Did He Eat the Placenta in Silence?…

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…and really, what sort of wine goes with placenta?

As a full-service blog, Hit & Run endeavors to bring you the latest news and commentary on all the innerestin' stuff happening in the world. And since a recent post about the name of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes' baby pulled no fewer than 60 comments, I assume readers may be interested in more Cruisiana, courtesy of an Irish Web site. This came out before the birth of Suri:

Cruise to eat nutritious placenta

Hollywood actor and Scientologist Tom Cruise is planning to eat Katie Holmes' placenta….

Cruise told GQ magazine: "I'm gonna eat the placenta. I thought that would be good. Very nutritious. I'm gonna eat the cord and the placenta right there."…

He has also defended the Scientology belief that women should give birth in silence.

"It's really about respecting the woman. It's not about her not screaming," he told GQ.

More here.

Did he actually eat the placenta? (Go here for the Amateur Gourmet's Placenta Polenta recipe and here for his denial that he ever was intended to chow down thus). As the late, great Albert Popwell put it in Dirty Harry, summing up all our desire to learn, like Oedipus, the very truth that might destroy us, "I gots to know."

And does anyone know why Scientologists believe women should give birth in silence? What's the provenance of such a belief? I assume it's one of L. Ron's own and I aways find male-issued dicta about childbirth interesting, rooted as much or more in a desire to control the female body than anything else.

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  1. Does anyone know why Scientologists believe women should give birth in silence? What’s the provenance of such a belief?

    I always heard it was because some pop psychology at the time (60’s-70’s) was advocating more relaxed (and by extension, quieter) birthing techniques. Since this dovetailed nicely with his whole trauma-engram-space ghosts canon, he seized on it and incorporated it into his *ahem* religion.

  2. Does anyone know why Scientologists believe…

    Nope.

  3. Gillespie made my day with the Popwell reference…He was the man and all of Eastwood’s Malpaso “regulars” from ’69-’90 were excellent.

  4. …and really, what sort of wine goes with placenta?

    A nice, dry red?

  5. Waiting for the fava beans reference…

  6. Does anyone know why Scientologists believe women should give birth in silence? What’s the provenance of such a belief?

    I’ve read a LOT about Scientology, and I’ve *never* heard of this. Although Hubbard was a deranged woman-hating loser, so it does sort of fit in. The placenta bit, however, is pure Cruise-lunacy.

  7. Because they believe that stuff that happens to you as a baby will imprint and affect you later in life, just as stuff that was shown to you 75,000,000 years ago on a movie screen in space is affecting you today.

    You have to read “The History of Man” by Hubbard.

    So they want the baby to be some kind of blank slate, upon which they can write scientology tech. They also believe everything has to be done in order, or else you become injured and have to spend more on auditing. The rules are relaxed for celebrities, who often don’t know the same stuff that regular people who aren’t promoting it on tv know. Tom goes to celebrity centers–different than regular churches.

  8. Can someone explain to me how eating a human placenta isn’t cannibalism? Not that there’s anything wrong with that……

  9. Mr. Dante…. NAUGHTY:
    “Not that there’s anything wrong with that……”.
    very naughty.

    David: your comment brings shame to our great first name. damn. wish i would have thought of it. 🙂

    much better than a “white zin” reference or talking about swift’s “modest proposal” 🙂

    cheers!

  10. Can someone explain to me how eating a human placenta isn’t cannibalism?

    I don’t think it counts as cannibalism because you’re eating not an actual human being, but a discarded and unnecessary bit of bodily waste. Kids aren’t cannibals when they bite off and eat their hangnails or cuticles, either.

    Personally, I’d rather eat an entire bowl of cuticle clippings than a placenta, though. Yuck.

  11. Scientologists believe women should give birth in silence for the same reason Catholics believe in transubstantiation and libertarians believe in the market. We’re genetically wired to believe such stuff. Thinking rationally is hard work. On the up side, having a set of core irrrational beliefs creates group cohesion. On the down side, it generates boringly predictable posts on sites like Hit and Run.

  12. …but a discarded and unnecessary bit of bodily waste.

    So nibbling on an appendix isn’t cannibalism either? Does cannibalism only involve muscle tissue?

  13. Personally, I’d rather eat an entire bowl of cuticle clippings than a placenta, though. Yuck.

    Fried and topped with freshly grated cheddar, it might not be so bad.

    (just kidding)

  14. On the down side, it generates boringly predictable posts on sites like Hit and Run.

    Hey look, everyone! A new mudslinger! Oh joy!

