Step 1: To start a successful cult, you need a reason for the cult (hereon referred to as “cause”) to exist. Monetary gain is a good reason, but this needs to be veiled by reasons that will lure people in. Try, for example, citing made-up celestial beings or aliens. Messages received through direct contact with these beings are a good way to get people to believe in your cause. The messages come from a higher or more advanced power, are untraceable, and are relatively simple to create. Look at the Bible or any other major religious tract for examples. You need to make sure that the messages you say you received are equal parts tremendously hysterical nonsense and grounded notions of stereotypes and beliefs that your target audience believes in. The second part is key so that they do not write you off as another crazy person preaching from a soapbox (or, in this day and age, a weblog). This cause needs to offer possible converts something that their normal society does not offer them. An escape to somewhere is a good example, and used often. One other thing to consider is a name. It needs to be snappy, yet formal, really draw people in. A logo would help, too.
Step 2: Once you have a reason established, you will need a figurehead. This choice may seem easy—yourself—but think about the decision a little bit before finally determining the lord and savior (hereon L&S) of your operation. The first thing to think about is, what do you want the public to envision when they see your cause? If you want them to believe in a higher power, then you will need an artist’s interpretation. Find an artist that won’t ask too many questions, or, if you are skilled in Photoshop, use that. Use a picture of yourself and morph it so that, while it may not look like you at first glance, the more people stare, the more they will believe that you—the ordained speaker of this being—shares a similarity to the higher power. It will affect them on the subconscious. If you want a more concrete L&S, you will need a really good friend. It helps if they have long, stringy hair. A beard is a plus. This person will need to be willing to dress in an odd assortment of clothes predetermined by you. While this may seem fun remember, they are your L&S and they can turn on you if you cheat them. The L&S must also be comfortable walk about preaching the words you make up. This leads quite conveniently into the next step.
Step 3: Create a sacred text. You can also go one of two ways with this step. You can create one almighty sacred text that only the L&S is allowed to see and speak from. If you choose this, you are allowed a little more freedom in what is actually contained in the concrete text. You can design a book, have it bound, and put nothing in it—if you trust your L&S enough. This way, you do not have to come up with an entire sacred text at once. You can develop and tweak it over time in order to respond to your following’s needs and wants. If you are quick on your feet, this is probably the best way to go, as it will allow you to coax more belief in your cause quicker if the converts feel they are being spoken directly to. Having only one sacred text that followers are unable to handle also adds a little bit to the aura surrounding your cause. It gives everything a mystical feel—the converts do not know what is coming next and will keep coming back, hoping for more good news to guide them in their lives. Your other option is to create a sacred text that is disseminated throughout your target audience. With something concrete to hold fast to, converts may flock to you, once they realize the insight you have into life, granted to you by the aforementioned fictional higher power. The problem with this form of sacred text is that it must be completed at once. Yes, your L&S may be able to extrapolate on principles in homilies, but the text is set in stone. If you go back and edit your sacred text, weakness may (and probably will) be detected. You need to be able to draw your followers into a point of no return. This will lessen your chances of having a mass exodus away from your cause at any time. One thing you might also want to consider is using multiple media for your dissemination of knowledge. The Internet is a powerful entity, these days, and it could prove useful in the initial stages of you cause creation campaign.
Step 4: It has always been important to own land, and creating a cause is no different. In order to create a place to escape to, and where people cannot escape from, you need to find a large tract of land. This land can be anywhere, really, as long as you are willing to work with your environment in order to create the ultimate paradisiacal compound (or at least a compound that gives the illusion that it is everything a follower needs). It needs to be able to comfortably house as many people as you think your cause will have, as well as all buildings necessary to daily life: medical center, volunteer fire department, school, place of worship, town hall and food supply building or mess hall. Any other buildings, such as post offices, police departments, department stores, libraries, bars or shops that sell such frivolities as flowers or toys are not needed. I will discuss why in a moment. Before the buildings are constructed, though, it is absolutely necessary that you find and are able to maintain reliable a reliable source of power and water, but not Internet. You do not want any connection to the outside world. A large, impermeable-without-any-sort-of-concerted-effort fence will help you greatly in this endeavor. Barbed wire is also a plus. If you make sure your land is large enough that the fence is place far from view, except perhaps for the entrance gates (in order for the community to greet new converts to the cause), then your community will have a sense of freedom even if they are locked in for any given amount of time that they do not necessarily know. If they are brainwashed enough, they will not care that they are there indefinitely. Also, you will not need establishments such as police departments because of the rules of conduct you will set up once your cause has gained a large enough following to necessitate the move to your compound. As you have probably noticed, these steps are very interlocked, and it is no difference with this next step.
