Episode

9/20 The Fanatic Language Of Cults w/ Amanda Montell

September 20, 2021

Sam and Emma host Amanda Montell, linguist and host of the Sounds Like A Cult podcast, to discuss her recent book Cultish: The Language of Fanaticism, on the social role of cults, how it has changed, and the influence it has on our language today. They start off by looking at the discourse around cults, the vague label it takes in the media, and how that flimsy definition helped push Amanda towards exploring the cult-like elements of all types of social relationships. Montell dives into the problems in the typical view of cults and their members, exploring the relationship between cultural turbulence, faith, and the desire for easy solution through community that birthed both the ages of cults in the 20th century, and the more recent renaissance of cultish languages. Next, they cover the overlap between the protestant capitalist ethic and the spirit of cultish organizations, pushing individualism, ambition, self-improvement, and entrepreneurship, touching on the specific capitalization on the language of female independence, from the use of Tupperware in the 50s to today’s multi-level-marketing and holistic health schemes. Diving into the importance of language, Amanda, Sam, and Emma look at the influence it can have on how we think and how cultish language capitalizes on this, working to psychologically separate, gaslight, and discipline those involved, before they wrap up the interview looking at what this can teach us about our current political moment, with cult-like behavior coming to define elements of our discourse and the para-social relationships that are central to social media. Sam and Emma conclude the free half by discussing the US Military’s lackluster apology for one of countless civilian slaughters by the US drone program, and watch an Iraq Veteran attempt to hold GWB somewhat accountable for his wars.

And in the Fun Half: Sam and Emma chat with Mindy from Ohio about her personal experiences with cult-like coercion, Ronald Raygun discusses the relationships between religion, juice, and cults, and the crew talks about the continued failures with handling COVID, particularly when it comes to GA and Mississippi, as well as the governments’ responses. They also look at the recent abuses at the border with the influx of Haitian refugees, before talking reconciliation and the bipartisan bill, and Josh and the Psychedelic Quaker call in to chat vaccines, plus, your calls and IMs!

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Emma hosts human rights lawyer Katherine Todrys to discuss her recent book Black Snake: Standing Rock, the Dakota Access Pipeline, and Environmental Justice, on how far the fight against DAPL has come even as it’s faded into the background of the media cycles. Todrys first discusses how she ...