  15. Mudslinger. True belivers have more words for “infidel” than Ekismos allegedly have for snow.

  16. So nibbling on an appendix isn’t cannibalism either? Does cannibalism only involve muscle tissue?

    I don’t usually spend much time classifying various forms of eating into “cannibalism” or “not cannibalism” categories, but I’d say eating a placenta has more in common with coprophagia than cannibalism.

  17. I don’t usually spend much time classifying various forms of eating into “cannibalism” or “not cannibalism” categories, but I’d say eating a placenta has more in common with coprophagia than cannibalism

    Is it cannibalism if the person has died of natural causes and you are subsequently forced into scavenging the carcass? Or does cannibalism also require murder?

    What a fascinating topic of converasation.

    I tell you what, I would rather eat a placenta than watch Mission Impossible 3.

  18. They also believe everything has to be done in order, or else you become injured and have to spend more on auditing.

    I thought getting the initiates to “spend more on auditing” was the whole point. How else to afford those lavish SeaOrg cruises?

    We’re genetically wired to believe such stuff.

    Sez you.

  19. While, I’m not a fan of Cruise and am an avid anti-fan of Scientology….

    In all fairness, the placenta is eaten in many cultures, and is in fact very nutritious.

    Cruise’s comments suggests that he’s going to eat it “right there”, which is probably not a good idea. But I guess he was probably joking.

  20. I need a TUMS but I fear that that is too dangerous and I should only take vitamins.

  21. In all fairness, the placenta is eaten in many cultures, and is in fact very nutritious.

    But why would he tell people he’s going to do it? Doesn’t he have an agent?

    You would think that someone would say to him people are less likely to want to see his movies if they think he barks at the moon.

  22. In all fairness, the placenta is eaten in many cultures, and is in fact very nutritious

    That doesn’t make it any less cannibalistic.

  23. Do you really think he was going to do it or does he really know that people see him as such a looney tunes that they’d actually take this seriously?

    He appears to be an extremely angry individual in general and I think was basically saying “Fuck you! Bastards!” with that remark.

    And you know…OTOH…

  24. The Hmong (mountain people of Laos) believe that women should give birth in silence so as not to attract the attention of any evil spirits within earshot.

  25. J/joe: Apples and oranges. Unlike thetans, the efficiency of worker control of the means of production, or transubstantiation, the market actually exists.

  26. He must think he’s a female wildebeast or gorilla among others. Many placental mammals eat theirs but, as I recall, usually the mother.

  27. “Scientologists believe women should give birth in silence for the same reason Catholics believe in transubstantiation and libertarians believe in the market. We’re genetically wired to believe such stuff. Thinking rationally is hard work. On the up side, having a set of core irrrational beliefs creates group cohesion.”

    Joe, I’ve got these here scales on my eyes. Would you be so kind as to come over and give a little tug on those suckers?

  28. Ok, here’s a test for y’all:

    Potted Meat Food Product or Placenta. Which would you rather eat?

  29. uppercase joe is far less interesting than lowercase joe.

  30. Scientologists believe women should give birth in silence for the same reason Catholics believe in transubstantiation and libertarians believe in the market. We’re genetically wired to believe such stuff. Thinking rationally is hard work. On the up side, having a set of core irrrational beliefs creates group cohesion. On the down side, it generates boringly predictable posts on sites like Hit and Run.

    Damn, Joe, who pissed in your Cheerios this morning?

  31. Because they believe that stuff that happens to you as a baby will imprint and affect you later in life, just as stuff that was shown to you 75,000,000 years ago on a movie screen in space is affecting you today.

    Not only that, but they believe that things that happen to you while unconscious can give you “engrams” also. This stuff is all laid out in Dianetics.

  32. I’m glad I ate breakfast long before reading this, although I think H & R could make some serious money by copy the post and comments and selling ’em as a safe and effective diet aid.

  33. Scientologists believe women should give birth in silence for the same reason Catholics believe in transubstantiation and libertarians believe in the market. We’re genetically wired to believe such stuff. Thinking rationally is hard work.

    Some reason atheists affirmatively disbelieve in god(s), too.

  34. Damn, Joe, who pissed in your Cheerios this morning?

    Just feed it to Tom.

  35. All I know is, the best part about the placenta is cold placenta sandwiches the next day.

  36. Some reason atheists affirmatively disbelieve in god(s), too.

    Not all atheists.

  37. Remember what Sesame Street says: Placentas are a sometimes food.

  38. All I know is, the best part about the placenta is cold placenta sandwiches the next day.

    My mom always said leftovers tasted better than the original meal – I always thought she was nuts.

    This stuff is all laid out in Dianetics.

    Oh, what an unreadable pile of crap that is. As an experiment, I once opened it up to 3 or 4 random pages, pointing at the page with my eyes closed, opened my eyes and read a sentence or two. Total gobbledygook. Of the kind you know doesn’t actually express a damn thing.