Step 5: People may wonder why there is no police department or other related necessities, unless you have created an effective protocol for daily living. Since there will be many in the community, a bond will be necessary. A good way to begin this is to make every member give all of his or her earthly possessions to the cause upon entering. This will help pay for the purchase of the land mentioned in step four. This is a tactic utilized by many cults and is quite successful in terms of monetary gain for those in charge, just as long as it is not perceived as monetary gain for the leader by the followers, this would ruin your cause and you will end up murdered in bed or, at the very least, in jail for a very, very long time. You need to assure your followers that everything will be provided for them upon entering. This means securing enough couches, beds, tables, chairs, mirrors, toilets, showers, bathtubs, and other household essentials for every follower. While not the target audience, children will also need toys to play with. Make sure each child has one or two toys. They shouldn’t be too stimulating or allow them to think too openly about the world. Computers, video games or anything that may have the ability to contact the outside world are not recommended. You need the children who are raised within the compound to believe that is their only world. All of the books they will read will be located within the school building and will be pre-determined by you. Again, try and find texts that do not go against what your beliefs are or texts that will allow for much thinking outside the box, as the term goes. This is fairly easy with very young children’s books, but will prove a little more difficult with books for older children and teens. As for a police force, this is where a sense of community is again built up and sustained. By creating a community watch, everyone takes part in the policing of crime, which, as creator of your cause, you abhor and see to it that everyone else in the community does, too. By working together, people will create bonds within the community, reinforcing the lack of need to leave the compound. Another area that will help establish a sense of community is in the field of food production. If you choose an area that is suitable for growing any sort of food whatsoever, do so. Even if it is not a staple food, grow it so that you can harvest and then sell portions of it to other places around your compound. It is important only you leave the compound to do this business. You do not want to allow your followers a chance to escape; this would not be good for the cause.
Step 6: This is the final step in creating a cause and, some may argue, the most important. You need to have an end point. When you have people convert to your cause, they will want a guarantee of something, anything really. For example, tell them that at a given date and time the supreme being will take every follower to his home planet (in the case of aliens) and bestow upon them a life of ultimate hedonism. This promise of a bacchanalian life makes the sacrifices of living in the compound worthwhile. Followers will look forward to meeting their supreme being. The problem with this final point is that, when the predestined date arrives, people will be disappointed if nothing happens. One way to circumvent this problem is to escape. With your money and earthly treasures, escape to an island or other sufficiently-hidden place where you will never, ever be found. Change your name and appearance. Once people realize they have been duped, they will make it their life’s goal to commit as many treasonous acts unto you as humanly possible. The other, less painful option is to convince the followers that something ingestible is needed in order to finally commune with the greater spirit. Saying that a trance or being asleep is a convenient way to do this. If they are true followers, they will not question you and take whatever you tell them, too. Kool-aid has been used, but why follow trends, especially when this is your cause. Why not try something that, in history books later on, the cause will be remembered for. Try lacing banana bread with something. Committing a mass murder like this will be tricky, but having a patsy is a great way around this. Here you see another benefit to not being the public head of the cause. You will be blamed for everything, making living after the cause is over very tough. People don’t tend to look too kindly on mass murderers, especially those that did it just for monetary gains. Riotous mobs don’t generally give thought to the idea that it is not your fault you gained so many followers, that so many people were disillusioned with life as they knew it to the point that they were willing to give up everything they had in order to start a whole new life. They simply know you did something wrong and want your blood for doing it. If you have a patsy, though, you can easily be free and clear. An effective way to establish a patsy is to make sure that no one really knows whom the head is. This is a little tough, if you have a very public figurehead, but if you manage to keep enough about your cause under wraps, then this will become much easier. While everyone is in the compound, select a scapegoat. Obviously, do no tell them, it will ruin everything. Up until the cause has run its course, you need to create an assortment of documents that all point to the selected person being in charge. This may be difficult, and you need to make enough of these and spread them around the compound so that they are easily found, but in the end it will be worth it. As long as there are no rolls on file and you seem to be just another member of the cause, you can slip away unseen, pocketing everything. When the police get wind of the mass suicide, they will see the “beloved leader” dead with the others, just another member of a lost cause.
