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Scarred (Never After Series)

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I didn't know much about NXIVM until I read this book. I was surprised to learn how many men were a part of this cult, because the news coverage described it as a sex cult with famous actresses involved. More information is available now, including the documentary, "The Vow" (at this point I've only seen the first episode). From the very start Edmondson seems emotionally needy and mentally unstable. Leaders of the Nexium group play on these issues and slowly pull her into the organization's crazy Scientology-like system of self-esteem mixed with abuse. The author calls the group a "cult" but it's not by normal definition--they didn't force her to stay in it and she freely hopped planes regularly to fly across country to attend ridiculous seminars. The leaders would guilt-trip her and she would buy into it. Once or twice might make you feel some sympathy--but all the time over a period of twelve years? She has to shoulder a lot of the blame. As an aside I recently introduced my daughter to 1970's Worzel Gummidge and she LOVED it, but it was strange viewing the show through a modern lens. Worzel's awakening is more akin to a Fulci zombie film, Aunt Sally, the Crowman and other scarecrows are remarkably cruel and barbaric, the children are abandoned by an alcoholic largely absent father, Babs Windsor as Saucy Nancy is remarkably cheeky 70's smut, Worzel's head removing is terrifying and of course Worzel's kindly threatening of Aunt Sally plays domestic abuse for laughs - all this in a hilarious daytime TV show for kids) La forma tan intima y respetuosa que tiene Sarah de contar su historia hace que este libro no se vuelva tan pesado, si bien el tema es delicado, Sarah lo sabe llevar muy bien sin caer en el morbo, lo único que deseas es justicia.

The rest of the book covers other aspects of pop culture that fed the minds of the nation and put the fear of god (or whatever monster) up them. From Public Information films (“Sensible children! I have no power over them!”); Toys and games; Movies, where we get essays about such things as English Folk Horror, those big American horror films that they were too young to watch (The Exorcist and it’s ilk); dystopian science fiction and dark, downbeat pop movies like Stardust and Slade in Flame. T here’s a terrible habit, when looking at the culture of a decade, to not go into any depth; it’s an easy task to just laugh at the fashions, or assume that referring to a handful of common references will cover it. The 1980s in the UK were a time of unemployment, poverty, social unrest, and political divisions – not just everybody wearing red braces, having fax machines and watching John Hughes movies… Don’t Call It A Cult by Sarah Berman (journalist’s reports of various women who have escaped NXIVM and their experiences in the cult) Sarah Edmondson was in the NXIVM cult for 12 years before she paid attention to all the red flags. For much of the book, she's explaining the teachings of the cult...many that actually make sense and sound like self-help learnings. I wonder if writing the book this way is her way to show HOW she fell for the BS. It wasn't until she was branded in a secret, nude, blind-folded, women-only darkened ceremony that she "woke up" and started working to get out.Pirating from all sorts of existing philosophies including Scientology, The Four Agreements, Dianetics, the martial arts system of growth, and ultimately components of Hinduism and the Klu Klux Klan, Keith Raniere developed a complex university of human potential. Most of the concepts are actually pretty stellar ideas—credit to the people who originally devised them—and had NXIVM continued in a direction for good, it could have done some pretty great things, much like Hitler, but we all know how that story ends. Most of the book is deadly dull as she details every step of her naive journey. The final chapters, as she tries to leave the group after she is branded, are the most interesting. But the fact that it took her agreeing to be branded to finally see the light means that there was something seriously wrong with her beyond the Nexium group. And she had many chances to walk away from it--instead she succumbed to more peer pressure and placed herself on the table. It certainly wasn’t enough to dampen my enjoyment. For much of the last few weeks my face has been plastered with the same silly grin it wore in the late 80s/early 90s when ‘Sapphire & Steel’ was released on VHS and I was able to revisit one of the best TV shows ever made. And ‘Scarred for Life’ has assured me that I am not alone in that opinion: not for nothing are theirs the first eyes gazing enigmatically from the cover. Imagínate que un día tu vida es tan miserable que sientes que no hay nada que llene tu vacío, que sientes que eres un fracaso entonces te encuentras con un grupo de gente que te dice que el problema está en ti y sólo en ti, que debes dejar ciertos patrones que llevas cargando desde pequeño para poder vivir la vida que quieres y entonces ¡boom! crees haber encontrado la respuesta al existo, pero de repente esa misma gente te dice que hay ciertas limitaciones y que debes obedecer a cierto líder, comienza a controlar tu vida y a usar todos tus secretos en tu contra, imagínate que tienes taaan normalizado ese control que terminas marcada por las iniciales de un narcisista psicópata y tú ni siquiera te puedes dar cuenta... Pues eso fue lo que pasó Sarah en nxivm y muchas otras chicas que fueron engañadas y adoctrinadas por una secta que les prometió existo pero lo único que logró fue arruinarles las vida.

