Merissa Marr‘s Wall Street Journal piece about how Tom Cruise has lost his footing with women fans (and what his people are doing to tryin and get some of it back) echoes what the Toronto Star‘s Peter Howell told me a while back, which is that women went cold on Cruise last summer, which was perhaps due more to his attack on Brooke Shields over post-partum depression issues. “At that moment, he moved from the realm of acceptable eccentricity to something scary and cruel,” comments Martin Kaplan, director of the Norman Lear Center, in Marr’s piece. “It’s easier to forgive his joking about placenta than what is perceived to be an attack on a vulnerable woman’s real problem.” Marr comes to more or less the same conclusion I came to in an earlier piece about Cruise’s image problems, which is that they aren’t bad enough to hurt Mission: Impossible III in a serious way, but they may be bad enough to shave at the profit margins. Enough so that Paramount number-crunchers may slide their glasses down to the bridge of their nose and go, “Hmmmmm…yeah.”