The Cult of Personality
Driving around the recycling route all week long, I get to listen to the radio a lot. It is usually set between half a dozen stations from classic rock, top forty, and a country station that comes out of the LC Valley that use to be a classic rock station. I never changed the setting after the change because in a pinch, when the entire spectrum across the FM band range is trying to be chatty or trying to sell a person something, the one out of the LC Valley might have a tune going: cultural diversity!
Somewhere over the last twenty years, Living Color’s Cult of Personality has been imprinted in my brain, and whenever it comes on it tickles a long dormant braincell. Where have I heard this phrase before? It was in the early seventies.
There was a young woman I was fascinated with for a bit who lives in two terrible early poems I wrote, but she was adorable. I can remember her saying once, “Peace, love, and the revolution, hopefully without the cult of personality.” It took me a long time to really let that concept sink into my brain, but it is firmly there now, a dangerous thing the cult of personality.
Last week I was standing in the check-out line at the cheap food store, and I happened to see a special edition of People Magazine with the title “The Crime Special: Cults”. On the cover were the pictures of Jim Jones, Charles Manson, and Marshall Applewhite. I thought to myself that all they need on that cover is Donald J. Trump. He is starting to build up a body count as well.
Jones and Manson are totally imprinted in my brain, but all I could pull up in my head was “UFO cult suicides” for Applewhite. So, I looked him up and sure enough he was the man involved in the Heaven’s Gate cult waiting for the UFO coming in with the tail of the Hale-Bopp comet. That was one of the two comets that I have seen without aid of field glasses or a telescope. The other was Hyakutake about the same years. Hale-Bopp was certainly an ill omen for the Heaven’s Gate people.
I dug out the two poems that I wrote about that woman, and peace, love, and the revolution was featured in one of them. It is over forty years now, and we still have the cult of personality. That is why we have a con-man in the White House. He is not the only one still in operation either. It is getting harder, and harder to keep the peace and love alive during the revolution. I guess Milton is right, “Thousands at his bidding speed and post o’er land and ocean without rest, they also serve who stand and wait.” Battle fatigue adds up.