Photo by Luan Cabral on Unsplash

Between the Lularich sensation and the stories coming from film and entertainment employees about their dangerous and sometimes deadly working conditions, there's been a lot of chatter about "not-technically-a-cult-but-totally-a-cult" situations.

Reddit user "swiggityswoogey" asked:

What is a cult, but doesn't feel like a cult?

The responses are ... telling. Take a look, and then take some time to really think about what you read. Has this stuff impacted you?

Maybe someone you love?

Let's get into it.

The Drama

stage fright dance GIF by The Head And The Heart Giphy

"Drama club. The actors are one cult and the tech kids are a whole different, weirder cult that literally operates in the shadows." - dieinafirenazi

"The tech guys are the secret society that really runs the theater. The actors are just props with legs, and even the leads are just props with legs and lines." - bigmcstrongmuscle

"I did visual arts in university and our program shared the fine arts building with the theatre and theatre tech program. Yes. They're cult-like. And they're weird and annoying about it." - catby

"I never did tech in school, but got pulled into tech by my sister, who worked in community theater. When you are up at 3 a.m. breaking down a set after the play is done, you feel the culty." - Joninokc007

The Fandom

fans GIF by Billboard Music Awards Giphy

"Fandoms when they reach a certain level."

"I know of someone that YEARS later was still receiving harassment because they made the blasphemous mistake of disagreeing with a certain Supernatural shipping-pairing."

"We're talking criminal harassment leading to lost jobs, swatting, the works."

"And that's just an example, there are so many other fandoms that are as bad or worse. I mean cast and crew have been harassed, sometimes completely out of their homes, by obsessed fans in the past." - amalgamas

"I know Jared Padalecki's wife (who he met on the show when she played Ruby) had to stop coming to conventions because fans were literally horrible to her, like death-threat level." - orangestar17

"I was into the Marvel Cinematic Universe fandom for three years and it is 100% a cult."

"They don't even celebrate the source material anymore - it's more like a nonstop celebration of weird headcanons involving straight characters they reinterpret as gay. The people in these groups even refer to each other as family, myself included at one time."

"I eventually started ignoring the fandom and just watched the movies and the shows with my actual family. It's been one of the best decisions I've ever made regarding entertainment." - DastenHero

We're Not Family

Season 2 Cheers GIF by Pose FX Giphy

"Some workplaces. The ones that push the "we're all family here" attitude especially." - mikenyle

"Workplaces that push the 'we're family' attitude are doing it solely to create a sense of obligation to the company while stifling the idea of being fairly compensated, because you're just supposed to help out family without asking for anything in return."

"Nevermind that they'll drop you like a sack of bricks if it suits them, because they know the 'we're family' thing is just a ruse to get you to sacrifice yourself for them, for basically nothing." - remotetissuepaper

"Companies that are really like families never need to tell you, because it shows in how well you're treated."

"Kind of like with actual families, if they keep invoking 'family' they're probably abusing you." - Big-Goose3408

Cults Don't Feel Like Cults

Sarcastic Twitch GIF by Hyper RPG Giphy

"Honestly, cults don't feel like cults to those in them. Everything is set up to make it all feel normal. It works particularly well because cults prey upon those who are lonely and searching for a sense of belonging."

"Usually there's some religious aspect and some nebulous threat to fight against. It's designed to make people involved feel safe, like they're doing good, and like they'd be nothing without the cult."

"The cult at Jonestown, People's Temple, started as a church that was trying to help people of color in Indiana. It was primarily elderly people at the start of it all."

"People who were alone, people who wanted to do good. So they gave everything they had for the cause. As it grew, more varied people came into the picture, but it started as a church trying to help people - but with a predatory leader." - mycatwinky

Jeepers Creepers

dance party jeep GIF Giphy

"Jeepers. They're the Furries of the automotive world." - biggest____chungus

"Omg. This... The "Silly boys jeeps are for girls" stickers make me gag." - contactlenz

"This. My mom was finally able to get the jeep she's been wanting for 20 years and she got initiated one day."

"Some of it is pretty cute actually, someone put a rubber duck in the jeep and there's this whole jeep wave thing."

"But yeah, it's culty. There's an entire culture around this type of vehicle and soon they're doing an event where a giant rubber duck will be passed off to drivers and travel around the country." - Gamer-Logic

"I own a JKU and absolutely love it - It's very complimentary to my lifestyle."

"But HOLY SH*T I can't stand the majority of the Jeep community. I'm a member of the area's Facebook page and everyone is either holier than thou Jeep purist or posting about their new order of rubber ducks from Amazon."

"I really liked the Jeep because we had one when I was little and now I'm associated with these idiots." - lankyd*ck

"As a Jeep owner, I 100% agree."

"I use mine to go on nice country drives with my wife, and as a way to enjoy the countryside. Fellow Jeep owners act like I'm committing some sacrilege because I don't want to tear around in some muddy field, or try to drive up a rock." - EarhornJones

"I came here to say this. I have been a Jeep guy my whole life."

