The Directory of Intemperate Entusiams

 

When it comes to pop cultural diversions, some of us are all in or not at all. This website is devoted to the former specimen, of which I am one. I would say proudly so, but that’s making a cause out of a matter I really had no choice in. I’m a cult guy whether I want to be or not, and I can’t imagine being interested in anything moderately. If it trips my wire, I need to track it down to the end, all the way and beyond all reasonable limits. If you get this, then you might also dig this, which is a website devoted to the gradual critical encyclopedic appreciation of all things pop culturally cult. (Yes, the fact that this exists, or that any single person would attempt it, is a symptom of the affliction.) Because I’m not only an avid member of a cult or two myself, I’m also avidly fascinated — intemperately so — by objects of cult fascination themselves. I’m a cult cultist. So that’s what this is: a compendium of thoughts on all things that have attracted or generated a cult audience, and an attempt to understand what it is that separates the pop cultural cult artefact from every other innocuous and ephemeral diversion the machinery spews out every second of every day. So perhaps some qualifications are called for. One can define a cult either by the object or its followers, and I’ll plead guilty right now to doing both. If a movie or TV show (and, as this builds, I hope to add music, comics, writers and just about anything that’s tripped somebody’s wire somewhere) has generated a following that extends both beyond its real-time run and any semblance of reasonable interest; if, that is, it has become as important if not more than life itself to somebody somewhere, it qualifies for the directory. Some cults are small, some are fleeting, and some are so big — Star Wars, for instance, or The Beatles, or Mad Men that they would seem to burst the boundaries of cultdom and qualify as mass phenomena. But that’s why I prefer to think of cult status less as a matter of an audience’s size than its nature, and especially the nature of its fascination. Cult for me isn’t an object but an effect, something that infiltrates one’s responses so deeply that you can’t get enough of it, that your life somehow feels incomplete, lesser even, without it. Not all of the things contained here are personal items of cult interest — how could they be? To maintain its specialty status, cultism has to be random and selective — but they are all items of interest because they are cult to somebody somewhere. I hope you enjoy, I hope you understand, and I even hope, for somebody somewhere, it becomes a habit. Me, I just can’t help myself.