If you don’t regularly scan the headlines on CNN’s home page, you may have missed the following tidbit of ‘news’: Andrew Keegan, an actor whose most famous role was in the not so famous 90’s movie 10 Things I Hate About You, has become the leader of a cult religion in Venice Beach, California. I can’t imagine why this ‘news’ made headlines or why CNN ran the headline for over a week, but since it was run over a week, I figured this ‘news’ must be terribly important and therefore I should read the article. That, and I am always curious as to what kind of bullshit people will fall for. I clicked on various links until I came upon what seemed to be the original article (here) posted by Vice.com, a completely unbiased and professional news source if ever there was one.
The reporter begins by saying they were greeted at Full Circle HQ (‘Full Circle’ being the name of the cult) by a gentleman who called himself ‘Third Eye.’ Now, I’ve never met anyone named ‘Third Eye’ myself, but I’m pretty sure that if I did, my bullshit meter would break itself going off the charts before I had a chance to have a conversation with that person. The reporter then describes meeting a member of the cult named ‘Stav’ who name drops celebrity associations like a baby with a cup full of Cheerios. If I were the reporter, I’d be wondering if this is what qualifies as spiritual ascension in the Full Circle cult; worshipping celebrities. If it is, I’d probably go home and rip up my degree in journalism if these are the dues I have to pay in order to land a job at a more respectable news organization like Fox News.
The article writer goes on to tell us that they asked Third Eye and Stav what Full Circle’s ‘advanced spiritualism of universal knowledge’ meant, but received an answer that was either cryptic (another red flag) or that the reporter didn’t understand (even more alarming). After partying a little bit with the Z-lister Keegan and his cult, our intrepid reporter gets the lowdown from Keegan himself: "Synchronicity. Time. That's what it's all about. Whatever, the past, some other time. It's a circle; in the center is now. That's what it's about," Keegan explained, regarding the church's name, Full Circle. Frankly, I think this is the first time I’ve ever come across an explanation so vague that it didn’t possess enough charm to qualify as enigmatic.
From there, the reporter writes, A few weeks later, I sat down with Keegan after one of his Sunday services. The meditation at the service had involved water crystals, which participants used to focus their energy to bring an ending to the conflict between Israel and Palestine. Yes, it takes a powerful cult indeed to get the kind of zero results we’re seeing in the Middle East. I should add here that by this point in the article I am dumbfounded that the reporter went back to investigate more, as if there weren’t an unarmed minority being shot by a white police officer somewhere or that Taylor Swift hadn’t found another soon-to-be ex-boyfriend.
Of course, like any good cult leader, Keegan had a moment of realization that led him to become aware of ‘synchronicity’ and its role in the cosmic scheme of things: He was attacked by Venice Beach gang members (lol, really?) just as the March 2011 tsunami was occurring in Japan. Basically, this is Keegan’s personal narrative amounts to: I, Andrew Keegan, a Z-list celebrity, was attacked and beaten by thugs just as a tidal wave was devastating Japan. Ergo, I should be the spiritual leader to bring about peace in the world. Andrew Keegan, North Korea called and they want their crazy back. What I think is more likely is that because of the attack, Keegan came to realize he is the Z-lister he actually is (the assault never made the news…anywhere). Keegan realized how unlikely it is a gang would have attacked someone more notable, like Brad Pitt. Naturally, a parallel career move was in order. Surprisingly, the reporter – in a rare moment of lucidity – calls Keegan out on this; The shift in Keegan's ambitions—from stardom to spirituality—shows how the culture of celebrity is not all that far off from religion.
In summary, the reporter writes, While Third Eye and his fellow members see Keegan as a visionary and a leader, the actor said his community is not cultish. Sorry, but take a gander at the pictures of Keegan and his cult; I’m sure the guy’s reason for starting a religion has nothing to do with wanting to get laid on a whim. Fortunately … His spiritual ambitions are currently in jeopardy, as the building his church is housed in went on auction on August 10, which could potentially affect his lease agreement. He is unsure if he can win the bidding war in the rapidly gentrified neighborhood of Venice Beach. So, what, the cult is trying to create peace in the Middle East through pure thought but they can’t pay their bills with mantras? You know your ‘religion’ is out there when it starts to make Scientology seem reasonable.
Nice try, Keegan, but people are still going to find things to hate about you.