Every HBO Documentary is good, so this is full of spoilers and it’s more “thoughts on the series” than it is bulletpoints about the quality of the production. So you can skip this Hot Takes entry if you don’t want spoilers.
1. I always believed Dylan from the first time I became aware of the story. However, I never actually went looking for much detail about what happened and I figured it was a He Said / She Said situation where his supporters simply believed him instead of her. I had NO IDEA there was SO MUCH corroboration of various parts of her story from so many people. I refuse to believe that all of the people who support Woody Allen actually know the details. I believe the misogynists and the basement babies and the members of the Woody Cult have the ability to read it all and still side with him, but I can’t wrap my head around so many people in the industry supporting him and knowing the details of what Dylan had to say and the statements by people around her.
2. Dylan isn’t super likeable. It is what it is. It’s much easier to disbelieve a victim you don’t like, and I think part of her uphill battle rests on that. We see it all the time. Likeable victims, The Perfect Victim — they’re more likely to see justice served.
3. Why does Mia have so many kids? And why are they all brown? Including the kids who have passed away, Mia has 14 children. The only white ones are the ones she gave birth to and Dylan. All of the children Mia Farrow adopted were brown, until Woody wanted a white girl baby.
4. Hindsight is 20/20, but sometimes flags are RED right in your face right in the present. When Woody told Mia he didn’t want any children and didn’t want to be a father to the gang of kids she already had, that should’ve told her he wasn’t fatherhood material. Since he didn’t want to have kids, she asked him if he’d be open to adopting a child, and he still said no. And then. He said he might be okay with it if she adopted a little blonde girl. Is that not a red flag???? The man you’re with, who has shown zero interest in any of your children and doesn’t want any children at all, says he’s fine if you adopt a child as long as it’s a blonde girl. WHAT!
5. If ten children say “Mia was a great mom” and two say “Mia beat us” which kids do you believe? What if one of those two kids was married to a child molester and the other was being financially supported by the child molester? I don’t know why people give Moses or Soon-Yi any airtime. They are clearly lying for Woody. Mia’s ten other children are not lying for her.
6. Woody Allen has 40 years of films that say “This old Manhattan twerp has a barely legal girlfriend” because he is an old Manhattan twerp who wanted a barely legal girlfriend. That movie where Mariel Hemmingway is 17? How do people watch that? And hold it up as a classic piece of great cinema?
7. I wholly support the prosecutor who declined to take the case to trial. I had this vague notion that he didn’t push forward because Woody was rich and powerful, but the fact that he didn’t want to put Dylan through a trial was the correct decision at the time. Sometimes all of the options suck, and in his case, he had no good ones. He could retraumatize her — likely to no effect — or he could let it go.
8. I’m glad people who worked with Woody are starting to come around and support Dylan. Unfortunately there aren’t enough of them, but some is better than none, and ten years ago it was none. Dylan’s determination to speak out is part of the reason there are more supporters now. She has contributed to a climate where we listen to women more and a climate where women are more likely to speak out against powerful men. Props to Dylan Farrow.
Hot Takes: LuLaRich
Compared to NXIVM and Scientology, this is a much calmer Escaping the Cult documentary.
1. Not to get on my lil Atheist Soapbox so early on the Lord’s Day or anything, but damn. Y’all really do ruin a lot of stuff by randomly throwing religion into things where it simply does not belong whatsoever. There’s no reason to quote the Book of Mormon to women who just wanna sell ugly leggings.
2. The girl who designs the ugly leggings is such a stoner and I’m obsessed with her. I’m one-thousand percent sure she hates 98% of the LuLaRoe customer base, so she’s great in my book.
3. Last night when we watched it, my main takeaway was that Money Corrupts. This perfectly wholesome maxi-dress company for stay-at-home moms ballooned into a cult-like pyramid scheme where the owners took zero responsibility for problems within the organization all because of greed. I was actually very impressed with the startup story of how DeAnne created LuLaRoe and I honestly believe she and her husband only had the best of intentions. I don’t think they set out to defraud anybody or steal money from anyone at all, and then the company got away from them and they couldn’t admit their failures or own up to the things they were doing badly.
4. This morning after I’ve slept on it, I’m walking that back, because money can’t corrupt you out of nowhere. All the seeds where already there in the Stidham’s belief system: patriarchy, bootstraps, and unacknowledged white supremacy. If DeAnne and Mark ran LuLaRoe the way she ran it when she had 3 sellers, we wouldn’t be sitting here talking about how disgusting they are. But they also wouldn’t be sitting on a billion dollar business.
5. The pot-selling nephew is a joke. The whole family is a joke but he’s such an obnoxious piece of human.
6. MLMs are pyramid schemes. It is what it is. I grew up in the Rural South. I am so *so!* familiar with pyramid schemes. I can’t tell you how many “meetings” I went to with my grandma, held in some small conference room of a Howard Johnson or Holiday Inn, where the scammer of the month rolled through with a new product to “sell” based on a structure that was essentially just a money tree. You put $10 in this week and get $100 back in three weeks! Some are worse than others and LuLaRoe is definitely toward the crappier end of things, but I wanna make a lil sidenote about MLMs — not everybody goes into it wanting to be a seller. A lot of them are structured just like LuLaRoe, where you make more money by bringing in people under you than you make from selling the clothes, but whereas LuLaRoe worked on this massive startup cost of thousands of dollars with a truckload of clothes you would never personally use, some MLMs have more reasonable startup costs and a small buy-in of product that some “sellers” use just for themselves. If you’re in a pyramid scheme selling fancy coffee beans and you try to sell me some, maybe I like the product and I buy a couple of bags for $20 a piece. Then you say, “you know, you could make some money and be a seller too. I buy these from the company for $10 a piece, so I make $10 profit on each one. It’s only $100 to sign up.” Well to me that sounds like I can become a “seller” and get these beans for half off, and now I have ten bags of coffee. If I sell it, fine, but it’s really just for my household. So many MLMs have a huge “seller” base that never intends to actually sell anything. LuLaRoe isn’t one of them, but I kinda wish that point had been made in the documentary because it shows LuLaRoe is even more unscrupulous by comparison.
