Dec 30, 2022


Pope warns Vatican staff an ‘elegant demon’ lurks among them

Pope Francis warned Vatican bureaucrats on Thursday to beware the devil that lurks among them, saying it is an “elegant demon” that works in people who have a rigid, holier-than-thou way of living the Catholic faith.

Francis used his annual Christmas greeting to the Roman Curia to again put the cardinals, bishops and priests who work in the Holy See on notice that they are by no means beyond reproach and are, in fact, particularly vulnerable to evil.

Francis told them that by living in the heart of the Catholic Church, “we could easily fall into the temptation of thinking we are safe, better than others, no longer in need of conversion.”

. . .

Beyond that, Francis appeared to also want to take broader aim at arch-conservatives and traditionalists who have become the pope’s biggest critics. Francis blasted their way of living the faith, insisting that being Catholic doesn’t mean following a never-changing set of dicta but is rather a “process of understanding Christ’s message that never ends, but constantly challenges us.”

Dec 27, 2022


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A Little Bit Culty

Hot Mess Express: Karen Unterreiner on Dating Keith Raniere

We all have exes we wish we could forget—the narcissists, the psychopaths, the ruthless, small-handed cult leader currently serving #120years in prison. It’s a tale as old as time! But few people have lived that story quite like Karen Unterreiner did when, at only 18-years-old, she became romantically intertwined with Keith Raniere. Over the next 40 years, she’d go on to become a top level NXIVM trainer, a key figure of the Executive Success Programs’ leadership committee, and an overseer of administration (bookkeeping) and IT.

Now free of Raniere’s coercive control (read: fuckery), Unterreiner has spent the last five years recovering and discovering her true self. For today’s episode, we spoke with her about dating an actual monster, how NXIVM functioned as a company, (and why it was messy), and whether or not the technology they used was actually any good, or more like rubbing two sticks together.

Episode available since December 26, 2022

Dec 20, 2022


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A Little Bit Culty

Parent Traps: Diane Dierks & Dr. Rick Voyles on Co-Parenting Dilemmas

If conflict resolution were easy, North and South Korea would no longer be at war, Princes Harry and William would be enjoying tea time together, and videos of irate plane passengers losing their God damn marbles would no longer fill our TikTok feeds. But we all know that resolving or letting go of hot blooded arguments is no easy task. Enter licensed marriage and family therapist Diane Dierks with Dr. Rick Voyles, the CEO of the Center of Dispute Solutions, and their fabulously insightful podcast “Co-Parent Dilemmas,” which aims to provide practical solutions to families struggling with co-parenting.

We’re lucky to have these two experienced smarties on the show with us to discuss a specific and controversial topic: what some refer to as “the alienating parent,” which relates heavily to one of our favorite topics on this show (although least favorite things in like, “real life”), the cult of one. Now, the National Center for State Courts defines parental alienation as “a strategy whereby one parent intentionally displays to the child unjustified negativity aimed at the other parent.” But why has the term brought up some of that good ol’ conflict we mentioned amongst clinicians today, dividing those who use the term and those who refuse to? And what effects does it have on the children themselves? Tune in and learn with us…or we’re going to have our own conflict to resolve!

Episode available since December 19, 2022

Dec 13, 2022


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A Little Bit Culty

Perfect Prey: Dr. Christine Cocchiola on Coercive Control

The Latin root for the word “coercive” literally means to surround, encompass, restrain, confine, and so on. So what does “coercive control” look like in real life, you ask? Well, it could involve isolating someone away from friends and family, depriving them of basic human needs (food, water, etc.), humiliating them, managing someone else’s finances, and the like. If it’s a shitty way of controlling another human, like having an invisible chain wrapped around their ankles, it’s coercive control. If you want a pop culture reference, look no further than Britney Spears’ “Toxic” family usurping her finances and personal agency for her nearly 14-year conservatorship.

But does it still feel abstract? Then you need to listen to today’s episode, complete with special guest Dr. Christine Cocchiola, a coercive control advocate, researcher, educator, and survivor, (meaning she’s able to speak on the subject from both personal and scholarly levels). During our talk, she breaks down how narcissism, shame, egos, and “perfect preys” play out with everyone from romantic partners to people in power, such as cult leaders.

Are you perhaps being controlled by someone without even realizing it? Maybe! Could that be detrimental to your life! Absolutely! So tune in to find out.

Episode available since December 12, 2022

Dec 9, 2022


Rare cosmic collision acted like one of the ‘factories of gold’ in the universe

“When we followed this long gamma-ray burst, we expected it would lead to evidence of a massive star collapse,” Fong said. “Instead, what we found was very different. When I entered the field 15 years ago, it was set in stone that long gamma-ray bursts come from massive star collapses. This unexpected finding not only represents a major shift in our understanding, but also excitingly opens up a new window for discovery.”

Neutron stars are compact cosmic objects, so researchers never expected them to contain enough material to create a gamma-ray burst that could last nearly a minute.

The explosion occurred in a galaxy about 1 billion light-years away from Earth. Since the event happened relatively close, astronomically speaking, astronomers used multiple telescopes to glean unprecedented detail.

“We found that this one event produced about 1,000 times the mass of the Earth in very heavy elements. This supports the idea that these kilonovae are the main factories of gold in the Universe,” said Dr. Matt Nicholl, an associate professor at the University of Birmingham in the UK and coauthor of one of the Nature Astronomy studies, in a statement.

Dec 6, 2022


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A Little Bit Culty

The Redeemer: Cathrine Moestue on Shame & Radical Identity Change

If you could be a part of the team that ends world hunger, wouldn’t you be? That’s what Cathrine Moestue thought she was signing up for back in 1984 and 1985, when the then 19-year-old moved from Oslo, Norway to the outskirts of Stockholm, Sweden, and met an English teacher who claimed he knew how to end the devastating famine taking place in Ethiopia at the time. The man told her he was from Paraguay and was the leader of a revolution. The rest, my friends, is culty history.

Today, Moestue is a clinical psychologist, as well as the author of chapter 11 in the book Radicalization; Phenomenon and Prevention that came out in Norway, and parts of her own story are also featured in the book FAR OUT by Charlotte McDonald Gibson.

Episode available since December 05, 2022

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