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Cultish: The Language of Fanaticism por…
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Cultish: The Language of Fanaticism (edição 2021)

por Amanda Montell (Autor)

MembrosCríticasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
1,0533019,846 (3.8)32
Language Arts. Sociology. Nonfiction. HTML:

The author of the widely praised Wordslut analyzes the social science of cult influence: how cultish groups from Jonestown and Scientology to SoulCycle and social media gurus use language as the ultimate form of power.
What makes "cults" so intriguing and frightening? What makes them powerful? The reason why so many of us binge Manson documentaries by the dozen and fall down rabbit holes researching suburban moms gone QAnon is because we're looking for a satisfying explanation for what causes people to joinand more importantly, stay inextreme groups. We secretly want to know: could it happen to me? Amanda Montell's argument is that, on some level, it already has . . .

Our culture tends to provide pretty flimsy answers to questions of cult influence, mostly having to do with vague talk of "brainwashing." But the true answer has nothing to do with freaky mind-control wizardry or Kool-Aid. In Cultish, Montell argues that the key to manufacturing intense ideology, community, and us/them attitudes all comes down to language. In both positive ways and shadowy ones, cultish language is something we hearand are influenced byevery single day.

Through juicy storytelling and cutting original research, Montell exposes the verbal elements that make a wide spectrum of communities "cultish," revealing how they affect followers of groups as notorious as Heaven's Gate, but also how they pervade our modern start-ups, Peloton leaderboards, and Instagram feeds. Incisive and darkly funny, this enrapturing take on the curious social science of power and belief will make you hear the fanatical language of "cultish" everywhere.

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… (mais)
Membro:hkbabel
Título:Cultish: The Language of Fanaticism
Autores:Amanda Montell (Autor)
Informação:Harper (2021), 320 pages
Coleções:A sua biblioteca
Avaliação:****
Etiquetas:Nenhum(a)

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Cultish: The Language of Fanaticism por Amanda Montell

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Had a good time reading this, although I agree with other reviewers that it wasn't exactly what I was expecting. When I think "cult" my mind generally goes to Jonestown, Waco, or Manson. This book discusses some of that, but I'd say it's theme was more about identifying cult language used in the every day and how businesses use it to gain and retain employees. Learning about "thought ending cliches" was interesting. ( )
  yeffin | Jul 13, 2024 |
The title of the book Cultish is offered as a parallel formation to English and Spanish; author Amanda Montell uses it as a name for the language of insular, high-demand socialization. The book would have benefited if she had leaned more heavily on this idea as an organizing principle and treated as her topics the distinctive rhetorical forms of Cultish. As it is, the text has chapters built around a typology of cults: suicide cults, abusive new religions, multilevel marketing outfits, fitness cults, and social media "conspiritualism."

The book is chatty and contains wealth of anecdote, much of it gathered via interviews for the book, some from the author herself and her own family. The social connections repeatedly impressed me with my own decrepit curmugeonliness in noticing how young Montell is. She repeatedly draws on friends from her teen years, which are not so far behind her. She never quite convinced me that she had earned the tone of authority she frequently adopts for declarative statements. In particular, she undermined her case with some casual errors. For example, she calls the Unification Church as a "70s-era religious movement" (85-6), although it started in the 1950s and continues to have significant membership, financial resources, and political influence today.

When Montell writes that she "can think of just one woman" (Teal Swan) popularly identified as the leader of an abusive cult (90), she overlooks Amy Carlson, whose Love Has Won group had a boost in notoriety upon the discovery of her corpse in 2021. Later in the book, Montell herself even mentions another case in J. Z. Knight of Ramtha fame (267, footnote). Where she does her homework and cites sources, she has a tendency to turn to researchers and writers whose work I have appreciated in the past, notably Tanya Lurhmann and Tara Isabella Burton.

The fact that I read Cultish is due in no small measure to how effectively it caught my eye in a book shop. The physical design for the jacket and the interior layout and design are really commendable. They sent me to the biblio page to learn the name Bonni Leon-Berman. At the same time, I wonder if this fact should mitigate the rhetorical reductionism that seems to be the book's thesis--the idea that cult influence is always and only a matter of linguistic effects. At one point, Montell offers a cultural genealogy of the "quotegram" that traces it to Reformation aniconism (278-9), a historical circumstance that attests to the fact that images have their own species of power.

As I was reading this book on June 4, 2024, Congressman Eric Swalwell (D-CA) rebuked the GOP members of an oversight committee for their servility to former President Trump, "My colleagues, none of this today that you are bringing makes sense--your inconsistencies, your hypocrisy, your sycophancy--unless you are in a cult. And guys, I'm starting to think you're in a cult." Montell calls out Trump's cultish pedigree: "prosperity" New Thought via Norman Vincent Peale (176) and Amway via DeVos funding (187). But she strangely failed to close the loop with Trump's overt embrace of Q-Anon tropes and mythemes in her chapter on online conspirituality. Maybe she thought that was too obvious and best left as an exercise for the reader.

