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SilverStormm

Wild Wild Country

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On 4/15/2018 at 9:05 AM, Lillith said:

The Bagwhan was foxy as hell. I find it hard to believe he had no clue what Sheela was up to.

It seemed to me the Bagwhan indicted himself as having quite a bit of clue what Sheela was up to! He did this by speaking of her crimes (not just her character) the day after she fled. (At least that's how the timeline looked in the show.) How could he possibly know her crimes within 24 hours of her fleeing if he didn't also know of them before she fled? There wasn't time between her departure and his tirade for him or his people to have done an internal investigation, and it was well before the authorities had made any charges. Which leaves no conclusion I can see other than that he had known for some time, possibly all along.

Edited by Milburn Stone
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 Watched three episodes and although it seems like it gets juicy later, I’m not sure if I can continue. It’s moving really slowly. On the holes so far my sympathies are with this act. As a Jewish person, I can’t help relating an awful lot to their making the desert bloom the way they did. And as someone else pointed out, the association of their free love and nudity with evil really does feel strange in this day and age. I guess poison and attempted murder is coming soon and of course there’s no defense of that, but it’s not hard to think that if the thousand friends of Oregon had just left them alone To build their little city in the wilderness that none of this had to happen.

 

 To build their little city in the wilderness that none of this had to happen.

 

I haven’t seen the end so I can’t judge for their buck wild is a fraud but it seems to me he’s a fraud like a prison guard I mean he has to get up on that stage and deliver these sermons and he spent a lot of his life approaching this. She seems to really be moved when she talked about meeting him for the first time with her father. Like others, I can’t for the life of me begin to understand the impulse to let someone else control you. I know it affects people of all backgrounds atheist Jews Catholics a like. 

 

I had trouble figuring out the chronology somewhat. Apparently Sheila went to college at Montclair State? And she and her husband live there or in New York where they used to go to Canal Street? Did she go with her to India?

 

 I had trouble figuring out the chronology somewhat. Apparently Sheila went to college at Monclair State? And she and her husband live there or in New York where they used to go to Canal Street? Did he go with her to India?

 

I think this would have been a compelling two hour movie, but at three hours in with just a little teasers at the beginning of each episode that they’re going to do something bad I’m a little bored.

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20 hours ago, lucindabelle said:

 I had trouble figuring out the chronology somewhat. Apparently Sheila went to college at Montclair State? And she and her husband live there or in New York where they used to go to Canal Street? Did he go with her to India?

 

Sheila went to college in the US and met her husband circa early 70s. At some point, they moved back to India and became part of Bhaghwan's ashram because her husband also had an alternative name from his birth one. The doc presented that his death took place in India as well.

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On 5/7/2018 at 9:37 AM, teddysmom said:

I started watching this but the first episode seemed so slow. I know they're trying to explain the cult and the members, but there's something about these types of groups that just drive me crazy, so it's hard to watch.

 

On 5/16/2018 at 8:49 PM, Milburn Stone said:

It seemed to me the Bagwhan indicted himself as having quite a bit of clue what Sheela was up to! He did this by speaking of her crimes (not just her character) the day after she fled. (At least that's how the timeline looked in the show.) How could he possibly know her crimes within 24 hours of her fleeing if he didn't also know of them before she fled? There wasn't time between her departure and his tirade for him or his people to have done an internal investigation, and it was well before the authorities had made any charges. Which leaves no conclusion I can see other than that he had known for some time, possibly all along.

 

On 5/25/2018 at 10:27 PM, lucindabelle said:

 Watched three episodes and although it seems like it gets juicy later, I’m not sure if I can continue. It’s moving really slowly. O

I think this would have been a compelling two hour movie, but at three hours in with just a little teasers at the beginning of each episode that they’re going to do something bad I’m a little bored.

 

Chiming in that I think this would have been a lot more engaging if it weren't as long. It also, to me, seemed to assume that the viewer would know a fair bit about the Rajneesh ahead of time, and being entirely unfamiliar, I would have appreciated more of an idea of just what they believed. In an interview, the creators mentioned that they had made one segment about what a typical day at the ranch was like for the average believer, but they couldn't figure where to fit it in. I really wish they had, as that would have helped a lot. I think I'd like fewer musical interludes and more recounting of the facts of the scenario.