  39. “Scientologists believe women should give birth in silence for the same reason Catholics believe in transubstantiation and libertarians believe in the market.”

    Yes Joe as I enjoy the benifits of living in the richest civilization the world has ever known, one can only conclude how horrible it is that I am not in a place like North Korea and Cuba where I could have been debased of my irrational faith in the market. The market has never accomplished anything, except make us all better off than any other human beings in history.

  40. This bit about Cruise’s placenta consumption would certainly exemplify “Too Much Information” — if it actually WERE information, of course.

  41. “Potted Meat Food Product” and space ghost were both mentioned in this thread – coincidence? You decide!

  42. “Placentas are a sometimes food.”

    This comment actually caused my eyes to water…

    I’d really love to hear what Katie’s mom and dad think about her baby-daddy.

  43. Humans and some water-based mammals are some of the only mammals who don’t instinctively eat the placenta.

  44. Who’s weirder, Hubbard?….or his followers?

  45. Damn. I could’ve sold him that box of Placenta Helper that’s just been sitting on my kitchen shelf for two years now.

  46. Geo, Humans probably once did eat the placenta, but we got civilized sometime in last few millenia.

    Suula, the only time one would consider the placenta as food is if one was making menudo and couldn’t find any tripe.

  47. Nick I’m crushed. If you want to know what wine goes with placenta you have to go here.

  48. Humans and some water-based mammals are some of the only mammals who don’t instinctively eat the placenta.

    This only helps give credence to the aquatic ape theory.

  49. Who’s weirder, Hubbard?….or his followers?

    I reckon his followers. This could be a load of bullcrap but I heard that Hubbard was told by one of his buddies that you’re not a good sci-fi writer until you’ve managed to convince people into thinking that what you’ve written is the truth i.e a religion.

    But seeing as he’s a rubbish sci-fi writer how come Star Wars isn’t a religion. Holy Jedi I would go to the dagobah system EVERY SUNDAY if I could study the force.

  50. …But Tom’s ancestors were from space, so there ya go…

  51. Damn. I could’ve sold him that box of Placenta Helper that’s just been sitting on my kitchen shelf for two years now.

    I remember ur “Papa Don’t Preach” mini parody where u said u were going to eat ur baby. We r one step closer!

  52. Mark, several hundred people listed their religioin as “Jedi” in the last British census. The only reason more don’t do so is because Star Wars is an enormous cultural phenomenon that attracts huge amounts of media attention. George Lucas makes a lot more money from licensing deals that even Scientology does, and he’d lose many of those deals if he set himself up as a guru. Still, I have every confidence that by 2050 we’ll have Jedi centers in most big cities. Personally, I can’t wait until the Jedi suits are available on the mass market. That tunic is wicked cool.

  53. Eating placentas is actually mentioned in the Bible:

    The most gentle and sensitive woman among you – so sensitive and gentle that she would not venture to touch the ground with the sole of her foot – will begrudge the husband she loves and her own son or daughter the afterbirth from her womb and the children she bears. For she intends to eat them secretly during the siege and in the distress that your enemy will inflict on you in your cities.

    — Deuteronomy 28:56-57 (NIV)

  54. BTW, eating a placenta is not cannibalism, for the same reason that an 8-cell blastocyst is a human being while eight skin cells that come off when you shower are not.

    Then again, that point seems to be lost on those who support ESC research.

  55. Who’s weirder, Hubbard?….or his followers?

    Definitely his followers. He said on a number of occasions that starting a religion was the best way to get rich. Evil, yes, but certainly not as “weird” as someone who believes that their problems are caused by dead alien souls.

  56. My girlfriend has a theory that the only reason Tom is married to Kate it so that he can use her to create a child that looks a lot like he does. She does share some of his facial features, and as Mendel will tell you, that makes it all the more likely that the kid will look like it’s dad – what more could daddy want?

    Of course, her theory will be “proven” when the two break up and the Star or Enquirer publish that Tom initiated the breakup…

  57. Definitely his followers. He said on a number of occasions that starting a religion was the best way to get rich. Evil, yes, but certainly not as “weird” as someone who believes that their problems are caused by dead alien souls.

    I agree with Thinking Rationally…

    I have no sympathy for people stupid enough to succumb to Snake Oil Salesmen.

    And I don’t discriminate — that includes the major organized religions. Unfortunately, since I am a member of a nation who defines its international public policy by its god, I and other nonbelievers will unfortunately face the consequences of their actions, too.

