A Cult of Victimization

Written December 12, 2016

“We live in a society of victimization, where people are much more comfortable being victimized than actually standing up for themselves” ~Marilyn Manson/Brian Hugh Warner

I must admit, when I was looking for a quote for today’s topic today I didn’t want to use this quote because of the author. He is an artist in music, words and even paint. Tho I’m not a fan of his music, or his stage persona, some of his literary work piques my interest. But he is not the topic of my post today. His words in this quote is my topic today. I also didn’t mean for the length. I just started writing and couldn’t stop.

The American Dream has always been to get married, live in a nice house with a white picket fence, 2.2 children, a dog, and to be successful. This is the dream of citizens currently here or immigrants who’ve come here or the ones wanting to be here. My generation and countless others before me, were always told, “Work hard in life and you will succeed.” While this is still generally true, some people simply quit trying, often after one try at it.

Throughout American history there are countless examples of people who’ve worked hard and were knocked down more than once. If that happened these people pulled themselves up by their bootstraps, put their big boy/girl pants on and tried again and again. Look at any popular musician. Do you think that any one of them was just plain lucky and sailed from playing or singing their first note straight up to stardom? Hardly. Actors and actresses in any type of performance had the same ups and downs. Virtually everyone of them started out from humble beginnings – no matter what kind of music they play, acting gig they have, or what color skin they have or if they were a citizen or legal immigrant.

In society today we seem to have a culture of victimization going on. Let’s break down those 2 words for a moment. From the Dictionary (.) com site, culture is the sum of attitudes, customs, and beliefs that distinguishes one group of people from another and this transmitted various ways from one generation to the next. Victimization is defined as causing someone to be treated unfairly or made to feel uncomfortable. It’s a feeling of adversity as a result of being a victim whether it’s real or perceived.

Whether it’s perceived or not, we have a lot of people who say that because of their skin color, sex, sexual preference, citizen status or even their religious background they aren’t succeeding. They believe that they don’t get a job(even tho they are not qualified to do said job) because they are of a minority group. Then, if they get turned down just once, they quit trying all together and sit around moping saying, “I can’t get a job because I’m black/red/female/gay/Catholic/Muslim etc, etc.” It doesn’t occur to them it’s because they may lack education or experience needed for whatever they were pursuing.

I blame this line of thought on a couple of things. In school no matter what the competition is it’s not just the winner that gets a trophy. The child that loses gets some sort of a trophy too. I vividly remember in school that I could get a letter jacket if I took a certain number of music classes before I graduated. I came up 1 semester short because of a class I needed before I graduated. It was only available at the same time as my music class. Consequently I did not get a letter jacket, a letter or any sort of prize period. I didn’t go around pouting and blaming it on the school’s rules and I certainly didn’t start a protest. I simply accepted that if I wanted to graduate I did what I had to do, even if that meant I wouldn’t get a letter jacket.

Another reason for this culture of victimization I feel is because of these “safe spaces” or whatever you call them. I believe I’ve written about them before. One of my social media friends, Jessica, said this one time, “Controversy causes growth and growth causes controversy”. Controversy is a dispute where there is strong disagreement. I can’t count the times I’ve argued vehemently with someone. Typically I back down but I look up the information about the topic to see who’s right. In the process I learn something. When I learn something I’m growing. There are a couple people in my life that I butt heads with. Thanks to them, I’ve looked up information about the topic and discovered that they were correct and I learned why they were correct. The controversy between us caused me to learn and grow. If you’re in a “safe space” you don’t hear about and learn from controversy. You end up feeling entitled and victimized your whole life.

This reminds me of a song that came out when i was a teenager in 1988 called “Cult of Personality” by a band called Living Colour. A cult is most commonly defined as a religious group that is 1) Exclusive. They may say only they know the truth and everyone else is wrong. 2) Secretive. Certain teachings are not available to outsiders or they’re presented only to certain members. 3) Authoritarian. A human leader expects total loyalty and unquestioned obedience. Bottom line is a cult refers to a group of people being led by a very powerful person(or idea) that follows whatever that leader(or idea) tells them to do.

The song talks about famous leaders that used their charisma, words, and attitude(their personality) to lead a nation or use their ideas for what they believed. It is used in this song because the powerful people mentioned in it led a nation to follow their beliefs. They name opposites just to show the pros and cons of being this “cult of personality”. Mussolini, Kennedy, Stalin and Gandhi all led people in various ways(I’ll let you look them up 😉 ).

The only way to not fall into the trap of victimization is to start by not blaming other people, places or things that made things difficult for you. Next, accept your circumstances whether they’re good or bad. Once you’ve done that, do the footwork needed to get to a better place in your life. The American Dream isn’t completely dead. It’s still possible if work hard, persevere thru the hard times and most importantly – don’t give up.

“Cult of Personality” by Living Colour(1988)

Look in my eyes, what do you see?
The cult of personality
I know your anger, I know your dreams
I’ve been everything you want to be

I’m the cult of personality
Like Mussolini and Kennedy
I’m the cult of personality
The cult of personality
The cult of personality

Neon lights, Nobel Prize
When a mirror speaks, the reflection lies
You won’t have to follow me
Only you can set me free

I sell the things you need to be
I’m the smiling face on your TV
I’m the cult of personality
I exploit you, still you love me
I tell you one and one makes three

I’m the cult of personality
Like Joseph Stalin and Gandhi
I’m the cult of personality
The cult of personality
The cult of personality

Neon lights, a Nobel Prize
When a leader speaks, that leader dies
You won’t have to follow me
Only you can set you free

You gave me fortune
You gave me fame
You gave me power in your God’s name
I’m every person you need to be
I’m the cult of personality

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