Discover more from Thrive
Culture Vultures And Their Info-taining The Already Angry Agenda
Have faith in love, not live in fear of hate...
What I mean by “Culture Vultures.”
What kind of response do you have when you hear the word “vulture”? I don’t think I am alone in experiencing a visceral “Ewwww!” reaction. I know that in the Universe’s grand design, they have a purpose, but the mere thought of a vulture is repulsive. They look like villains and only eat dead or almost dead animals. I think that comes from the fact I never have a positive experience when I see a vulture or group of vultures circling or feasting, literally, off of the death/misfortune of another being.
Now, the word “culture” doesn’t cause the same response. It’s pretty straightforward (from Oxford Languages):
… the customs, arts, social institutions, and achievements of a particular nation, people, or other social group.
I use “Culture Vultures” to describe religious and cultural activists who want to impose and enforce Christian nationalism and their feasting off of social violence and conflict.
The only PR (public relations) and cultural engagement strategy most conservative and evangelical leaders have is at the expense of others. Instead of making a compelling case for their views that would speak to everyone even if they disagree, they bully, threaten, lie, and manipulate to take other’s freedoms away, all to preserve religious liberty in a “christian nation.”
They keep a keen eye out for exploiting legitimate conflicts/news over their specific pet issues. Once ‘breaking news” happens concerning LGBTQ+, Reproductive Rights, Trans specific issues, etc., the culture vultures start to circle. When serious conflict happens, causing pain and destruction, they mock, exploit, and feast on the misery.
The culture vultures are not good people; empathy and compassion are not their priority.
Their specialty is turning complicated issues, people, and conflicts into easy bite-size sarcastic talking points. Accuracy doesn’t matter. Info-taining the already angry is the goal.
These culture vultures then gaslight the culture at large for being the problem when the culture vultures are the ones that have created a false narrative with real-world consequences. Their version of thriving can’t offer solutions; they must have conflict to remain relevant to their supporters.
In other words, they are willing to stir up animosity on the moral or policy issue instead of taking responsibility for the misery they are creating.
They’d rather point an accusing finger instead of lending a helping hand.
In my opinion and experience, most evangelical conservative leaders also cannot tolerate or hear anyone else’s views. If forced into an actual conversation with those they disagree with, they only listen for openings in the conversation to push their agenda. They do not “listen” to hear anyone else’s valid arguments or be put into a position of acknowledging they might be wrong.
Today’s culture vultures are of a particular kind that believes they are never wrong.
The truth is, I was once a culture vulture, and I would have had a meltdown reading this post if someone else had written it about 14 years ago. Without minimizing my contributions to culture-vulture-driven initiatives way back then, I humbly say I was not of the MAGA species of vultures. I was more of the Mike Pence type of vulture on the periphery with the same underlying toxic beliefs and self-serving excuses.
However, my eyes were opened to the culture vulture mentality after Obama was elected President for the first time and a far-right Christian activist wanted to put “Re-stigmatizing homosexual male sex” on a meeting agenda we were a regular part of in Washington DC at the time. Several in that meeting said I acted immaturely, hysterically, and inappropriately when I strongly objected. My boss agreed with me; that was the last time we met in DC to meet with those groups (around 2009). The truth is I was loud but not hysterical or inappropriate. They didn’t like hearing the word no and me calling that idea hateful.
Yes, even as a culture vulture, I had a few moments of clarity.
However, my complete change of heart and mind would come a few years later, but that experience, and others the Universe brought my way, really shook me up.
Vultures (real and symbolic) are not going to go extinct any time soon. But what we can do with culture vultures is not to reward their theatrics and bullying with angry responses that only fuel their efforts. We can hold them accountable, purposefully, in ways that expose them and their efforts for what they are: malignant narcissism disguised as righteous indignation.
The culture vultures’ misinterpretations of the Bible are not the arbiters of all that is right and true. We will vote. We will resist their oppression, but most importantly, we will educate our friends, family, and community with facts, compassion, and real-world implications. We will starve the culture vultures of attention and instead highlight goodness, equality, love, and efforts for the greater good that don’t come at the expense of others.
Have faith in love, not live in fear of hate.
Thrive is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber. Thank you for reading!