I don’t think pandemic updates are the blog content anyone is interested in right now, so why don’t I instead do an upbeat write-up about a docuseries featuring a cult in 1980s Oregon?
This story is so farfetched that the filmmakers couldn’t compress it into a standard two-hour documentary. Instead, the Wild Wild Country docuseries is made up of six episodes, each lasting a little over an hour. I have now been subjected to 400 minutes of footage showing burgundy-clad guru-worshipping settlers pissing off their redneck neighbours with their casual sexing ways, and I still have many questions.
This guy’s face says it all:
Question number one: How come this moment in history is seemingly absent from pop culture references?
Everybody knows about the Manson Family. Old millennials like myself still think about Heaven’s Gate when they see black Nikes. The Branch Davidians’ David Koresh is the reason aviator glasses went out of style (they’re back because people forgot about David Koresh). Jonestown gave birth to the phrase “drinking the Kool Aid”. Rajneeshpuram, somehow, disappeared off the map and faded into obscurity.
Yet, the founder of the Rajneesh movement had more followers than Manson, Applewhite, Koresh, and Jones combined! Without further ado, here’s the man who was charismatic to attract more than 10,000 followers worldwide:
I am five years older than Yann, which isn’t a significant difference. It’s not exactly an insignificant difference either, as proven by our discussion the other night. I was explaining to him how I had spent part of my day indulging in nostalgia by browsing the old internet. I did this by Wayback Machine-ing a few of my old favorites.
The internet used to be uglier, but it was also a lot more fun. Right now, it’s so consumer-driven. Once pop-up blockers got effective, the internet had to get creative with advertising which is now disguised as social media apps or sponsored blog posts.
Splash pages are dead. Guestbooks are no more. Chat rooms are obscure. Even webcams have disappeared, and they were a prerequisite for personal websites of the late 90s/early 00s, usually appearing in the sidebar. The chosen photo would be the webmaster/webmistress’ (two of the most short-lived terms to ever exist) pick of the day.
Sometimes, the webcam would be live, refreshing at a rate of once every five seconds or slower. I had to stop there and further explain live cams to Yann.
“Streaming camera, you mean?” he asked.
“Oh, no. Those were the days of dial-up internet.” I paused to fix my glasses and brush a wisp of grey hair out of my face, “We didn’t have streaming media.”
“So, it’s like video chat?”
“No, you just let people watch you in total anonymity,” I continued as I leaned back in the rocking chair, preparing to school my young boyfriend on the golden age of the web.
We’ve all known someone who has been involved in an MLM (multi-level marketing) business. In the early 90s, I attended a Tupperware party as Mom’s accessory. The host had me reach into a bag for two prizes, which was a long, plastic spoon designed to extract maraschino cherries or olives out of their skinny jar and a serrated plastic scraper used for combing ridges in the icing around a cake. The reason I remember the prizes is because the host had to explain what they were. You know the prizes suck when they require an explanation.
I’m not into horror films, but Betting on Zero is excellent. It’s a documentary that focuses on nutrition supplement giant Herbalife, which incorporated in 1979 in the Cayman Islands. As in, the tax haven Cayman Islands.
Yesterday morning, I started my day with a seventeen-minute-long video of a husky named Gohan eating his fancy chow. This is what I’ve replaced social media with: YouTube videos of dogs eating. I was not going to watch the entire video, but the cats found it to be quite captivating. I don’t even feel bad: this video has 3.4 million views, and Gohan is heckin’ adorable.