“Neon lights, a Nobel prize. The mirror speaks, the reflection lies. You don’t have to follow me. Only you can set me free. I sell the things you need to be. I’m the smiling face on your t.v. I’m the cult of personality. I exploit, you still love me.” ~Living Colour 1989
Cults get a bad rap. Just because of a few bad apples (I’m talking to you Mr. Jones and Mr. Koresh) the word cult has a negative connotation. Dictionary.com defines a cult as “an instance of great veneration of a person, ideal, or thing, especially as manifested by a body of admirers.” Yeah, that’s right, I did some research. See? I’m not just making stuff up here. This blog is actually education. In fact if you read every post for the next 12 months I’m pretty sure you get college credit. Here’s another little tidbit for you: do you know who came up with the phrase “cult of personality”? Russian dictator Nikita Krushchev in 1956. I didn’t even know he was a member of Living Colour!
A lot of us have a knee jerk reaction to the word ‘cult’ but I maintain that regardless of the feelings that word causes, we are all members of cults. Whether it be a popular singer, t.v. show, product or Facebook, we all sign up for cults. Admittedly, my cult of choice is fantasy football. Yes, I’m one of those guys. But don’t mock me, I would bet my first round draft pick that you belong to a cult too, and maybe one even dorkier than fantasy football. And that’s the thing, we all see everyone else’s cult for what it is, but we never see our own. And yes, there are things dorkier than fantasy football. American Idol?!!? Are you freaking kidding me?
Yes, American Idol is a cult. How many people spend more time watching and thinking about American Idol than they spend on traditional religion? I think we ought to elect our next President American Idol style. Week by week eliminations until the winner is announced on live t.v. Why not? It would get more people involved in the political process if they could participate via television and cell phone. Romney and Obama would have no shot at beating out my obvious charm. And I would look really tall standing next to Ryan Seacrest.
How about Apple? Not the fruit, the technology company. The fruit needs a p.r. team, but the company may be the best cult going. Since the iPod was invented how many of us even consider an mp3 player made by anyone else? Seriously, what the hell is a Zune? Apple is such a good cult that I stopped in the middle of this to go download a song. (Fader by Temper Trap) Steven Jobs big calculator that he keeps on the table by his bed just went “cha-ching!” In fact, if not for iPods and iPads who would know who Steven Jobs was? (There you go Steve, I mentioned you and your products, now please send me an iTunes card)
And yes, I know fantasy football is a cult. But it’s a really good one! I swear there’s nothing bad about the time and money I spend on it. Sure, I’m adult and I spend more time studying for my fantasy draft every year than I did for the once in a lifetime S.A.T. or grad school entrance exams, but that’s healthy right? And the results speak for themselves. League champ two of the last three years. I wonder why employers don’t seem more impressed by that on my resume?
Facebook may be the biggest cult going. And have you noticed that cults whether religious or commercial seem to be started by, for lack of a better word, nerds? Whoever said, “The meek shall inherit the Earth” was obviously brilliant. He must have had a great cult.
If you enjoy my nonsense and want to join another cult you can subscribe to me on your Amazon Kindle (another cult I belong to) and follow me on Twitter @ThePhilFactor. See you at the intervention!