Like many of you, we at Casa Verde have been watching our share of streaming entertainment. We are watching the entire Star Wars canon, in chronological order within the Star Wars Universe. We have our Israeli/Jewish shows, like Fauda and the Plot Against America. But in case you are looking for something different to try, let me recommend a few series we’ve come across about cults of various kinds.
The first is a fictionalized limited series on the Waco stand-off and assault involving the ATF, FBI, and followers of David Koresh. The series is remarkably sympathetic to Koresh’s followers and to the efforts of the FBI negotiator who attempted to avert bloodshed. It raises interesting questions about what, if anything, distinguishes a cult from other religious movements, and about the dangers of getting on the wrong side of government force.
The second is a documentary about followers of Baghwan Shree Rajneesh who settled in a rural area of Oregon, coming into social and political conflict with the nearby town of Antelope and the broader political establishment of Oregon. Things escalate rapidly and in unexpected ways.
The third is a documentary about a completely different kind of cult — the sunny optimism of post-war corporate America. A writer for the Letterman show comes across records and footage of Broadway-style shows created and performed for industry conventions and corporate retreats. They’re hilarious, but also endearing. The musical is the American art form and musicals about how to improve corporate profits is the most American of that American art form.
Now that I can go out, I miss seeing The Music Man for a 4th time.
One of the greatest musicals of all time. And, in some sense, it is about how to sell things — making it among the most American of the American art form.