Wild, Wild Country

I just finished watching Wild, Wild Country and I want to write this blog while it’s fresh in my head. It’s a 6 part documentary about Bagwhan Shri Rajneesh and the Rajneeshi’s attempt to build a utopian community in rural Oregon in the ’80s. I recommend it.
Bagwhan (later in life known as Osho) is often quoted on Facebook, nice little platitudes about letting go and becoming one with the universe and sunshine and flowers and stuff, and that’s all pretty harmless, but up until now I’d usually responded to those comments with something along the lines of “Yeah, but what about poisoning the well, and having a million Rolls Royces?”
At the time it was happening, it was a distant news event to me, and the few facts I knew made the Rajneeshis look pretty bad. The documentary changed my mind.
Sure, Ma Anand Sheela was a little bit nuts there, as things were falling apart, and poisoning the salad bar at Shakeys was a very nasty thing to do, but the people of Antelope and the governments of Wasco County and the State of Oregon started the problem, and everything that happened was their own damned fault.
The Rajneeshi’s bought the property legally and, in the beginning, were nothing but friendly with the people of Antelope, but they were met with instant hostility. Basically, these uptight people could not stand the idea of nudity and sex and people enjoying themselves only 9 MILES away.
If the redneck villagers hadn’t done everything they could to limit their development and threaten their eviction, they would not have bought homes in Antelope. They would not have bought the café and started serving fried bananas instead of bacon. They would not have taken over the city council, and changed the name of Antelope to Rajneeshpuram. If they had not started walking the perimeter of the encampment shooting off guns at random to scare the orange robe wearing hippies just like the Trump loving assholes who they, and their descendants, undoubtedly are today, Sheela would never have started stockpiling guns, or started her weapons training classes. And they probably wouldn’t have gone to America’s big cities and recruited several thousand homeless people which, by the way, was a goddamned humanitarian gesture and all of those cities should have sent them a thank you note and a big fucking check, but they didn’t.
Bagwhan (Osho) was eventually driven out of the United States and Sheela and a couple of her followers spent a few years in prison, but he still has followers. And I, for one, will not make any more sarcastic comments on Osho posts.
The scandal was not him, and it was not his people. The scandal is how they were treated.

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