The Filth cover image by Carlos Segura.

Are you tired of being left out of exclusive clubs or cliques? Want to flash your membership card in people’s faces? Does your life lack meaning without a clear enemy to demonize?

Congratulations! You too can be the Orthodoxy!

Why Orthodoxy? I’m glad you asked!

Becoming the Orthodoxy enables you to appoint yourselves the gatekeepers between Us (those who Belong) and Them (those who Don’t Belong, because they’re weird or something, eww). Anyone who has ever felt the joys of initiating someone into the Mysteries of your Orthodoxy has felt the smug satisfaction of being Better than someone just because you were In first. This is a simple, penis-enlarging (or womb-constricting) joy that eludes many in this complex modern world. From churches to councils to covens to college orgs to confraternities to cosplayers, self-appointed cultural gatekeepers everywhere hold the power of Acceptance and Rejection of their own little fiefdoms in their hands. Inclusion and Exclusion. Salvation and Damnation!

And when people do join, what then? Why, you get to make up the rules they need to play by, too! The rules don’t have to be reasonable, or even sane! Feel like being called Grandmaster Sexay by everyone? Put it in your Constitution! Feel like collecting dues in exchange for the privilege of carrying cheap laminated ID cards or posting a hokey little banner on your blog? Label it ‘Article 69’ (or LXIX, Roman numerals are so fancy)¬†and slap it on a piece of notarized goatskin! Everyone has to do it or they won’t be allowed into the clubhouse!

I've been a Discordian Pope for over a decade. But then they let in just anybody, eww.

And the Name! Oh, praised be the Name! You get to call yourselves whatever you want, whether or not that Name (or Title, if you like) reflects the reality of your Orthodoxy whatsoever. It’s true! If you don’t believe me, compare the Orthodoxies referred to by the following Names with the dictionary definitions of the words that make up the Names:

(Philippine Basketball fans, haven’t you ever wondered why the Philippine Basketball Association mainly plays in Metro Manila while the long-defunct Metropolitan Basketball Association played all over the country?)

But Multi, you ask, how do I create an Orthodoxy in the first place? Do I find people to include in my new clique? Do I find a common banner for people to unite under?

No no no, would-be Pontiff, you’re doing it ass-backwards. For any Orthodoxy to exist, it must exclude before it includes. The reasons for exclusion can be anything, including:

  • – Worshiping the wrong imaginary friend;
  • – Glorifying the wrong dead person;
  • – Not making it through an arbitrary initiation process that the founders made up;
  • – Not paying dues/tithes/membership fees/certification fees;
  • – Not remembering all the words to the Official Creed/Pledge/Motto/Song/Movie;
  • – Being the wrong sex;
  • – Liking the wrong sex;
  • – Liking sex at all;
  • – Hanging out with the wrong people;
  • – Not having the right last name;
  • – Being too ugly;
  • – Etc.

This sets up a handy Us vs. Them dynamic that often becomes your Orthodoxy’s entire reason for existing. In between converting the Unbelievers (those who see enough benefit in joining or danger in remaining Outside) to slaying the Infidels (stubborn holdouts who insist on retaining their own personal prejudices instead of adopting your Orthodoxy’s), you’ll be so busy that there will be no need to actually pursue your officially stated goals!

The benefits of this sort of black-and-white tribal behavior are so great that you will quickly find yourself dominating the little pond you and your fellow specialized polyps have aggregated in! Be the gigantic Portuguese Man-O’War of anything you desire! From vaguely Christian evangelical groups to tabletop role-playing guilds to parent-teacher associations, there is no niche small enough that it can’t stand a little domination! And if you manage to completely dominate your cultural niche, consider yourselves the new monoculture! Burn heretics at the stake with impunity!

But Multi, you ask, what if an Orthodoxy already exists in the field that I’ve chosen? Am I out of luck?

Stay tuned for the answer, true believers!