I first saw these guys on new years at a thursday show one year. this was right around when they were getting a ton of hype. I liked their cover of american girl, but i wasn't really into them all that much, i didn't see what was so great about them. then i sat on their music. and listened. and listened. and racked up the plays on my ipod on my 2200mile cross country trip. now, i love them. the voice isn't typical of a scene and the lyrics are strong, they mean something to me.
i would put my money on these guys saving the scene, if that's at all possible.
and this isn't just cause theyre from jersey, too.
He's not mentioned in this article, but I feel it is only a matter of time before someone, somewhere tries to blame Manson for this one, just like they did with Columbine. I do not listen to his music personally, but I know he is an incredibly intelligent and upstanding person. If you don't get that everything he does is a way to make money, you're dumb. If you also haven't read his response to people blaming him for Columbine, read it, it is a very awesome piece of writing (unlike that phrase right there).
You know who we should blame instead of Manson, who actually could contribute something decent to society if he so decided? ICP. The Insane Clown Posse. They should be flogged. Aside from making peoples' ears bleed with their chosen profession and a failed career as WCW wrestlers, they promote the same crap that made the wires cross in this kid's head that told him this would be A-Okay.
Aside from being an a) badass song, it is also b) a badass video.
and finally, you gotta love the addition of furries to the video. If you do not know what furries are, go look them up. No, they did not just get a bunch of people in animal costumes, there's a whole lifestyle that furries engage in. Enjoi.
i met a girl who kept tattoos for homes
that she had loved
if i were her i'd paint my body
until all my skin was gone
So, if you're a follower of this here piece 'o internet space, then you know that recently I moved to Montana to pursue a graduate degree in cultural anthropology at the University of Montana. This, aside from the whole engaging in the furthering of my education, it also entailed a move 2300 miles across the country. I moved into a house on 3 acres of land with two guys who, for all intents and purposes are awesome, but this isn't about them. Moving into a house involves move into a new room. After being in the same apartment for three years, this is a total change. The walls are white. The closets are white. The ceiling is white. White white white. Bare. It would evoke pure winter snow, if it were't for the holes from the previous tenant's nails, her tape stains, her life.
This is where, fun little readers of mine, come in. See, I like postcards. I don't necessarily collect them, but I like getting them. I like the pictures that people pick out--it says something about not only themselves but what they think of me. And the words. i love reading the words. There is something about postcard notes that freezes time in an okay state. How often does one actually get a bad postcard? Mostly they're neutral, but still, the words are fun.
So, considering I like getting postcards and I have blank walls (who's already caught on?)
I'd like you, readers out there, to send me postcards.
It can be of anything and you can write anything on it. Funny things earn bonus points in my book. The more creative, the better.
This isn't postsecret though. i don't want to know your dirty secrets. Unless i do, if its hot.
Anyway, if you wanna send me one, drop a comment or leave me a message or anything and I'll give you my address and start looking forward to getting my postcard.
If i start getting alot, I will start doing something creative. I'd say donate to charity, but I have nothing to donate. Maybe start writing to...I don't know. Ideas are welcome. Thanks.
Twenty-three hours after buying the book, I was done reading it. Crazy For The Storm, a memoir about not only surviving a plane crash but about the intense bond between a father and son, and aside from being my favorite books of the summer, has been voted to many must-read lists and best book lists in the short time it has been in publication. It has reached great heights on both the LA Times and New York Times bestseller lists. Author Norman Ollestad recently answered a few questions via phone for us here at AbsolutePunk.
Sam: Since the story is undeniably in need of being told, what made you want to start writing it down?
Norman: I have a son and when he turned four I began doing the same things with him that my father did with me, those XX passions of surfing and skiing and that’s when I started realizing that there was something unique and worth sharing about my relationship with my father and the adventures I had with him.
S: So it started out not necessarily about the crash, but about your relationship with your father?
