Cult of we
Because I write so rarely for the paper anymore, I try especially hard to have as much fun with it as I possibly can. I find particular enjoyment in getting a rise out of readers. Whether mocking a certain “gold medal prospect” or calling the Premier of Saskatchewan an entitled little shit, I must say that I’ve had a blast over the years.
In my seemingly never-ending quest to try to top myself, I thought I might try something daring, like chronicle my experience to start my own religion. However, in studying how I would go about doing that, I came across something even more curious. Put down your ceremonial film reels, my children of a lesser god: Bastardism will be a thing soon, just not this week.
Although it had already entered the lexicon by this time, the term, “Cult of Personality” as we know it today was coined—ironically enough—by Karl Marx. Since the year 1877, the term has come to refer to any, usually political, charismatic authority. The obvious examples are of Joseph Stalin in Russia and Adolph Hitler in Germany. Those aren’t the examples I’m here to talk about, though.
Do me a solid, will you? The next time you’re at an Apple Store, tell someone, anyone, that you don’t like the Beatles. Gauge what kind of a reaction you get. I’ve gotten somewhere between contemptuous stare and murderous condemnation. Only once have I ever found someone who said, “You know what? Me neither.” Try another one—engage an American historian or political science major, and try to criticize John F. Kennedy. I’m willing to bet that you’ll get some shit slung your way.
See, the Cult of Personality doesn’t just apply to totalitarian dictators looking to mobilize a nation. It also applies to the people that we unnecessarily put on a pedestal here. What’s worse is that not only has this movement grown in popularity, but we now apply it to anybody and everybody who captures the collective’s attention for more than seven seconds. More often than not, these cult celebrities have no real talent to speak of, and have nothing meaningful to contribute, and yet, are raised above the rest of us because of reasons.
I’m not saying that some people aren’t deserving of praise and attention, but there gets to be a point—I’d say right around the time someone is tattooing the Twilight cast on their shoulders and parents are dressing their kids up as the cast of Jersey Shore for Halloween—that these practices need to end. There is a distinct difference between respecting someone for their achievements and fetishizing morons. Tragically, the latter has become more and more prevalent which devalues the legitimate formers in that scenario.
Maybe I’m wrong when I call the premier an entitled little shit. Maybe I’m wrong when I taunt the McMorris brothers. But to all the Gormleys and Petes of the world, I say: maybe you’re just as wrong as I am for coming so swiftly and vengefully to their defenses.