Vox’s “Cult-Obsessed” Aja Romano Spews Hate-by-Association Bigotry 

“Who among us doesn’t like a good cult story?” Aja Romano, self-described obsessed-with-cults Vox internet culture reporter gushes in the lead paragraph of her latest drivel.

Well, I personally don’t like good (or bad) cult stories, especially when they use the cowardly, lazy device of association to mask bigotry toward the wider field of religion itself. As far as I’m concerned that makes them “stories” as in fiction, as in not true, as in I’m making this up for your entertainment and titillation and to heck with pesky facts—that definition of “stories.”

A hate harms the soul sign
Photo by Makenzie Harrison/Shutterstock.com

By associating my religion of Scientology with eye-popping and sensational “cult” stories served up with the simple associating device of the phrase “groups like ____,” Romano joins the unholy pantheon of scribes who could care less about the real people she’s hurting, as long as she’s got a gobsmacking piece of clickbait for the masses.

It’s an easy device. You just toss in an “everybody knows” type of clause like “awful people, such as ____” (fill in the blank with today’s targeted group). 

Romano joins the unholy pantheon of scribes who could care less about the real people she’s hurting.

Try it. Pick someone you hate, like that horrific boy who sat behind you in third grade and pulled your pigtails. Now put that kid’s name in the phrase “common garden pests, like aphids and ____.” Voila! You have now associated your enemy with something we all hate.

Romano does the same. She sets the reader up with “murder, delusions of grandeur, dark rituals, brainwashing.” Then, she not only includes, by association, my religion of Scientology (whose staff and members, incidentally, have been on the frontlines, helping people stay well through this pandemic with community outreach, education, and partnership with local and federal authorities internationally) but then leads into the possibility that there might just be “cultishness” involved in Judaism, Christianity and Islam as well—thus dispatching half of the world’s population in the space of one page of copy.

Not content with living, breathing human beings and religions, Romano expands the conversation into dissing imaginary people and groups as well, by spotlighting three purely fictional films about cults and asserting they “might as well be real.”

Shame on Vox for giving Romano’s hate a platform.

John Evans
John Evans has written for theater and the big screen. His essays, fiction and poetry have appeared in several publications on the East and West Coasts.