N: Yeah, I had and still have no desire to write a “how I survived an airplane crash” story. It was really to share this unique story and the life lessons of my father and there was no way to not talk about the crash because that’s where all the things that we did together and all of the things he taught me came to fruition.
S: Did you write the two sections of your memoir [plane crash/ life lessons] separately?
N: Well I wrote it in chronological order. My initial drafts of the book were beginning with all the adventures and the second half was the airplane crash and survival with a little tag at the end about the aftermath. Then in the eleventh hour I felt that it didn’t really reflect the experience which was kind of all happening at once so I experimented with inner cutting. And it worked.
S: Now that the book is getting all of these recommendations and accomplishments, do you think your book will have any sort of impact on the sports industry since it is a lot about surfing and skiing?
N: No, I feel like it is just from my fan page and Facebook and people that write into my website and just from interviews and radio I feel like the biggest impact is that it’s been allowing people—inspiring people—to reflect on their own lives and their own childhoods and their own relationships with their mothers and fathers and if they have kids then their relationship with their kids. It starts making them think about their life in general. That’s what I’ve noticed, its not just a specific sport but just sort of this “how did I grow up?” It seems to inspire them to reflect on how they grew up and what they learned and what they may be able to teach their kids.
S: Speaking of kids, is your son going through what you went through—not really wanting to surf—or has he grown up differently?
N: Well I’ve been much easier on him. My strategy is just to keep offering. On his own he sort of got seduced. He’s on the Mammoth ski team and can’t wait to go up on Friday afternoon and ski the weekend. And he’ll come out on a storm with me every once in a while. He’s kind of excited about that. And finally now this summer he’s taken to surfing. We just got back from Hawaii and he’s totally into it. Now he’s nine and I’ve been just softer about it. I still have my passion and my desire for him to get involved but I haven’t been as forceful as my father was. It’s taken more time but it’s been on his time, which I like. I’m sure he likes it, too.
S: I’m sure he does. So are you working on any other projects right now?
N: I’m doing some pieces for some magazines and my father wrote a book about the FBI, which I may or may not possibly develop into a Mad Men-type TV thing. And then foremost hopefully in the late fall/early winter I’ll begin the next book which is about the second part of my life from adolescence to manhood and ski bumming in Europe and traveling and trying to figure out who the hell I am and what the hell I want and write my own story—that whole adventure.
S: Do you have a soundtrack that you listen to before you go surfing or skiing to pump you up?
N: I like a lot of different kinds of music. I don’t always go for the pump up. I go more for the quieting of my mind before I surf or ski. Van Morrison, a little Thelonious Monk, that kind of thing. So yeah, I don’t really do the big pump up. If I wanted—I’m a little old school—maybe some Nirvana.
S: Do you recommend anything people should read right now? What are you reading?
N: I’m reading so many things at once. I really like Jumpha Lahiri’s collection of short stories called Unaccustomed to Earth. I thought it was really good stuff and The Road by Cormac McCarthy. Those are my favorite pieces right now.
S: My final question I ask of every write I get to talk to is if you could punch any other writer in the face who would it be and why?
N: (Laughs). There have been times that I’ve thought of that. Probably Salman Rushdie. Because he’s so talented but he’s such a masterbater. Somebody needs to punch him and tell him to write the damn story.
I have been in Montana for a week. Some call it Montucky. I am going to guess it is because it is still sorta country-ish out here. It seems like one of those things that I should just know. Whatever. I'll take it. Someone from out here will probably read this and then comment on it anyway. problem solved.
it has been a week, that's for sure. a collection of odd experiences and new friends and good times that are making it a better time of being here then i originally thought i would be having, what with the whole grad school thing and all. i'll write more in depth later. rigth now, i am watching the deer on my front lawn. also, i will post pics.
Second also, soon I will be interviewing the writer Norman Ollestad, who for all intents and purposes is the coolest guy on this planet. Right now his book Crazy For the Storm is #7 on the NYT bestseller list. It is fucking phenomenal. its about life death and surfing. Check it out or if you have any awesome questions leave them for me. Thanks homeslices and bacon bits.
"Hot-blooded chick seeks ice-cold, muscle-bound nordic athlete. Political persuasion is not an issue.
Must have stamina. Must be educated - soviet university a plus. Must be ok with scantilly clad, shameless feminism.
Cave-men need not apply. "