NASCAR Now issued a press release to say that Tom Cruise would appear on Friday’s show. Excuse me, but, well, does NASCAR or one of its flagship TV shows really want to hitch its wagon to this guy right about now?
Sure, we find ourselves at a messed up point in history where seemingly any connection to Hollywood and Movie Stars and Britney Spears’ nanny’s dog walker is somehow construed as a good thing.It’s true, we live in a celebrity culture.
I also understand that Days of Thunder is venerated throughout the NASCAR community, clutched close to the collective chest and cited as proof-positive of both the sport’s solid standing in America’s cultural firmament and, further, as a fine, fine representation of what NASCAR is about, as good a racing film as there ever is, was or will be.
Days. Of. Thunder. Used appropriately and uttered in the proper, hushed, respectful tone, those three simple words have the effect of a talisman; used sparingly and judiciously in the garage, they serve as the secret handshake, proffering Knowledge and Wisdom on the acolyte, helping him or her gain entrance into sacred ground.
Okay, so maybe that’s a bit of a stretch. But NASCAR does seem to love it some Days of Thunder. And, hell, I’ll even admit that, having spent a fair few weekends enmeshed in the garage and its culture myself, I’m much more inclined to appreciate the accuracy of Days of Thunder than I am to deride it for its absolutely asinine and utterly inaccurate depictions of NASCAR racing; Talladega Nights has as much claim to accuracy as Days of Thunder.
Nevertheless, I get it.
But seriously, Tom Cruise? Is this the guy you want to hitch your wagon to right about now? Does ESPN really want to trumpet this guy’s appearance on NASCAR Now? I know times are tough all over and, yes, he was fantastic in Tropic Thunder … wait, never mind: That one isn’t exactly NASCAR’s target demo … but, Tom Cruise?
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I don’t know. I … just … don’t … know. Honestly, if I was NASCAR, I think I’d be sticking with Third Eye Blind – sure, that band’s sell-by date reads Never, but, still, they seem a bit more … prudent than Cruise.