Sunday, January 4, 2009

Are Scientology Bashers Twisting the Jett Travolta Tragedy?

The tragic death of Jett Travolta has brought up some sensitive issues surrounding his health condition and the possible (and perhaps preventable) reasons that may have attributed to his untimely passing.

Both Kelly Preston and John Travolta maintained that Jett, who was 16 when he died, suffered from Kawasaki Disease, which typically affects young children (under 5). There is some suspicion that there is an immunological cause to Kawasaki disease, though this theory has not been proven. Left untreated, the disease can lead to serious heart complications due to an inflammation of blood vessels - and often death due to heart attack.

Kawasaki disease is a treatable disease, and the most effective course is intravenous immunoglobulin, a blood transfusion that is rich in antibodies. If treatment is sought, death due to complications is extremely unlikely:

With early treatment, rapid recovery from the acute symptoms can be expected and the risk of coronary artery aneurysms greatly reduced. Untreated, the acute symptoms of Kawasaki disease are self-limited (i.e. the patient will recover eventually), but the risk of coronary artery involvement is much greater. Overall, about 2% of patients die from complications of coronary vasculitis. Patients who have had Kawasaki disease should have an echocardiogram initially every few weeks, and then every 1–2 years to screen for progression of cardiac involvement.

It is also not uncommon that a relapse of symptoms may occur soon after initial treatment with IVIG. This usually requires re-hospitalization and retreatment. Treatment with IVIG can cause allergic and non-allergic acute reactions, aseptic meningitis, fluid overload and, rarely, other serious reactions. Aspirin may increase the risk of bleeding from other causes and may be associated with Reye's syndrome. Overall, life-threatening complications resulting from therapy for Kawasaki disease are exceedingly rare, especially compared with the risk of non-treatment.


So what happened to Jett? Reports indicate he hit his head on a bathtub, but it is unclear whether he was having a seizure at the time, or if he slipped, or if something else preceded his fall. Was this a complication of his bout with Kawasaki disease? Or autism?

Many people suspected that Jett was autistic (videos which were once available online that 'clearly' demonstrate Jett's developmental disability can no longer be found), but Travolta and Preston are prominent Scientologists and autism is not recognized by the cult religion:

In the past there have been reports that Jett was autistic, but Travolta always denied it, saying instead that his son suffered from Kawasaki Syndrome, a disease characterized by high fever, skin rash and swelling of the lymph nodes. Travolta follows Scientology, which does not recognize autism.


One of the tenets of Scientology is that mental illness is psychosomatic, and can only be treated through spiritual healing. You may remember Tom Cruise earning significant flak for statements to Matt Lauer concerning mental illness, namely his remark that psychiatry is a pseudo-science. Because of this fundamental belief on behalf of Scientologists, Jett certainly wasn't treated for autism, and was likely not appropriately treated for Kawasaki disease either (especially if his condition was misdiagnosed, as many people suspect it was).

Last year, one website wrote an eerily prophetic post concerning this event:

Four years ago, Kelly got out her hounds-tooth coat and pipe and giant magnifying glass and used her sleuthiness to determine that the cause was environmental toxins. Specifically, carpet cleaning chemicals. Then Kelly used a Scientology endorsed program created by L. Ron Hubbard to cure him. And it worked! No, wait, did I say, "it worked"? I meant to say, "it failed completely!"The real problem of course isn’t carpet based treachery, it's that Jett has autism, and no amount of meadow-scented deception is behind it. He's never been officially diagnosed of course, since the "church" won't allow it, but outsiders who know the affliction well say the signs are clearly evident.

I say we give the Scientology method a few more years to kick in. Soon, Jett will be dead. Ta-da!


Critics of Scientology have been crying 'child abuse' for years in respect to the Travolta's disregard for autism and their unwillingness to address Jett's needs.

Folks picketed the Travolta/Preston family, saying that their refusal to seek treatment for the boy bordered on—or, you know, flat out was—child abuse. Travolta's brother Joey even produced a movie about the condition, but the family continued to shut down any reports that autism was involved.


