Thursday, January 13, 2005


I've always been fascinated by cults - by the leaders and the followers - how they choose - very specifically - the people who they target - how they woo them into their fold - how they persuade them to give up their family - to give up their belongings - their names and their identity as a cleansing - a rebirth under the guise of religion and commitment to their new 'family'. The leaders are always charismatic - nearly always men - solipsistic ego kings with visions of grandeur and a god complex - which usually translates to massive insecurities and deep seeded unhappiness. The followers are usually seekers - they're lost - on the fringe - looking for something - a place to belong - a 'home' - acceptance and love (which also usually translates to massive insecurities and deep seeded unhappiness). Followers are easy prey - easily identified by those who know what to look for and which buttons to push - shooting fish in the proverbial barrel for most seasoned cult recruiters.

Now - let me take a giant step to tuesday morning - san francisco - hilton hotel grand ballroom - the location of my company's kick-off for their global sales conference - and there you have it - 100's of wide-eyed converts and the soon-to-converted - waving glow sticks in the air - cheering our revenue goal - dancing in the aisles to the tribal beats of what could only be described as some sort of Burning Man tribute - wholly committed to the 'family'. I'd never been to a global sales conference before - i've heard about them - week long Bacchanalia's in vegas and NY and chicago - chest pounding and testosterone-filled - designed to pump the 'money makers' up and set them loose on their new accounts with the fever and determination of my girlie girls at that damned Jimmy Choo sample sale... ;-)

And so i sat there - wide-eyed - in awe - with my glow stick on my lap - and watched as the lights went down - and the Burning Man tribute began - the pounding of the drums - the day-glo painted girls with hula-hoops gyrating to the beat (totally sexy by the way - never thought a hula hoop could be so provocative) - the leather-clad shirtless men twirling their glowing batons (shockingly, not so hot - and considering i was 1 of only a handful of women - surprised the shirtless guys out numbered the hula hoop girls) - the bald guy beat boxing and directing this incredible display. It was pretty amazing. All of this with our company name on the largest screen i've truly ever seen - with flames in the background and our 'deal makers' names flashing above. It lasted about 10 minutes - the pounding beat - the flashing lights - it was cool - so very cool - and it drew me in. I became a convert - i waved my glow stick wildly in the air - i bounced to the beat of the drums and was fixated by the hula hoop girls (mental note - buy hula hoop) - and it worked - it accomplished what it was supposed to - i gave in to it and became part of the 'family'.

No worries though - i haven't been totally indoctrinated - unless Gucci starts designing those flowy robes - i have zero intention of giving myself fully to any 'family' - other than my own - any time soon.


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