I couldn't decide what I thought by the end - it seems like the ranch was a noble idea, but one that went bad fast in typical us vs them fashion. I was rather amazed by how many people involved were still alive, especially as they stressed that Antelope had an older population of retirees. And I was shocked - SHOCKED - when I realized that the Sheela being interviewed was such a prominent part of the illegal activities we learned about. I'm still shocked she got off so easy. But I think the Bagwhan was a lot more guilty than they ever found evidence for. His recounting of Sheela's misdeeds, as noted above, is a primary reason why he seems guilty as hell. What about those guns they bought and tossed in the lake? What about the potential drug smuggling? What was in the records that the Antelopean board member found in the dump? It feels like the documentary only touched the surface of things, but took its time doing even that.

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I am on episode 3 and I have to comment on something that the ;lawyer guy said. He made it sound like the Mormons have always existed in harmony with their own state with the US Government. Nothing could be farther from the truth. In the 1800s the Mormons had a several decade long battle with the American government to have ratify Utah (Deseret) as a state. The government literally killed their leader/prophet with the shooting ambush of Joseph Smith. They were widely hated, mostly because of the plural practice marriage that was a tenant of the religion at the time. They were called a dangerous cult and had several battles and violent episodes with other pioneers and peoples in the Western America. Not very different at all from the Rajneesh battles with the government. 

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On 4/23/2018 at 2:43 AM, retrograde said:

The ashram in India also seems to have been involved in the drug trade and devotees could pay for their stay by couriering drugs back to their home nations. 

Yeah, this is was my suspicion about all of their money. Had to be some drug trade in the mix somewhere. You can't build a city on donations and selling beads and books alone. 

Bagwhan was so clearly a charlatan to me. Sheela may have been the operator, but there's no way he didn't know what she was up to. I would love to know what he was actually doing all those years he was "silent."  I found myself reacting to Sheela with such an odd mix of being charmed and disturbed at the same time. In a way, I almost admired her gutsiness and openness about everything, like right at the beginning she admits, "I'm not really into that meditation stuff." For her, it was all about the power and the relationship with Baghwan. In another life, she would've made an excellent politician or woman behind the politician. Not to say that I didn't also find her terrifying and awful. I'm not convinced SHE didn't arrange for that bombing at their hotel as an excuse to get a bunch of weapons and go on the attack.

As someone who has worked with mentally ill and homeless people, I called them having problems with that population the second they brought them to the commune. Many homeless are mentally ill and need significant medical and professional intervention. And then I was horrified at the way they were treated. Whatever "enlightenment" those in the interviews still seemed to have, they certainly glossed over that episode of abject cruelty. Really disgusting.

I though it interesting that of all the tiny little towns that the Rajneesh could've picked, they ended up near the one where the founder of Nike and his family lived. You have to wonder how much his influence brought the attention of the higher level and federal authorities in a much faster manner. I did have a smidge of sympathy for the townspeople, despite their bigotry. I liked the guy in the overalls, who seemed smarter than he looked, and seemed more semi-amused by the whole thing more than angry. 

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Emmy nominations:

Outstanding Documentary Or Nonfiction Series
Outstanding Picture Editing For A Nonfiction Program
Outstanding Sound Editing For A Nonfiction Program (Single Or MultiCamera) - Part 1
Outstanding Sound Mixing For A Nonfiction Program (Single or Multi-Camera) - Part 1

Edited by ElectricBoogaloo

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On 4/18/2018 at 1:49 PM, OtterMommy said:

...Rajneesh were not just some feel-good hippie cult that was misunderstood--they were what they were.  There is also the case of the townspeople being xenophobic--which they were...

I think one thing we'll never know is how antagonistic the cult would have been if the townspeople hadn't been as rejecting of "the other" as they were. I definitely got the feeling that Sheela's antagonism toward the town was driven by a deeply felt racial hurt. In some alternate universe where the town was all like, "you do your thing out on your ranch, we'll do our thing," would the cult have felt as driven as they were to take over the town and the county politically? Maybe, but I wonder.

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This was a case of everyone being in the wrong. The people of Antelope were hostile xenophobic assholes to people who weren't even living in their town. If they hadn't stuck their noses into the commune's business and interfered to get the commune shut down, then the Rajneesh people wouldn't have ended up moving into town and buying property. If the judgmental people in Antelope had left them alone, the Rajneesh would have stayed on the commune and out of Antelope.

And for a bunch of people who were criticizing religion being the founding principle of the commune, the people of Antelope sure brought up God a lot. In other words, other people's religions are creepy and inappropriate but OUR religion is awesome and the upholders of proper morals! Fucking hypocrites.

Also hypocritical: the people of Antelope not liking interlopers. If I'm not mistaken, the first episode said that Antelope was mostly comprised of older people who had retired and then moved there which means YOU AREN'T FROM HERE EITHER. They didn't belong there any more than the Rajneeshees did, but that's typical - I got here five minutes before you did so I belong here and this is my town, damn it!

