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Hippies with guns – not the worst thing about Wild Wild Country

Hey, I’m blogging again! The last post I wrote for this blog was in August 2013. I had closed my blog indefinitely, but I felt compelled to relaunch it after watching Wild Wild Country on Netflix and thinking, wow, Hippies with Guns would make a great blog title.

I put my blog on hold when I fell pregnant for the second time. I wanted to focus my energy on growing a baby and not drinking wine for nine months.

Well, the baby is now four and just started pooing on the toilet this week. High-five! If he could get over his fear of pooing on the toilet, I can get over my fear of writing a blog that pokes fun at a town I am still actually living in.

You know what they say in New Age-speak – feel the fear and do it anyway.

Which brings me back to Wild Wild Country. Never have I seen so many peace-loving hippies inspiring so much fear and mistrust while feeling so self-righteous doing it. The egotism is astounding, particularly as these people are all about rising above ego.

This doco was shocking and funny, sad and salacious. It ticked all the boxes: greed, revenge, sex, drugs, attempted murder, fraud, nudity and wonderful cinematography. Even Christopher Hitchens (gee I miss the Hitch) makes an appearance, reporting in his younger days on the growing Sannyasin community in Pune, India.

Admittedly, it looked like they were having a lot of fun at Bhagwan’s ashram in India with all that group sex and dancing, and I probably would have joined them myself had I been old enough. Some of his ideas were undoubtedly liberating. But shit got real when they left India and imposed themselves on Wasco County, Oregon.

First, there was the sheer arrogance of barging in and buying the place up the way they did. Then they shipped a weirdo with a long beard and creepy eyes into the conservative little American town that had been built on Christian values and created Rajneeshpuram, as if it were their divine right, oblivious to local community sentiment.

The mass poisonings and surveillance of the locals that followed did nothing to endear them to the townsfolk. I can’t say I blamed Farmer Joe and his furends when they grabbed their gurns and did a few warning laps of the ashram.

But they weren’t met with a simple namaste. The Sannyasins were as hostile as they were horny in their orange, red and purple clothes, arming themselves to high heaven and fitting their daily shooting practice in between meditation sessions, orgies and disco dancing. Good times!

What disturbed me the most about this documentary wasn’t the attempted murder of Osho’s doctor, nor the huge collection of Rolls Royces, nor the amount of over-hugging that went on, but how they treated the homeless people.

They cruised America piling homeless people onto buses to use them for their votes in the local election, all the while making them feel they had a new home, with people who loved and cared for them. Like they belonged. The interviews with the homeless people were heartbreaking because I knew they were going to get burned.

It was party time for a while – free beer and cuddles – but when they were prevented from voting and were effectively useless to the Rajneeshis, they were unceremoniously chucked out of the ashram like stray dogs. Dumped back on the street. Not even returned to the street they once called home, but dumped in a new, unfamiliar street. I hope a few of them managed to get lucky before they were turfed out.

Things went from bad to worse and almost ended in a shootout between the armed hippies and the feds. Thankfully, Osho and his throne were whisked away on a Learjet and the crisis was averted. The feds found him hiding behind a seat – totally innocent of course – on a plane headed for Bermuda with a million dollars worth of diamonds and half a million big ones in cash. Perhaps he planned to feed some starving children with those riches.

The things people do in the name of spirituality!

Everyone hates Ma Anand Sheela, Osho’s secretary, and she was depicted as the real villain of the story. But I found her sort of likeable, the way I found Hannibel Lecter sort of likeable in Silence of the Lambs. Osho was woosy and vain compared to her; she’d give the finger to anyone who crossed her. If you don’t know who I’m talking about, I need only write two words: TOUGH TITTIES.

Sheela may have been a sociopathic, narcisstic egomaniac, but I do thank her for her brilliant contribution to the Aussie vernacular. I use it to quell my children’s complaints over food or lack thereof, as do many other parents who saw that 60 Minutes episode in the eighties. As an eloquent way of saying suck it up, it has no equivalent.

Tough titties. Tough titties. Tough TITTIEEEES!

So, thanks Sheela. Thanks Osho. Thanks Sannyasins. And thanks Wild Wild Country. It was a real eye-opener and you got me blogging again. For that, I praise you.

Did you watch Wild Wild Country? Scroll down and leave a comment, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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4 thoughts on “Hippies with guns – not the worst thing about Wild Wild Country”

  1. Lol. Welcome back. Loved every minute of that show. Binge watched it over 3 nights. Yeah, the way they treated the homeless people. WTF. It was all love and mung beans to start with, but of course they didn’t know how to deal appropriately with the mental illness that can be a part of being homeless. Oh, let’s just put something in the beer to sedate them!
    To me it was confirmation that there is no getting beyond the ego, no transcendence above the sheer strangeness of what it is to be human, and that power corrupts – absolutely!

    1. Oh yeah, I forgot about the part where they DRUGGED THEM! Unbelievable what people will do in the name of so-called spirituality. I think you’re right about no getting beyond the ego as humans. Maybe we’re better off just accepting it. Power corrupts, yes. What really irks me though is when ‘spiritual’ people pretend they don’t run power trips and aren’t as ego-driven as everyone else. Thanks for commenting Rach, you’re my first!

  2. I know exactly what you mean, and never trust people like that. It’s dishonest and serves nobody. Be your glorious human self, embrace the less savoury parts, recognise them when they show up and transform them (which you can only ever choose to do in the moment and it’s not necessarily long lasting!). Denying those parts even exist in the first place is simply delusion.

    What I thought was so wonderful about Wild Wild Country was that everyone on it was so bloody human, so full of imperfection; but the desire to reach for something more, reach for an ideal was honourable. The trouble started when the people thought they’d arrived at that ideal place. You can’t ever reach it! You can only reach for it. Whenever you think you are there, you are further away than ever. The Holy Grail was never meant to be found, but only ever searched for. It’s in the searching that the magic happens.

    I actually admired Sheela. She paid for her heinous actions and went on to give back. I loved watching her dancing around in the last few scenes with the people she cared for and looked after. She redeemed herself in my eyes.

    As for Osho? He’s bigger than ever, as the dozens of books from him that sit in the New Age section of Gertrude & Alice (where I sit now) testify. The search continues 🙂

    1. Yeah I spent enough time pursuing similar ideals and as I said, probably would have joined them had I been born a decade earlier. Sheela – I admired aspects of her and I also liked the ending. But I still reckon she showed no remorse or empathy for what was essentially criminal behaviour. A fascinating character though. Osho – I really can’t get my head around him.

A penny for your thoughts?

Leigh Robshaw

Journalist – Feature Writer – Author

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