why I watch all these shows about cults (patreon)

CW: cults, brief mentions of sexual and psychic and physical abuse

Cults are very popular right now – as fodder for the massive television industry that seems to require as much content as the Internet: 800 channels going 24/7, and not all of them can run Law and Orderor Seventh Heavenall day every day. So Oxygen and Netflix and Sundance TV all have recently run series devoted to delving into the horror of particular cults, their leaders and followers, their practices. There’s yet another movie coming out about Charles Manson. Several books came out recently revisiting Jonestown – including one by Jackie Spier, who was there in Guyana at the time of the massacre. American Horror Storyhad a season devoted to a cult.

I’m curious about our cultural fascination with cults at this moment in history – what brought this up for us? What has us tuning in to learn the gristly details about Rulo, NE, or Jonestown, or the Manson girls? What has us reading about fundamentalists polygamous communities? What has us watching Leah Remini’s round tables and exposés about Scientology?

I know why I tune in. I want to read about other people who experienced something similar to what I did, and how they survive in the Real World (as opposed to the isolation of the cult world) after they managed to escape. I want to see how bad it might have gotten if we had not gone to the police (and been believed). I want to see that I am not crazy for feeling crazy so much of the time, even all these years later.

(read the rest of this post on Patreon — available to all, not just Patrons!)

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