"Tom Cruise lets the audience in just a little, but never enough. He always leaves us with a feeling of wanting more."
I was glad to see Tom Cruise, the most respected person in show biz, on the cover of TIME [SHOW BUSINESS, June 24]. In general, Hollywood actors contribute little to society other than mere amusement. Cruise, however, is different. He isn't simply another mindless entertainer. He is a role model who overcame his childhood problems by being confident and motivated.
As I got to the end of your article, i could not help sharing writer Jess Cagle's sense that the actor never really opens up. Cruise lets the audience in just a little, but never enough. He always leaves us with a feeling of wanting more. Maybe that is why he still proves so irresistible to us almost 20 years after Risky Business.
At a time when far too many in this world are motivated to violence by a perception that Americans are shallow, frivolous and decadent, it's a bit unsettling that TIME would devote eight pages to a puff piece about the cosmetic contributions to humanity made by Tom Cruise a man so dedicated to acting that he is willing to learn the remarkable skill of blowing a single underwater bubble with one nostril. How impressive!
Chippewa Lake, Ohio
Years ago, Tom Cruise and I raced cars at many of the same tracks. At Riverside Raceway in Southern California, our cars and motor homes happened to be parked side by side in the infield on race day. My wife recognized Cruise and asked him for an autograph. He said he was sorry, but he had to concentrate on the track. Oh, sure, I thought. Couldn't spare 10 seconds? The afternoon went by, and he had his races; I had mine. When we were all packing up, Cruise walked over to my wife as we were loading our car into the trailer. "Excuse me," he offered. "If I'm not interrupting, I can give you that autograph now." A class act.
I don't doubt that Cruise is a nice guy, but he always plays Tom Cruise. It's been his co-stars or the subject matter that has drawn me to his films. If you want to do a piece on a real actor, interview Dustin Hoffman, Anthony Hopkins or any number of other actors who excel at playing characters other than themselves.
ROBERT E. ALLEN
Gold Beach, Ore.
Your story ought to have mentioned the greatest role of Cruise's diverse career: playing Vietnam War veteran Ron Kovic in Born on the Fourth of July. It was his riskiest character and another role for which he was nominated for (and should have won) an Oscar.
Ocean Springs, Miss.
Was this article intended to help Tom Cruise regain his clean-cut image? He lost so much of it when he left his wife and children. Most alpha males need to control the women in their lives, and since Nicole Kidman was coming into her own, it appeared that Cruise moved on to a woman he had more control over. Are you going to be doing a cover on Kidman? She is the one who has had to go through the humiliation of being dumped by a famous husband and deal with being a single mom. She is a much more interesting person.
How to Treat Terror Suspects
Newly recruited terrorists and their plots are frightening, but perhaps more disturbing is the government's surprisingly inhumane treatment of the suspected terrorists [WAR ON TERROR, June 24]. Your articles cited sleep deprivation and modulation of caloric intake among the methods of interrogation used on Abu Zubaydah, al-Qaeda's chief of operations. This is the sort of treatment that one could expect from a 19th century French penal colony, not from the 21st century U.S. Jose Padilla, a U.S. citizen, was arrested on American soil, but when the Federal Government was unable to build a case against him that would have a chance of standing up in court, he was not released but instead was moved to a military base, where he is being denied access to counsel and held without ever having been charged with a crime. It seems very probable that both Padilla and Abu Zubaydah are terrorists, but that does not excuse the government from its obligation to protect the civil liberties of all people within its jurisdiction.
There are lots of times when the Feds can't build a case against someone that would stand up in court. Maybe Bush could reclassify these suspects as "enemy combatants." That way, they could be taken into custody by the military, deprived of sleep and food, and interrogated endlessly, all without interference from judges and lawyers.
EDWARD S. JIMISON
Castro Valley, Calif.
IN "UNCHARTED LEGAL TERRITORY," you quoted law professor Robert Turner, who stated, "If we err too far on the side of civil liberties, an awful lot of Americans could lose their lives" [WAR ON TERROR, June 24]. But civil liberties are strongly associated with greater safety and security for the average citizen. Just think of countries without them: Afghanistan under the Taliban, Iraq, Chile under Pinochet, Somalia. Then ask yourself how safe you would feel living in those countries. I would not feel very safe living in a country where the government can arrest and detain indefinitely any citizen it chooses without trial or due process, as in the case of Jose Padilla.