Some of Montell's valuable observations regard the cultishness of very secular, commercial activity. She remarks the Cultish she herself encountered in professional cliques (136), and her quick gloss of Jeff Bezos' ideal of "how Amazonians should think" is rather chilling (197-8). In the end, she expresses a healthy ambivalence about Cultish and the wide variety of groups that deploy it.
  paradoxosalpha | Jun 9, 2024 |
Really interesting. I liked the author’s tone and broad knowledge of cults with a multitude of examples. A well written book. Would recommend. ( )
  ReyKurp | May 29, 2024 |
I was fascinated by the author's analysis of the ways that language can be used to form a sense of community and exclusivity. The cults and "cultish" organizations she examines range from Jonestown and Heabe 's Gate to less innocuous examples such as SoulCycle and CrossFit.
How do these fit together in one book? They use language to lure and maintain a feeling of belonging...being part of something special with jargon that outsiders don't truly "get".
In the end, she writes, "it's important to maintain a vigilant twinkle in your eye.." an awareness that "there's some degree of metaphor and make - believe here....As long as you hang on to that, it's possible to engage with some cultish groups ".
Writing this book helped her develop compassion for those who have become enmeshed with a true cult.
Reading it has made me more aware of cultish language...from insider jargon, to code names, acronyms,mantras, and thought terminating cliches, it's all around us. ( )
  Chrissylou62 | Apr 11, 2024 |
Had it not been pointed out at the beginning and a few other times along the way, I would never have guessed this book was written by a linguist. There are hints that she was familiar with the topic or at least did some research—but it disappointingly is not the thrust of this book. For a linguist she does a remarkably poor job of defining her terms. Like a game of paddle ball where linguistics is the paddle and the narrative the ball, we always spring back to linguistics but never for long. Mostly the diversions are entertaining. Who doesn’t like hearing about the raucous misadventures of cults or the inside stories surrounding multi-level marketing or taking a moment to bash Trump for his manipulative mis-use of language, but none of that was what I was hoping for. I’ve disliked Trump for over 40 years, that being said, it was probably okay to bring him up once and drop it—he is certainly not the first or only politician/game show host to employ such tactics. Bringing Trump back multiple times highlights the personal and playful nature of the book that makes for leisurely reading but not an informative one. At least, not informative in the way I wanted. The author maintains a contemplative distance for most of the book which dramatically falls apart during the last portion dealing with exercise and healing. A long segment comes across as an informercial for SOULCYCLE. It may just be that the writing got lazy, failing to add qualifiers like “trying to give the appearance of” or “wanting it’s followers to believe” instead making it sound like they were doing God’s work. In fact, I was floored when she extrapolated from one source that the decline in followers of organized religion was due to the rise in cult like commercial work out programs. I do have to thank her for inspiring me to use the word “preposterous” which I don’t think I ever have—but that claim is preposterous. In this segment the string on her paddleball breaks as she rarely talks about the use of language in any meaningful way. If you love language like I do, look somewhere else. If you want to drift pleasantly through the topic, then you have found a place to hang out. If you are already feeling like you’ve had enough before the final section—maybe go for a walk instead. ( )
  KurtWombat | Feb 7, 2024 |
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Montell, Amandaautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Gidean, Ann MarieNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
González Torres, LidiaTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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Language Arts. Sociology. Nonfiction. HTML:

The author of the widely praised Wordslut analyzes the social science of cult influence: how cultish groups from Jonestown and Scientology to SoulCycle and social media gurus use language as the ultimate form of power.
What makes "cults" so intriguing and frightening? What makes them powerful? The reason why so many of us binge Manson documentaries by the dozen and fall down rabbit holes researching suburban moms gone QAnon is because we're looking for a satisfying explanation for what causes people to joinand more importantly, stay inextreme groups. We secretly want to know: could it happen to me? Amanda Montell's argument is that, on some level, it already has . . .

Our culture tends to provide pretty flimsy answers to questions of cult influence, mostly having to do with vague talk of "brainwashing." But the true answer has nothing to do with freaky mind-control wizardry or Kool-Aid. In Cultish, Montell argues that the key to manufacturing intense ideology, community, and us/them attitudes all comes down to language. In both positive ways and shadowy ones, cultish language is something we hearand are influenced byevery single day.

Through juicy storytelling and cutting original research, Montell exposes the verbal elements that make a wide spectrum of communities "cultish," revealing how they affect followers of groups as notorious as Heaven's Gate, but also how they pervade our modern start-ups, Peloton leaderboards, and Instagram feeds. Incisive and darkly funny, this enrapturing take on the curious social science of power and belief will make you hear the fanatical language of "cultish" everywhere.

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