Let me ask you a purely academic question: Hello?
— Dean Blehert

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Trust the Deserters; Victims are Always Dependable

The boyish, sincere network interviewer sympathetically invites horror stories from a living room full of victims of the CULT-Of-The-Week Club. Then, to be FAIR, he questions one of the CULT leaders, who denies it (we are given 20 seconds of his 30-minute statement), but official suited and neck-tied blandness can't compete with teary-eyed women telling how they were DRIVEN to slash their wrists and feel just terribly GUILTY -- and then, to be even more FAIR, a svelte newslady reads letters from obviously unsvelte people who claim to be HAPPY with the CULT, choosing only passages that are abstract and kind of JESUS-IS-WITH-ME-NOW-AND-ALL-IS-WELL, as moving as "Have A Nice Day" from a Happy Face.

They don't fill a living room with the letter writers and let them talk to us. Happy cult members are only shown in too-enthusiastic crowds, not in living rooms or one by one.

But we have to believe those who've LEFT. After all, they were there. They know. "It's a cult! They brainwashed me! They took away my money, my self! They ganged up on me! They all do whatever they're told!" (An army of fanatics prepares even now to snatch YOUR loved ones...).

Easy to believe them: They MUST be victims; who ever heard of a victimizer criticizing a victim? Why would murderer hate murdered? Why would swindler despise dupe? Why would a husband who beats his wife call her a tramp? Why would the guy who joined up and claimed to be one of the guys, then took off with the silverware and an emptied bank account or two want to put down the group he deserted? Why would a crooked politician accuse his enemies of being corrupt? (Are newspeople ever corrupt?)

Why would the meanest kids whine loudest about their parents' meanness? That would be crazy (and yet, who are the loudest whiners?), whereas these are just nice people who claim to have given their lives -- by mistake (whoopsie!) -- to a crazy CULT, then come to their ravaged senses.

We believe because they tell us that something we don't understand and don't want to understand, something whose truths don't wear their hair the way our truths do, is evil, insane -- meaning: Don't worry, there's nothing there to be understood, no threat to the certainties upon which depend our after-all-reasonably-satisfactory lives....

1 comment:

Pam said...

"our after-all-reasonably-satisfactory lives...."

What a great ending. Yes, our "reasonably satisfactory lives" and under that calm exterior is the father dying of chirrosis (because he is in such despair that he's drinking himself to death), the bitchy 50ish woman (who wishes she could just find the right guy), the kids on ritalin for all the wrong reasons, the crooked politicions, CEOs, the wars...