exchange with "Today" show co-host Matt Lauer the other day over a rather important topic: the possible overuse of prescription drugs that supposedly treat depression or other forms of mental illness.

It all started when Lauer came to the rescue of Brooke Shields, who — while promoting a book — disclosed that she had therapy and took antidepressant drugs to combat postpartum depression.

Cruise doesn't believe in psychiatry ("a pseudo science") or antidepressants ("mind-altering, antipsychotic drugs"), and he said as much after Shields made her remarks.

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.

But Lauer seemed to be saying that Cruise didn't have a right to his opinion because many people — like the millions of Americans who use prescription drugs — might find it offensive.

Cruise held his ground. He didn't just give in to Lauer's brand of "I'm OK, you're OK" psychobabble. When asked if it was OK if drugs worked for Shields, Cruise said, no, it wasn't.

"I disagree with it," he told Lauer.

Cruise suggested vitamins and exercise as a viable alternative and said drugs only "mask the problem."

I enjoy a good fight. How many other celebrities — in the same situation — would have caved in and said whatever they thought the interviewer wanted to hear?

Instead, Cruise kicked off a debate over a subject that a lot of people don't feel comfortable discussing: whether Americans are too quick to turn to prescription drugs and whether their doctors are too quick to prescribe them. Cruise zeroed in on "drugging children" with Ritalin, which is supposed to treat hyperactivity or attention deficit disorder.

That's a hugely important discussion, and it shouldn't matter who gets the ball rolling. Even if the push comes from a — gasp — celebrity, and one who has links to — gasp — Scientology.

So far the public isn't buying it. According to an online poll by MSNBC, 69 percent of viewers said Cruise was "just plain wrong" on the role of doctors and the use of drugs to alleviate mental distress.

Those people are naive. My friends who are doctors tell me that they are constantly being lobbied by drug companies, trying to convince them to prescribe some of this and more of that.

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Could this have anything to do with the economic incentives and perks that drug companies offer doctors and hospitals? What do you think?

That's the discussion we need to be having. And if it's finally under way, it is no thanks to the scores of newspaper reporters and radio talk show hosts who piled on Tom Cruise. After watching the interview and the reaction, I felt embarrassed — not for Cruise, but for many of my colleagues in the media.

All of a sudden, the issue went from being about drugs to being about celebrity and Scientology. Talk show hosts in Southern California ribbed "Dr. Cruise" for thinking that he knows anything about psychiatry. A writer for The Washington Post joined in, asking: "Should we address him as Dr. Tom Cruise from now on? Or will the Rev. Dr. Cruise suffice?" And how's this for a headline from one online newspaper: "Tom Cruise 'Today Show' Scientology Rant Hurts Image."

What Scientology rant? The guy was talking about — or rather trying to talk about — our society's increasing dependence on mind-altering and mood-altering drugs. And at no point in the interview did he even attribute those views to his religion.

Do you suppose it's possible for an entire profession — in this case, the news media — to suffer from attention deficit disorder? The problem is that Tom Cruise raised a serious issue, one that deserves serious attention.

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