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Reflection essay topics: Media cults are the equal substitute of political cults
Media cult can be defined as a set of patterns and beliefs, imposed by mass information through repeating messages on approximately the same subject. This new media movement can be viewed as an alternative religion in secularized society, primary due to its persuasiveness and influence of the consumption of certain products and services. The examples of media cults are as follows: the cult of beauty, cult of youth, cult of personality, cult of whiteness, cult of career success and cult of health. The most important contributors to the formation of cults are film and music industries, or pop-media.
Major thesis statements:
1) The importance of cults is overstressed; in fact, contemporary Americans are conscious enough to select an individual lifestyle.
2) The cult of beauty has affected human morality, as less attention is now paid to one's personal qualities in favor of appearance.
3) The positive value of cults is underestimated: for instance, cult of health has finally resulted in the enhancement of public health.
4) Cults are likely to motivate individuals to perfect themselves.
5) Cults and popular ideals are unquestionably harmful, as perfectionism negatively affects human psychology, leading to disillusionment and depressions.
Primary issues to discuss:
1) How do you understand media cults? Why are they created?
2) Are media cults likely to replace moral values and distort the values of individuality and uniqueness?
3) In which ways do media cults act as a substitute of political cults? Evaluate the real impact of both on contemporary American society.
4) Can media cults be viewed as a means of distraction from political situations?
Fishbein, M. The new medical follies: an encyclopedia of cultism and quackery in these United States, with essays on the cult of beauty, the craze for reduction, rejuvenation, eclecticism, bread and dietary fads, physical therapy and a forecast as to the physician of the future. New York: AMS press, 1977.
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Selected topics for reflection essay were split into two categories:
Religion and society
Teaching religion at public schools
Religious cults and sects
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