"First car I drove was my parent's Jeep Cherokee when I was 8 or 9ish. I have owned one pretty much my entire adult life BUT I'm not part of the Jeep culture everyone hates."

"First, I have a Cherokee (93 so still a "real" offroad capable Jeep but since it's not a Wrangler people don't care about it.)"

"Second, I don't have anything flashy on my Jeep and it's more of a sh*tbox than everyone in the new Wranglers, but I drive it and use it like a Jeep."

"Third, I can't stand the whole 'Its a Jeep, you gotta wave' crap or the 'ducking' Jeeps thing everyone does. My local Jeep groups on Facebook only seem to care about ducks and waves and light bars."

"That said, and like someone else already said, there are two different types of Jeep people."

"There's the mall crawler, light bars before lockers, parking on a curb because it's a Jeep, check out my angry eye grill Jeeps..."

"...and there's the rest of us that don't care how she looks as long as it will get down a trail or through the rocks like we want." - struhall

Moms Losing Money

melissa mccarthy the boss movie GIF Giphy

"I got tricked into going to an MLM meeting by a friend. Was supposed to be like a 'girls seminar.' I had actually just left a religious cult (ICOC) and it had the exact same vibe, except based around Amway."

"Closed but seemingly open & friendly, but aggressive, social circle. Motivational sounding, use of tons of buzzwords, hiding information, put in a lot of money for little gain."

"I had no idea how deep MLMs went to keep you locked in." - savwatson13

"Oh they absolutely feel like a cult, if you aren't buying into it."

"One of my best friends in high school grew up indoctrinated into Amway. I went with his family once to one of their big 'business meetings' or wtf exactly they call them just to hang out and get out of town."

"I already didn't buy into, and the 'meeting' is still one of the most bizarre experiences of my life."

"This huge auditorium with a stage had a couple hundred people seated. Popular (at the time) but completely irrelevant music was being blasted on speakers like I was at a damn concert, you had to yell over it."

"After a bunch of group singalongs, the leaders humble bragged about how good they have done recently and whatever fancy car one of them had bought with cash (ooooh /s) and how by following these 3 or 4 incredibly broad and vague steps, you too could be one the 5 people on stage instead of sitting in that crowd of hundreds."

"It felt like a reskinned Sunday service ramped up well beyond 11 and about as genuine as your average congressman." - WitchOfTheSword

"Watching the Amazon series on LuluRoe made me realize humans just really REALLY like being a part of a tribe, don't we?"

"It's engrained into our animal brains still. Herd animals through and through. Every convention looked just like a church, a comic con, a concert etc. We want to look up to someone and be someone to look up too."

"It's always good to be a part of something and a community, it makes us feel safe, but I guess the line is drawn when you start surrounding yourself with just that ONE tribe." - Davis1511

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Just Ride

30 Rock Fellow Kids GIF by PeacockTV Giphy

"My wife really wanted a Peleton and Covid plus no gym memberships led us down that road."

"The workouts are good but holy f*ck, 90% of the instructors absolutely feel like they are trying to get you to join a cult or MLM scheme or something, they just have that vibe. They just ooze insincerity, as if everything they say is scripted and written by some corporate algorithm to appeal to millenials."

"Or they throw in some weird dumb sh*t that feels like they skimmed through a buzzfeed article and tried to talk about it during the workout and you end up spending three minutes listening to some weird recap of the article in the middle of your workout."

"They always come off as a "Hello, fellow kids/millenials" moment."

"There was one instructor talking about how they were "such an 80's/90's kid" and goes on about "Does anyone else remember that movie with David Bowie with the pants and it was all weird? That was my FAVORITE movie. I have no idea what it's called but I watch it all the time it's my favorite ever."

"This is an actual example. They were talking about the Labyrinth, but apparently couldn't remember the title or literally anything about the movie, but it was 'their favorite movie ever' and they still managed to talk for a few minutes about it for no reason." - attrm

Yesterday's Weather

Deserve Black Woman GIF by Janet Jackson Giphy

"True crime enthusiasts, especially the ones who pay to go to live tapings of 2 people talking about their daily lives, and then casually talking about victims innocently murdered like it was talking about yesterday's weather."

"I used to be addicted to true crime stuff, but slowly have moved on." - Catlover2727

"I love true crime a lot and find it really interesting! I'm even majoring in Criminology! HOWEVER My aunt was murdered, pretty famously, by a serial killer."

"There's pods casts and videos about her, and let me tell you... as someone who's FAMILY are the ones being talked about, some of these people are downright disrespectful. It's important to remember that these victims were people, with families that loved them.""

"There's a couple of podcasts and true crime channels that are actually really good and respectful, but not as many as there should be." - uwuursowarm

Elon

Come On Wtf GIF by Saturday Night Live Giphy

"Tesla - how am I the first to add this?"

"Wait, maybe I've got this backwards though because they certainly do act cultish…" - Rockitrulz

"What do you mean, it's not a cult!"

