Pretending know too much about this given subject could certainly land me imprisoned with a pack of kool-aid tattooed to my bicep, so we’ll just call this an exploratory list of ways in which to possibly garner a counter-pop-culture crowd (conveniently loyal enough to contemplate drinking the kool-aid for you).
Step One: Choosing an Endeavor
Definition of Endeavor: A conscientious or concerted effort toward an end; an earnest attempt.
This means its your moment to choose a cause. Never had one? No problem. The world is full of ‘em. In fact, your own self may become your entire endeavor, just as any musicians, public personalities, political moguls and reality T.V stars shows us. However, all of these specimens also have a ’cause,’ (whether it’s legitimate or not) that allows them to parade around the publicly claiming the privilege to preach to the people.
Choosing an endeavor can be something as wholesome as green living or as controversial as legalizing prostitution. In all honesty, the controversial choice, when crafted wisely, always gets more attention.
Step Two: Magnetizing an Audience
If you’re not the most naturally charismatic dude, this step will require some work for you. You’ll need to get comfortable with putting your views shamelessly on the line. No one follows an insecure cult leader. In order to draw a following, you’ve got to convince them of your worthwhile endeavor, remember? This may mean learning to convince yourself first, because, ultimately, it’s essential to have an addictive personality. You can pass out all the pamphlets and flyers your little heart desires, but, as Mr. Marlon Brando said, "If you want something from an audience, give blood to their fantasies." You, my friend, are this flesh and blood.
Helpful Tip: Learn by Example
Let’s take a couple examples of people who have successfully started their own kind of cults.
First, we have Tom Waits. Here’s a man who has never seen the light of pop charts, attended the grammy’s or wound up on the cover of Vogue. This is because the man is cult-worthy and, therefore, semi-feared by the main stream. His music is bizarre and controversial, but moreover, it’s his persona people attach themselves to. With his crumpled hats, raised eyebrows, dark suits and marijuana use, this man has married his musical endeavor with his ‘public’ personality and, therefore, founded a cult.
Next, we have someone ridiculously opposite to the satanic Tom Waits – President Obama. In the beginning, Obama began popping up on television here and there, promoting his book, denying rumors of presidential campaign. It was his glittering eyes, his undeniably positive energy, his perfect jaw, moving life story and quick wit that magnetized Americans to his side. Before people even contemplated his policies, they had fallen in love with his persona.
Step Three: Using the Media
In this day and age, creating is cult is both easier and more difficult than in past decades. Why? Computers, internet, iPhones, blogs, myspace, facebook, youtube, the list is endless. These self-employed facets of marketable media are an advantage to contemporary cult leaders, because there are a million immediate ways to promote oneself. The disadvantage is the mound of electronic junk people must sift through on a daily basis, which harkens back to the sensationalist efforts of someone like Heidi Montag, who put herself through crazy surgery to make magazine covers. In the event that you’re not willing to spend thousands of dollars, risk your life and lose moveable features, the best option is to mastermind a viral video that kicks up curiosity surrounding your presence in both the virtual and visceral world.
Step Four: Choosing a Sweet Nick Name
Last step to completing stage one of cult creation is coming up with a name that zings. Maybe it’s your quirky last name your friends constantly use. Maybe its the name of your childhood dog. Hopefully its not. Either way, you’ll want the name to be something unforgettable (i.e. ….Obama) and partly strange to peak interest. Whatever it is, make sure it’s something that can evolve with you as your cause widens. Nothing’s worse than a name change mid-career. I’m sure we can ask Cher’s former daughter, Chaz Bono, about that one.