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While We’re Talking About Babies…

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While we’re on the subject of newborns, I’ve been amazed at the amount of media coverage given to the fact that we haven’t seen any photos of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes’ new baby. The Sacramento Bee featured a roundup of what the various gossip sites are saying about the unseen child. CBS News, MSNBC, and dozens of other mainstream media outlets have speculated on the reason that baby Suri hasn’t been spotted.

The answer is clear to me, as it should be to any King Arthur fan. Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte D’Arthur is a bit undramatic in its depiction of Arthur’s birth so we’ll refer to John Boorman’s 1981 film Excalibur. In Boorman’s retelling, Uther Pendragon lusts after his enemy’s wife Igraine. Uther enlists the wizardry of Merlin to satisfy his carnal desires. But Merlin expects payment.

“What issues from your lust, shall be mine,” Merlin commands. “Swear it again!”

“I swear it!” screams Uther.

Merlin’s sorcery allows Uther to spend the night with Igraine. Nine months later, a boy child is born and Merlin returns to claim his payment.

“I have slept for nine moons,” Merlin says. “What I did for you wasn’t easy. Now you must pay me… the child is mine, Uther… you swore an oath.”

Uther balks at upholding his part of the bargain. “They were hasty words, Merlin. This is flesh and blood!”

Merlin stands resolute. “You betrayed the Duke, you stole his wife, you took his castle, now no-one trusts you,” the wizard counsels. “You’re not the one, Uther. Give me the child, I will protect him.”

“Take him… Take the devil child!” Uther screams. 

Change the setting from England to Hollywood and the time period from the middle ages to spring 2006 and now you know what happened to Suri Cruise. Daddy Tom sold the child as part of his spring assault for world domination press junket. I’m not going to say he made a deal with the devil, but he certainly entered into a nefarious pact with someone.

Actually, I hope the child is doing well. Don’t let the paparazzi grind you down, Suri. And I’m always glad for an excuse to post a link to author Walter Kirn’s wonderful open letter to the baby.