  58. And now we have 61 comments on this topic, proving that pseudo-cannabalism is more interesting than lousy etymology.

  59. Spir Conacy,

    Ah, but what’s in it for Kate?

  60. Crimethink, I’m sure Tom Cruise is still considered a hell of a catch among women to whom his insanity is not readily apparent. Which, I suspect, is a higher percentage of the population than many of us want to admit.

  61. BTW, eating a placenta is not cannibalism, for the same reason that an 8-cell blastocyst is a human being while eight skin cells that come off when you shower are not.

    Well, I don’t agree that an 8-cell blastocyst is a full-fledged human, but I agree that there’s nothing cannibalistic about eating a placenta.

  62. “Humans and some water-based mammals are some of the only mammals who don’t instinctively eat the placenta.”

    You know why?

    Because it’s frelling disgusting, that’s why.

    Now, excuse me, while I go back to reading my paperback copy of Naked Lunch…

  63. Now, excuse me, while I go back to reading my paperback copy of Naked Lunch…

    mg,

    Have you seen the movie version? Freaking weird.

  64. Jennifer,

    I was referring to the oft-encountered argument that an 8-cell blastocyst should have the same moral status as the cells that one loses when one showers. Of course, the distinction is that in the case of the blastocyst, the loss of eight cells means the death of an entire organism, whereas eight lost skin cells will not imperil the life of an already-born human being. Likewise with cannibalism and Mr. Cruise’s placenta cuisine.

  65. Jennifer

    Whatever it is, it is gross.

    Zach,

    I feel bad Homes’ parents. They supposed to be pretty normal people. I can’t imagine having my daughter marry somenut case almost twice her age and joining a cult with him.

  66. I’m sure Tom Cruise is still considered a hell of a catch among women to whom his insanity is not readily apparent.

    Like… by Rosie O’Donnell back when she was still pretending to be straight…?

  67. “Hey, important question. If you were made out of pizza and you were starving on a desert island … would you eat yourself? I would! I think I’d be delicious!”

    — Impression of a drunken Harry Carey on the Bob & Tom radio show

  68. Karen

    I don’t know about the UK but over 50,000 New Zealanders registered as Jedi on the 2001 census there.

    I posted a longer comment earlier complete with links but it was not allowed to be posted, presumably because it had links or something.

    Anyway if you’re interested google “jedi, new zealand”.

  69. Ironically enough I saw Hannibal last night. The final scenes of Lecter’s…. ahem, dinner with Clarice and the Justice Dept. asshole was creepy enough without thinking of Tom munching Katie’s afterbirth.

  70. Hi, “joe,” I’m joe.

    I’m sort of regular around here, and I post as joe, so I just wanted to make sure there wasn’t any confusion: I didn’t post any of the comments on this thread from “joe.”

    All right then. Carry on with the conversation about, uh, what was the topic of this thread?

    Oh, Good Lord!

  71. Stevo,

    Did you know that PLACENTA spelled backwards is ATNECALP?

  72. That did not occur to me. However, Googling “ATNECALP” turned up some rather odd pages.

  73. Mark, several hundred people listed their religioin as “Jedi” in the last British census.

    I think it’s more likely that those people were trying to play a joke on Her Majesty’s Govt. Sort of like when I have to fill out a questionaire to get access to a news website and claim to be a 116-year-old web designer from Madagascar.

  74. Stevo,

    I don’t know if it was a habit he picked up after leaving St Louis, but Harry would always try to pronounce Cubs players’ names spelled backwards. Of course, in the later years he had a hard enough time pronouncing them forwards, but that didn’t dissuade him…

  75. All these posts and nobody tells the famous “ass burn” story? It’s a pivotal bit of early Dianetics lore:

    According to Dianetics, various problems in body and mind come from the reactivation of “engrams” – that is, bad memories recorded in the “reactive mind,” which exists from the moment of conception on. The reactive mind is extremely stupid. Take the case of a person suffering from an inflammation of the backside. Hubbard discovered that during pregnancy the individual’s mother kept asking the father for aspirin. The reactive mind stored this phonetically, as “ass burn.” Hence the rash! Removing this software bug, which took a few hours of work, cured everything. People who reached the engram-free state of “clear” would have perfect memory, high IQ and better health.

    This was Dianetics circa 1950, around the time of its introduction to the wider public in Astounding Science Fiction, before it grew into the full wackiness that is Scientology today.

  76. Eating the placenta is just disgusting. Do what any civilized person would do, and give it to the dog.

  77. Googling “ATNECALP” turned up some rather odd pages.

    You’re not kidding.

  78. crimethink

    As I noted above, the Jedi thing got really serious in New Zealand. I don’t know about the UK.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/story.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=2352142

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jedi_census_phenomenon

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