I laughed every time someone from Antelope said something like "America isn't the right place for these people," conveniently ignoring the fact that many of the people at the commune were American. I cringed so many times hearing the clearly xenophobic shit that these people were saying without any shame. I get that the people of Antelope saw the Rajneeshee as a bunch of weirdo hippies but the kind of vitriol they had for them was terrible.

On the other side, the Rajneeshee leaders were shady as fuck. Bhagwan was a typical cult leader - he acted like he was above it all, but he was taking drugs, buying expensive things (who needs THAT many Rolls Royces?), having people like Sheela do his dirty work, and then when one of his followers leaves, he throws her to the wolves, accusing her of being upset because they never slept together. Riiight. Sheela was scary because she knew how to turn on the charm and clearly had no remorse about anything she's done.

It was disturbing to see how some of the people they interviewed are clearly still under Bhagwan's thrall. The dreamy looks on their faces while they described him or talked about being near him even years later said it all. I couldn't believe how people were talking about what an honor it was to sit at his feet. Seriously, people? I know that a lot of people are searching for a place where they belong and feel accepted but damn. I would guess that a lot of the non-leadership people aka the worker bees who did the building and farming had no idea what was really going on with the upper echelons of the organization. Between Sheela and the lawyer, I'm sure they were able to spin what the people of Antelope was doing (which probably wasn't very difficult given the attitude in Antelope) to paint them as the put upon victims.

I wonder how long it took for Jane to gain the amount of self awareness she has now. During her time at the commune, she seemed like she was willing to follow any of Sheela's orders. Sheela said, "You're going to go with these people and shoot this man," and Jane just went along with it. Sheela said, "You're going to stab this guy in the neck with poison," and she went along with that too.

There were no winners in this. Everyone came off as self righteous jerks who made a lot of bad choices and made things worse than they had to be.

Edited by ElectricBoogaloo · Reason: Typos
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Just got finished with the series and I agree with others here, hard to root for any side.

For the bigotry of the townspeople, in all fairness, we only heard from a few. The local guy, I think his last name was Silvertooth, seemed more bemused by the group than hateful. 

I think much of it was based on fear and the unknown. IMO, even if the commune did not have radical (for the time) views on sexual mores or were simply a commercial (and not religious) enterprise, I still think there would have been tensions between the locals and the group. People will get anxious about any major changes in their environment, generally. People get riled up about the building of a new supermarket or shopping mall--of course there is going to be pushback about an intentional city being built (in a very short time) in what was once ranch land and wilderness. Add to that the wearing of red clothes and the power-hungry Sheela and her provocativeness--I really couldn't see any good outcome.

I also think that there was elitism and some bigotry on the part of some of the Rajneeshis as well-- at least from the higher echelon --they felt they were enlightened and therefore "better" than the locals--the lawyer even said "we felt like we were the chosen ones."

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Agree with the posters above that there are no good people in this documentary. 

However, I had trouble following timelines and plot points due to the way the episodes were edited. Here are a few examples that come to mind:

  1. The Antelope mayor said he had some incriminating documents that he retrieved from a dumpster and gave those to an Assistant DA, but I don't remember learning what was in those documents or what the outcome of finding those documents were.
  2. They mention the cultists were behind the salmonella outbreak, but couldn't find any proof or a common link, which was heavily discussed by the former Congressman. Then an episode or two later they bring up the poisoned chocolates. Then a couple episodes later they circled back around to the salmonella outbreak and described how that occurred (by poisoning the salad bars).
  3. They also mention folks actively trying to commit voter fraud and even named the leader, Joanne something, I think, but never finished discussing the outcome of what happened to those folks. They casually mention 93% voter turnout, but that's all I remember.
  4. They cut back and forth between the Australian woman (I forget her name, something B) being coerced into trying to shoot the District Attorney then a couple episodes later she talks about going to Texas and buying the guns that would later be brought with them to try to shoot the DA.
  5. They show clips about newspaper articles with money laundering and immigration fraud by the gentleman from the Oregonian, but never go into any details.
  6. There are interviews with the City Planner trying to inspect the houses and then they show a partial newspaper clipping listing the cult was being fined for buildings out of code, but they never actually talk about the inspections, fines, and outcomes.
  7. One of the lawyers spends a decent amount of time talking about how the cult tried to use beavers to poison the water supply including blending the beavers up and putting them in the water supply. He ends the story by saying "I have no idea if that's true, but someone told me it was".

Did anyone else have trouble following the story?

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