Cultish: The Language of Fanaticism
January 12, 2022 4:12 PM - Subscribe

Kirkus describes Amanda Montell's Cultish: The Language of Fanaticism as "[a] scrutiny of the social science behind cult communication. With the same verve demonstrated in her debut on feminism and language, Wordslut (2019), Montell explores how language can manipulate masses of people in detrimental ways. Using accessible prose, the author discusses the varied definitions of the word cult, the dangers of universally demonizing its terminology, and its murky history as society’s relationship with spirituality has evolved."

"Montell intensively explores how the misleading euphemisms, politicized buzzwords, mantras, and subconsciously suggestive phrasing of “cult language” can be channeled and weaponized to mercilessly exploit participants of such “organizations” as QAnon or the notorious sex-trafficking group NXIVM....With a provocative combination of interviews, anecdotes, and scientific and psychological research, Montell educates and empowers readers to become more aware of “the varying dialects of Cultish that imbue our daily lives.” A fascinating, enthusiastic narrative on the loaded language of cults."

Los Angeles Review of Books: Say the Word: On Amanda Montell’s “Cultish: The Language of Fanaticism,” by Olivia Gerber

My Dad Grew Up in a Cult. Now He’s a Famous Scientist.
The story of how he wound up in a dangerous compound—and how he escaped
By Amanda Montell (Medium)
posted by MonkeyToes (1 comment total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
This was a very interesting book. I particularly liked the analysis of how cultish language is an amped-up version of some very common sociolinguistic techniques -- and thought it also made the point well that even those "less amped" versions can be dangerously misused. I realized that I've seen "thought-terminating cliches" deployed by people I agree with as well as those I disagree with ...
posted by kyrademon at 4:25 AM on January 14, 2022

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