"Elon Musk is going to revolutionize the world. Just ignore the lies, the government subsidies, his entrepreneurial history, and literally everything he says and does and things kind of look like they might be going okay!" - SeedersPhD

"These people literally want their currency to depend on what King Elon tweets." - the_leprechauns_anus

Employees Have Lives

falcon heavy rocket GIF by Product Hunt Giphy

"I turned down a job at Spacex making more money because every employee (6+) at Spacex I talked to told me they suggest working literally anywhere else and regret working there because of Elon musks insane mandatory work ethic."

"I work in software. 80 hours of work doesn't magically produce 80 hours of software. Everyone who isn't stupid as f*ck understands this. But yet that whole company pushes this mantra that you must work 80 hour weeks."

"Google does a cool 40 hours for most employees, and pretty much always did. My manager does "60" and much of it is availability for meetings with sitting on his @ss the rest of the time or gaming all day while he waits for his meetings."

"But somehow Spacex thinks that these billion dollar companies who treat their employees well and have a higher market cap are somehow dumb for letting people have lives" - MufugginChungus

"I interned there one summer and no joke, Elon sent a company-wide e-mail basically saying (in no uncertain terms) that 'if you're not working 80 hours a week, you're not working hard enough.'"

"All I needed to know that I never wanted a full-time position at that company." - Djent_Reznor1

Teaching

Canadian Comedy GIF by CBC Giphy

"Public Education in the United States."

"Teachers are encouraged to work well beyond their contract hours for extremely limited pay, come in when they are sick even during a pandemic and then fed toxic positivity about how much better they are making kids lives." - Mudgeon

Two Party Trouble

You Lose Key And Peele GIF Giphy

"To me the Democratic and Republican parties take on a lot of the same aspects."

"Those two storylines seem largely fictional to me; that one serves the interest of business, opposed to large government, and the other the common good, for all people, and social equality."

"Both focus on the interests of the same people, the very wealthy."

"Both set up a strong us-versus-them context, a sense of belonging for members, adding extra dislike for an opposing side to what is the minimum required to sustain a cult, the attachment part."

"Both emphasize some degree of accepting larger purpose and project, but it's a scam, the same scam ran by both."

"The wealthiest .1% might think that the Republicans really are "their guys," since they push transfer of wealth to the already wealthy a little further, but the country decaying under them isn't of benefit to them either, in the not-so-long run."

"Billionaires play games that they are also really losing." - john-bkk

Commission

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"Commission based insurance sales."

"Took a job at American Income Life, worked for 2 weeks basically shadowing. Each Thursday they had this bragging session at the beginning of the day."

"The senior I was following didn't earn a penny, wasted gas, food money, kept telling me how he was 'taking control of your own schedule and don't have to learn new things like those techy guys' and how it's so great."

"Now I'm a 'techy guy' earning 3 times more than him." - overpaidengineer

Sports

Big Bang Theory Team GIF Giphy

"Cults are loosely defined as a group of people that are dedicated to a singular set of beliefs, purpose, and/or goals, and commonly have a common interest in a particular person or object."

"To that end, essentially every major sporting team is a cult."

"A bunch of cultists (players) who are passionately following their cult leader (coach) in a singular goal (winning their sports championship)."

"In many of the lower levels, like High School and College sports, you'll still see individual personalities and lack of unity. The High School player who enjoys the game, but doesn't take it seriously. The College player who honestly doesn't care if his team wins or loses, and it just trying to impress scouts as an individual so that he can go pro."

"But by the point you reach the top level, it's basically full-cult mode."

"This sportsball game will take over the player's life and dominate basically everything they do. The cult becomes their identity so much so that they frequently lose individuality and become simply a part of the team." - Goal-Express

Disney

Happy Snow White GIF by Disney Giphy

"I had an older co-worker who I hated working with. She would NOT stop talking about the last Disney trip, the next planned Disney trip, her daughter's obsession with Disney, her own obsession with Disney, movies, musicals, etc."

"It didn't end. Her phone case and all of her jewelry were all some mickey mouse variation. I just don't understand."

"Absolutely nothing is wrong with liking Disney, feeling nostalgic about it, visiting the parks, etc. However, this woman ONLY talked about Disney related things."

"People need some variation." - censorkip

The Rock Shop

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"Crystals for 'healing' absolutely."

"Few years ago I found myself in a bit of a tourist trap rock shop. Now, I love me a good rock, always have, I don't judge when people pick up a random stone and are like 'oh man, this looks cool' I get it."

"So I'm snooping around, giving the side eye to this 7' tall amethyst geode trying to figure out if my girlfriend would notice me packing it in the trunk when this woman turns to her husband and says:"

" 'Oh! I think I need a few more crystals for my back, it's been hurting something fierce lately and I don't think the ones I have are cutting it anymore.' "

"Sure enough, woman buys a glob of quartz about the size of a normal human brain and walks out the door talking about how her back feels better already."

"Amazing." - Drix22

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