Neighbours of the Travolta's, who also happen to be parents of an autistic child, had nothing short of shocking stories to tell with regard to Jett and how he was treated within the family:

The Kennys also claim that Kelly and John "let Jett sit in front of video games all day eating junk food, while they eat the best organic food money can buy. They exclude Jett from all social events because they are embarrassed."

"Once," reports Kenny, "when Kelly took him to the movies, Jett started to have a meltdown and Kelly pointed at the nanny and ordered, 'Take care of it.'"

"Jett does not speak at all," confirms Kenny. "He has not even been taught how to communicate. We struggle every week to pay for our daughter's therapy. How dare he [Travolta] ruin his own son's chances of recovering! We want to get the word out on this."


Saturday, January 3, 2009

Matt Smith Cast as the 11th Doctor in Doctor Who

Matt Smith has been named as the actor who will take over from David Tennant in Doctor Who - making him the youngest actor to take on the role.

At 26, Smith is three years younger than Peter Davison when he signed up to play the fifth Doctor in 1981.

Smith will first appear on TV screens as the 11th Doctor in 2010.

He was cast over Christmas and will begin filming for the fifth series of Doctor Who in the summer. Tennant is filming four specials in 2009.

Smith was named as Tennant's replacement in Saturday's edition of Doctor Who Confidential on BBC One.

He said: "I feel proud and honoured to have been given this opportunity to join a team of people that has worked so tirelessly to make the show so thrilling.

"David Tennant has made the role his own, brilliantly, with grace, talent and persistent dedication. I hope to learn from the standards set by him.

"The challenge for me is to do justice to the show's illustrious past, my predecessors, and most importantly, to those who watch it. I really cannot wait."

Piers Wenger, head of drama at BBC Wales, said that as soon as he had seen Smith's audition he "knew he was the one".

The 11 Doctors
1. William Hartnell (1963-1966)
2. Patrick Troughton (1966-1969)
3. Jon Pertwee (1970-1974)
4. Tom Baker (1974-1981)
5. Peter Davison - pictured (1982-1984)
6. Colin Baker (1984-1986)
7. Sylvester McCoy (1987-1996)
8. Paul McGann (1996)
9. Christopher Eccleston (2005)
10. David Tennant (2005-2010)
11. Matt Smith (2010 - ?)

"It was abundantly clear that he had that 'Doctor-ness' about him," he said. "You are either the Doctor or you are not. It's just the beginning of the journey for Matt.

"With Steven Moffat's scripts and the expertise of the production team in Cardiff behind him, there is no one more perfect to be taking the Tardis to exciting new futures when the series returns in 2010."

Wenger said a broad range of people had been auditioned, but they had not set out to cast the youngest Doctor.

Smith's TV debut was in the 2006 adaptation of Philip Pullman's The Ruby in the Smoke, which starred former Doctor Who companion Billie Piper as Sally Lockhart.

He has also acted opposite Piper in the follow-up, The Shadow in the North, and in ITV2's Secret Diary of a Call Girl.

In 2007, he had a leading role in BBC Two's political drama Party Animals, in which he played a parliamentary researcher.

Smith's stage work has included stints with theatre companies such as the Royal Court and National Theatre. His West End debut was in Swimming With Sharks opposite Christian Slater.

He was born in Northampton in 1982 and studied drama and creative writing at the University of East Anglia.

Creative team

Tennant said in October that he would stand down from the show after filming four special episodes in 2009.

Tennant is recovering from back surgery ahead of filming in 2009
The star is due to begin shooting the first special this month, just weeks after surgery on his back forced him to pull out of a London run of Hamlet.

The last of these special episodes is expected to run in early 2010.

With a new creative team in place for the 2010 series led by executive producers Steven Moffat and Piers Wenger, the casting of the Doctor was the first job to be completed before scripts could be finalised.

Doctor Who began in 1963, and seven actors played the Doctor before the show was dropped in 1989.

After a TV movie in 1996 - starring Paul McGann - the TV series returned in 2005 with Christopher Eccleston in the lead role. Tennant took over the same year.