But other society fears – closer to home – also found their way onto the TV. The fear of unemployment and the increase of poverty are examined, with TV documentaries covering it and dramas and comedies dealing with the people experiencing it. The way that race and disability were covered began to change as well, and the book contains sections on the new wave of drama dealing with these topics; the American concept of the ‘Very Special Episode’ is also explained, where sitcoms dealt with non-funny subject matter. Although I’m reading a lot of stuff about NXIVM, this will probably be the only review I post so I’m including further reading that I am doing in case you want to embark on this little obsession with me. Wow wow wow. What I notice most is one the curtain fell foor this Keith Raniere guy his followers. all of a sudden think nothing at all was good.It is interesting that for a lot of people when something bad happens they only see the bad. I understand that they want to say they are victims and I think they are in a way but my my my how they profited of it all as well. I do think that about Sarah Edmondson. She was so good in getting so many others to sign up for this thing which cost them a ton of money and I am sure she believed it was all so good but take some responsibility about that. Same with the filmmaker guy. TV takes up nearly half the book, such is the rich vein of brilliance to be mined. Because it wasn’t only kid’s TV that put the willies up the nation, adults were treated to such downbeat fare as Callan, Play For Today, Gangsters and all those peculiarly British dystopias such as Doomwatch, Survivors and Quatermass. No wonder it was a troubled decade. We were basically being told the future was rubbish! But in amongst all this there was some gloriously low budget, but highly imaginative, prime time Sci-Fi to be had as well. UFO, Space 1999 and Blake’s 7 to name but a few. Plus there’s a whole section devoted to Doctor Who (of course!) The fact that she was responsible for bringing in hundreds of members and hundreds of thousands of dollars makes her seem even less easy to relate to. She knew exactly what she was doing, and somehow thought nothing of taking money from people for unintelligent courses that she questioned the value of. None of it makes any sense. A normal person with thinking skills would have seen the organization's fraud from the start. It was merely a money-making scheme that she benefited from as she work her way up. Like Amway or Mary Kay, only without the products.Nostalgia seems to define and dictate our present culture, perhaps as it never has before, in ways undreamt-of as recently as a decade ago. Ever since our ability to record, edit and re-share the visual and sonic textures of our common (and sometimes uncommon) cultural experience became a viable option to those outside the entertainment industry, people (largely, it has to be said, bespectacled introverts with testicles and optional BO) have been doing so. First by exchanging physical objects with one another in the playground: physical objects like last night’s John Peel Show or that (“Honest to God it IS!”) snuff movie we got a loan of off our dodgy cousin in the next school along. Recorded onto magnetic tape and somehow both comically bulky to the eyes of today’s Netflix-and-Spotify-reared generation and simultaneously fragile, flimsy, as delicate as a butterfly’s wing. As digital files and the internet gradually came to replace pretty much every aspect of our day-to-day entertainment and social requirements the exchange now happens invisibly, across thousands of miles of fibre-optic cabling and through the phantom miracle of wi-fi. The launch of Channel 4 in 1982 provided another sense that boundaries were starting to stretch. The newly launched channel made an effort – not just in the original programming it offered and commissioned, but also in showing foreign language films and unconventional animation. For example, it screened Jan Svankmajer’s Alice (which is possibly the best adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland) cut up into six parts over the 1989-1990 New Year. If you look for further information on this, you’ll understand why it may have made an impact on impressionable viewers.

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