Escape Artists

PseudoPod => Episode Comments => Topic started by: Bdoomed on September 17, 2009, 04:15:16 AM

Title: Flash: Devote Your Life to Beauty
Post by: Bdoomed on September 17, 2009, 04:15:16 AM
Flash: Devote Your Life to Beauty (

By Loreen Heneghan
Read by Mur Lafferty (

We are not a cult. Don’t allow any outsider to confuse you. We are a holy order. You’ll never be asked to give up your family or friends; not for our benefit. We only want you to stay pure. If they try to draw you into some distorted place, don’t listen. Your world is a thing of beauty.

Truth is not beauty. Only Beauty is real. How could it be otherwise?

Listen to this week's Pseudopod. (
Title: Re: Flash: Devote Your Life to Beauty
Post by: Scattercat on September 17, 2009, 02:26:42 PM
I would just like to say that this is one of the eeriest, creepiest things I have heard.  I love it.  I was so-so on it until it reached the last line, which is practically electric in its effect.  Wonderful use of the slow boil technique.

<3 <3 <3 for this flash.
Title: Re: Flash: Devote Your Life to Beauty
Post by: Unblinking on September 17, 2009, 11:20:51 PM
I really enjoyed this flash, the cult of beauty.  Mur did an excellent job of narrating it as well, which really took it to its full potential.  Yay Mur!

I'm not sure I understood what happened in the end, yet I'm satisfied anyway.  :)
Title: Re: Flash: Devote Your Life to Beauty
Post by: lastofthelight on December 01, 2009, 04:59:44 AM
Can anyone explain to me what happened in the end, with this podcast? I have the feeling it should be very significant, but I don't get it.
Title: Re: Flash: Devote Your Life to Beauty
Post by: Scattercat on December 01, 2009, 05:34:28 AM
The well is the final transformation from "normal person" to whatever it is the cultists are.  The whole thing can be read as an allegory for Western culture's addiction to appearance and the modeling world's fascination with unnatural forms of "beauty."  Check out this famous video (http://"") to see what I mean.  The overt comparison is to a cult, with the slow indoctrination and separation from family and friends.  This can be read both literally and metaphorically (i.e. actual physical separation and the mental walls created when putting our "best selves" in front of the world.)

The ending is the climactic moment when the change is irreversible; submersion in the acidic liquid apparently burns away everything that isn't "beautiful," according to whatever concept of beauty motivates the cult in the story.  The impact is so strong because of the heavy emphasis on that last line: "Open your eyes."  Remember, that milky liquid stings on the skin.  Imagining something like that touching your eyes directly is almost guaranteed to evoke a reaction in a human; we're very anxious about our eyes (as well we should be, given how much we rely on them.)  Instinctive flinching and protective gestures are very common when the eye is threatened. 

On a metaphorical level, it is even more disturbing, because the eye is the seat of perception.  It's how we take in the world around us, and what we learn about the world is, in a large and almost literal way, a part of who we are.  If this fluid alters the very perception of the world for those who are bathed in it, then how will the world be different when the new cultist emerges?  There can be no going back at that point.