Kidman-Cruise: it never happened!
Now, I was always skeptical of the Cruise-Kidman marriage. I’m skeptical of all Hollywood marriages. I think they’re publicity stunts. Or at any rate there’s an enormous incentive to turn them into publicity stunts. You get magazine covers when you get engaged, magazine covers when you marry, magazine covers when you have kids, magazine covers when you divorce, magazine covers devoted to who you and your former spouse are seeing now. You can’t buy that kind of publicity. Well, you probably could, but it’s much cheaper just to get hitched. And publicity is the currency of celebrity. How could they not take advantage?
Now maybe some of those celebrity marriages are real, but given the incentives that exist (to say nothing of the celebrity divorce rate) my skepticism meter shows a pretty high reading. Whether these stunts are arranged by the celebs themselves or by managers/PR flaks I don’t know. Neither do I know how self-deluded the participants are: I can picture anything from utterly cold and cynical calculation (“We could use this get an extra 2.3 million each on our next contracts with our studios.”) to complete and utter self-delusion (“We really love each other so much!”). And each partner may be in a different place along the scale. But every time I see some wedding announcement plastered across those magazine covers at the grocery store checkout stand, I smell bullshit. That visual real estate is far too valuable to let something as quirky and unreliable as actual human love determine who gets to park their face there.
And of course there’s the ubiquitous rumor that Cruise is gay. I have no particular information on whether this is true or false, but I admit it does color my perceptions and makes me even more skeptical of his nuptial antics (with women at any rate).
Well, guess what! For once, I, an atheistic reductionist Unitarian, am going to be outdone in skepticism by none other than the Roman Catholic Church, of all institutions! You see, the church is even more doubtful about the validity of the Cruise-Kidman marriage than I am. In fact, they think it never happened at all! A scientology ceremony, 10 years of legal marriage, and adopting 2 children just doesn’t constitute a real marriage in the eyes of the Mother Church. Now I’m no fan of Scientology, but c’mon. We let any wacko sect perform marriages. The moonies, the Universal Life Church, you name it. But if you’ve been baptized Catholic, I guess those aren’t real marriages, according to canon law! I guess my marriage isn’t real either, since I was baptized Catholic, but got married by Unitarians! What will I tell my not-wife? What a horrible surprise for my yet-to-be-born child when he discovers his parents are not really married! Andrew Sullivan (who gets his usual hat tip for pointing me to this story), comments on the absurdity of this:
I love my church. Its rules are inviolable and eternal, except when they're not. Kidman was legally married for ten years, had two kids, but, as far as the Catholic church is concerned, her marriage to Cruise did not exist! She didn't even have to seek an annulment. But the stricture against a Catholic's divorce and remarriage is absolute - and a Catholic who obeyed the rules all along, and got married in a Catholic first wedding, would be denied the sacraments and barred from re-marrying in church. I guess because I am deemed objectively disordered by my own church, I haven't been as aware of this transparent nonsense as I should have been.
(Now comes the part where I demonstrate that we Unitarian Universalists can be as smug and arrogant as the most self-satisfied born-again Christian who is convinced that they are going to heaven and you are not.) Is the Catholic Church trying to make itself into a ridiculous joke? The Leno monologues practically write themselves. With rules like this, is it any wonder that they’re having trouble getting enough priests? People are supposed to respect the august moral authority of an institution that thinks like this? All I can say is: BWAHAHAHAHAH! ROTFLMAO!