Everyone has a hobby. Maybe yours is cycling or bingeing Suits purely for Meghan Markle or knitting (is that even a thing anymore after the mid-2000s boom?).
Mine is researching cults.
From Buddhafield to Jonestown, The Prophet Jeff Warrens to my all-time personal favorite, Scientology, I am a little bit obsessed. I think it boils down to an innate fear that I would most certainly be susceptible to a cult. I just love group aesthetics; if you give me a 70s cream-colored floor-length gown and a flower crown, I would most definitely jump in the back of your van.
Yes, cults are devastating and unfunny and tragic, BUT there is a weird amount of Cult Lites™ in modern American culture. Like with the no-joke Beyoncé church, or aggressive fandoms, or the groupthink that led to society allowing Pitbull to be famous.
After extensive research, I believe that these would be the Cult Lites™ I’d be most susceptible to:
1. A real-life compound cosplaying the Regency Era à la “Austenland” (the trashiest movie made with deadass seriousness). Before I know it, I’ve blown my life savings to take on my new identity as Fanny Crawford, the spinster sister from a good family who never knew love. I commit to it night and day; I slowly lose my American accent and charming slang, like the term “deadass”. I allow myself to suffer a slow death from a “delicate sensibility”.
2. What starts out as a “Sip and Paint” slowly becomes a group of middle-aged women huffing paint fumes with massive mason jar wine glasses that say things like “It’s Wine O’Clock” and “Rosé Slay All Day” clutched in both hands. We lose control of our assets as we must purchase more and more classes to make bad replicas of Van Gogh ((but I eventually get kicked out of the group because I corrected the pronunciation of Gogh)).
3. A support community for individuals who had a shameful sexual awakening spurred from the character “Viper” from Full House but then it turns out that the group was run by Viper the whole time because look at him, it totally looks like something he’d do
4. A cult run by Greta Gerwig. She’s just so charismatic.
5. Children of ABBA, a “family” who lives in the wilderness, only communicating in ABBA music lyrics and approved Mamma Mia! soundtracks. We exclusively wear bell bottoms and any mention of Pierce Brosnan will get you ex-communicated.
6. Whatever the heck the matriarchal dystopian cult from “The Wicker Man” is (2006 Nicolas Cage remake obviously). Obviously I’d be really concerned about the fertility rites but all about that pouring bees onto intruding mens’ heads, duh. Release Your Inner Queen Bee would definitely be the millennial rebrand of this lady-power group.
7. Celestial Bodies, a cult for people who say that they aren’t really into horoscopes but we all eagerly read every single “What Your Sign Says About Your Relationship with Your Mother” and “Uh-Oh Capricorns, Here’s Why You’re a Piece of Shit”, hidden away in our closets, like musty horoscope-reading trolls. We’re all filled with self-loathing but maybe that’s because Saturn’s in retrograde? Quick, what does Bustle say about it? Wait you didn’t like that answer? Check LennyLetter!
So what’s your ideal cult? What’s your opinion on this weirdly light-hearted cult piece? Will you join my Magpie cult? Comment below!