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The SciTomKatology show

Psycho interpersonal relationships that make the world as fun and scary and fabulous as it is.
 
 
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My name is Laura, and I'm an US Weekly addict. Gossip magazines are my main, and most delicious, vice -- if you've got a question about who's doing/eating/wearing/itching-to-stab whom, please see me -- I'll be happy to impart upon you my divine knowledge.

However, I scared even myself yesterday when, in a discussion with friends about the Tom Cruise-and-Katie Holmes "magnificent!" engagement debacle, I referred to the couple as "TOMKAT." TomKat -- like Bennifer or Brangelina -- is one of those gross, cutesy terms constructed by clever editors at the lowliest trash rags, and I nearly died when the ridiculous nomer escaped my lips.

I've been thinking about the Tom 'n Katie show a fair amount lately, and not just because In Touch magazine is telling me to. My main issue with this unlikely celebrity alliance isn't the omnipresent rumor that Tom is gay (which I believe), or his embarrassing "I LOVE HER!!!" performance on Oprah's couch, where he did that infamous fist-pumping thing. The scariest part of TomKat isn't the fact that they're engaged after eight weeks of "dating," or the fact that a cult -- Scientology -- morphed a once-normal actor into a shiny, perpetually smiling alien being.

The most alarming aspect of TomKat is THE WAY SHE'S BEEN CONSUMED BY HIM. Since he's taken her under his Scientologically clear wing, what was once a mildly annoying though fresh-faced "Dawson's Creek" alum seems to have become a wind-up doll. A Stepford GF. A Laura Bush! ...Oh look, there's Katie Holmes at another "Batman Begins" press event, standing the requisite two steps behind Tom, holding his arm JUST LIGHTLY enough to give him enough room, to let him shine and dazzle and beam that hideously over-whitened megawatt smile as nothing of interest comes out of his mouth.

How has this E.T. of a man seduced Holmes, a young woman who, before this happened, seemed to have a semblance of a mind of her own? How did he convince her to convert to Scientology and renounce her fuzzy Midwestern parents' relatively safe haven of Catholicism? And what the hell happened during Katie's "missing days"?

I'll stop now, before I give in and purchase a "Free Katie" shirt. I know TomKat is far from relevant in the global scheme of things, but it's these psycho interpersonal relationships that make the world as fun and scary and fabulous as it is. And it reminds me to be thankful that nothing horrible happened that time, a few years back, when a boyfriend and I wandered innocently into a Scientology center in Portland.

Laura Barcella is an Associate Editor at AlterNet.