War of the Words: Brooke Shields Strikes Back!

Cut down, for copyright reasons, from today’s NY Times Op-Ed Page:

I have got to hand it to Brooke. I always thought she was the stereo-typical Hollywood airhead actress but her current actions have me seeing her in a different light. She handled Tom Cruise’s idiotic comment a classy way.

I never had much of an opinion about Brooke Shields before, but I’m feeling an awful lot of respect for her right now. You go girl!

That was too much, wasn’t it?

I got a pretty classy impression from her from the series Suddenly Susan.

Eh, that’s her, right?

Tom Cruise on the other hand I can really appreciate as an actor, but as far as his Hollywood Personality / PR, whatever goes, well … let’s just say whenever he plays a character who is enthusiastic but not always all that smart … it gets ever more convincing.

Last figure I read is something like 1/8th (16 percent) btw. I was actually surprised that it was that low, I was starting to get the impression that a post partum depression was the rule rather than the exception. I’m glad to hear otherwise, with no disrespect at all to those who do suffer one of course, on the contrary.

She’s been interviewed by women’s magazines in the UK too which is good. For a more pithy comeback at Cruise see this thread.

I’ve always had a healthy respect for Brooke. She could have really done the Hollywood thing big from the start, but she decided to stop acting and actually go to school and complete her degree. For somone to just stop and really take their future seriously really makes an impression on me.

I have mixed feelings about dignifying Cruise’s remarks with a reply.

Of course she had to reply, not out of any personal need to retort, but to debunk his dangerous nonsense about how to treat post-partum depression. Unfortunately, people might hear what Cruise said and believe him, forego treatment, and wind up in a very bad situation. By replying in a factual, non-emotional way, Shields makes herself look like the voice of reason and Cruise like a hysterical idiot, which is as it should be. Kudos to her for standing up, not only for herself, but for anyone who is suffering from a chemical imbalance and who seeks help. Those people should be supported, not ridiculed and criticized.

And if he said that people who give their children antibiotics for strep throat are irresponsible?

Admitting that I’ve only read what was quoted in the OP, they’re really just preaching to their respective choirs, aren’t they? Cruise says that it’s a myth (or whatever idiot phrasing he chose), and she responds by saying that she’s had it, along with other women. An identical situation would be if Owen Wilson said that Scientology is a myth and we really didn’t descend from clams, with Cruise responding that he’s experienced the truths of Scientology, as have others. So, unless Eve misquoted, I’d must say that if Shields had to respond, it would have been nice if she actually did respond.

Still, responding to nonsense seems to give it credibility to some folk. I tend to thing that 'ole Tommy needs to be snubbed, not debated.

I didn’t misquote, but I did cut down her op-ed piece considerably, for copyright reasons. I’m sure if you search you can find the complete text somewhere online.

I didn’t mean to imply that you had. I put that in because you top the list of people we can trust to not misquote—thus I hoped that I wouldn’t have to dig up the whole piece to ensure I hadn’t missed something critical. So you can take it as a compliment.

That there are “chemical imbalances” has been demonstrated beyond any shadow of doubt. One could start w/ Phineas Gage to illustrate how dependent our personalities are on our brains, and then move step-wise to depression. One intermediate step, for example, is that if one suffers from hallucinations, one takes medication and they go away. Throughout this chain of reasoning, a leitmotif, such as the commonly known effects of caffeine on one’s ability to think, can be threaded to create a powerful argument that actually answers Cruise and is close enough to the average person to have visceral impact.

The last I heard TC hadn’t personally attacked her for giving antibiotics to her children. He has personally attacked her for using anti-depressants.

I have always had more respect for Brooke than for Tom in the acting department. He was “just ok” in most of his movies. His embracing scientology and saying something as stupid as this whole rant against psychiatry knocked him even further down the ladder.

With any luck, the whole incident will hurt his career.

It was analogy to illustrate just how ridiculously stupid Cruise’s remarks were. If Cruise came out as a Christian Scientist railing agianst antibiotics, would a response be necessary? Or would the best response be to roll one’s eyes and say, “Oh, please”? I think kicking a stone like Dr. Johnson would be the most effective rebuttal of all.

Not to take away from Brooke’s response, which was classy enough to have come from a Doper, but who doesn’t know about Post-Partum Depression these days? She makes it sound like it’s some kind of well-hidden secret that women get this after having babies. I’m thinking if you have a baby and tell your doctor you feel kind of blue afterwards, you have to have a pretty bad doctor for her not to suspect PPD.

I don’t doubt that a lot of people know about Post partum depression, but, just like all depression, people often feel like it’s a minimal thing you should just “look on the bright side and get over”, or, in Tom’s case, “take a few vitamins and do a few laps.” Quite a few people are completely ignorant about the debilitating severity it can have on others.

Agreed about post partum depression and mental illness in general.
Mental illness still has a stigma about it. If someone has cancer or a broken arm, 99.99% of people would think it is good to be under a doctor’s care. You tell someone you have depression and the responses are shallow and superficial. (“Oh you’ll get over it, cheer up, things could be worse, etc”)

When you first have a baby, you’re expected to be all happy and glowing and joyous. I imagine it’d be hard to express to people why, despite your beautiful baby, you are miserable and wretched, even to your GP or OBGYN. You might feel ashamed that you don’t feel the proper amount of love for your newborn and think that makes you a bad person and a terrible mother. So you fake it until you totally lose it. That’s been my impression of how untreated post-partum depression works, and even intelligent, informed women can fall victim to it.

Depression is a pretty insidious disease, and a lot of people don’t realize that’s what it is-- they think they’re abnormal, bad, lazy, etc. Hearing Tom Cruise, Mr. Perfect Celebrity, confirm that women who seek treatment are bad and going about their treatment the wrong way is, IMO, dangerous. Brooke Shields is trying to raise consciousness about PPD. I don’t think it’s safe to assume that all women know what it is or can ID it if they have it.

Ah, yet more confirmation that, even in my childhood crushes, I had good taste.

I think that while a lot of women know about PPD in theory, it is not an easy illness to admit. Having it be more open makes it easier to admit. Having someone beautiful, successful and intelligent talk about having it makes it seem less shameful if you have it.

I, personally, would have agreed with him, and so would many doctors. That particular example has more grounds for debate than PPD. But he didn’t go for that - he went for what should be a weak spot, women who have just had children and have an ‘invisible illness.’

But I know you weren’t concentrating on the specific issue he chose to attack - you were saying that they’re both spouting opinions, not facts. However, Brooke Shields has a lot more facts on her side. But when speaking to laymen, facts are a lot less persuasive and memorable than a personal testimony.

PPD is not feeling “kind of blue”. It is not equivalent to the so-called “baby blues” that most mothers experience. Perhaps that is why Brooke feels that more information on the subject is warranted.