The cults we hear about are the ones that explode or implode, not the ones chugging along quietly long after their Rolling Stone cover story moment. Guinevere Turner has fond memories of the Lyman Family, but also unsettling ones, too, incidents and patterns far over the line of abuse. To relate them makes her want to apologize. My Childhood in a Cult.
Today, as a fifty-year-old screenwriter, I’m drawn to the stories of cults and their behavior. My next film, “Charlie Says,” focusses on the women who killed for Charles Manson and the time they spent in a prison isolation unit. One thing I wanted to show was how keeping these women in that unit trapped them for years in the echo chamber of Manson’s manipulations. I’ve always been struck by the sensationalist and reductive way that sixties and seventies cults are portrayed in the media. In a nation fixated on individualism, cults and communes are easy objects of disdain—and perhaps envy. Their members are breaking the rules, discarding the sacred nuclear family. It’s libertarianism plus sex and drugs, and it’s wrong, but do tell me more.
The truth is far more complex, though no less insidious. As individuals, how well are we positioned to say which systems of belief are right or wrong?
Further reading: I've bookmarked "The Lyman Family’s Holy Siege of America", the 1971 Rolling Stone article that did not make them famous.
Irene Triplett’s father fought in the civil war as a young man and remarried as an elderly senior. Triplett, born 1930, inherited his veterans’ benefits due to her own disabilities. With her death at 90, the U.S. government closes the books on the last outstanding civil war pension. MSN: Pvt. Triplett married Elida Hall in […]
For much of the first half of the 20th century, another mysterious virus was freaking people the hell out, and no one understood what it was or how it spread. Children got hit the worst. It touched the wealthy and the poor. It paralyzed and even killed. Nothing seemed to stop it, and “Polio season” […]
Tony Hawk first learned to ride a skateboard in 1979 when he was 11 years old. The board was the 1975 Bahne pictured above. Now, that board is in the collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. (Below, video of Hawk’s last ride on the Bahne.) From Cole Louison’s new interview with Hawk […]
Not every house has a fireplace. And to be honest, not every homeowner wants to deal with the hassles and maintenance of a fireplace. But it’s tough to argue that the intoxicating glow and dance of a licking flame isn’t mesmerizing, not to mention all of a fire’s practical uses. For those looking to enjoy […]
Knowledge is power. And a company that knows who its customers are is far more likely to see those customers return. On the web, information gathering often comes in the shape of an online form. Whether it’s a registration, a contest, an order, or just a simple contact, those opportunities to engage with users and […]
It’s impossible for anyone to truly escape the effects our COVID-19 lifestyle changes have made, but if you’re a web developer, there’s a decent chance your work life might be virtually unchanged. Even before the quarantines and work-from-home orders, over 16 percent of web developers were already self-employed. And with a growing number of tech […]