7. I don’t think we’d be watching this documentary after 50 lawsuits if they hadn’t let the product quality slip while also refusing to acknowledge the product quality slipped. If you send me stuff that smells, stuff that’s wet, stuff with holes in it, etc. and then cop a smarmy little attitude when I can’t sell it or complain about the merchandise, I’m gonna assume (rightfully) that you’re a pisspot little human and I no longer care about your company. You’re a crook and I want you to go down for taking advantage of me and everyone else. LuLaRoe expanded too quickly to keep up with quality control. If they had just admitted that and taken the loss (which they could absolutely afford to do!) they would still be as big as they were three years ago
8. I wore a pair of the low-quality leggings and they ripped after 30 minutes of walking. My Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis were just out of control on 8th Avenue for everybody to see. I had to run into a shop and buy some shorts.
9. To reiterate! LuLaRoe is a cult of patriarchy and white supremacy, but they would still be a wildly successful MLM if they had handled the quality control issues with any amount of grace and empathy. It’s hard for me to feel bad for women who got in over their heads with a company that is so clearly exclusionary from all of the promotional materials and advertisements they make. You joined a White Jesus Cult. I don’t really care about the consequences of that terrible decision.
10. Y’all were buying ugly clothes off FACEBOOK! I just have to laugh.
11. LuLaRich doesn’t have the same kind of forward motion that Fyre Fraud did (the same team did both documentaries). I wasn’t quite as engaged over the course of the 4-episode series as I was with Fyre Fraud, but it was still interesting to watch it come together and fall apart. It’s not an absolute Must-See, but still enjoyable, especially if you like to see people talk about cults they were in. As far as the genre of Escaping a Cult goes, this is a lot easier to watch than the ones about NXIVM and Scientology, because the stakes are more along the lines of ruining your credit as opposed to ruining your entire life.
12. How long has this lady had braces? That’s not a read, because she is so cute and fun, but I’m genuinely curious.
Score: 6.5 / 10
Watch: LuLaRich Trailer
Let me get into this MLM documentary. Y’all know I love white mess.
LuLaRoe makes trash leggings. Know how I know? I swiped a pair from a girl I was hooking up with, and after about thirty minutes of wear, my ham candle came right on out to light up the world and say hi to the people. Now, I’m aware that women’s leggings are not exactly shaped to hold a penis, but I have many, many, many pairs of women’s leggings (I wear then fairly often in the winter under jeans or under some of my flowy summer outfits I still want to wear in cooler weather) and all of them lasted more than 30 minutes.
So that’s point one. I’m invested in this documentary as a person who is confused about how this company got so big selling a garbage product.
Point two is, I don’t know why, but I love a White Fraud Exposé. Fyre Festival, Theranos, WeWork, Caroline Calloway, Anna Delvey — inject them all directly into my veins. As far as a I know, LuLaRoe has not risen to (or been exposed as) a fraud on the same scale as some of the others, but any business whose model is based on white women drumming up business via Facebook Messenger is not a business planted firmly on good practices and ethical treatment of its sellers.
The documentary comes out on September 10th via Amazon Prime, and I think I’m gonna have a ball. Plus, look at the trailer.
“I did turn down the cruise….I love white people to death. Just bein on a boat in the middle of nowhere? I’ll see y’all when y’all get back. ”
LuLaRich sounds like appointment viewing!
Hot Takes: Bob Ross – Happy Accidents, Betrayal, and Greed
A cautionary tale about being careful who you go into business with.
1. It never occurred to me that people were painting along with Bob Ross? I thought we were all just watching The Joy of Painting like we watch cooking shows. Unless y’all be cooking from them shows too???? Let me re-examine everything I know about life and get back to you.
2. LOL @ Bob Ross talking like that trying to be sexy! I thought he was trying to put me to sleep, not trying to make the lunchlady wet.
3. Speaking of sleep, it actually took me three tries to finish this documentary because I fell asleep the first two times. Something about it just didn’t grab me the way most Netflix documentaries do, and I think it’s because there are no personalities to hold my attention. Everyone featured is a calm, measured, everyday kind of person. No one really has the energy to make it compelling television, so you have to be wholly invested in the story instead.
4. I’m not invested in the story. Bob Ross got into business with greedy, unscrupulous people. That sounds like An Average Day In America, but it can definitely serve as a reminder to have a lawyer draw up your wills, contracts, successions, etc. in such a way that every contingency is planned for. If you don’t want one person to be able to sign away your rights without input from the other people, plan for that.
5. Affairs really do happen in the unlikeliest of places, and y’all want me to care about marriage or monogamy! Tch!
6. You don’t sue people all the time if you have nothing to hide. The only people who file lawsuits all the time are people who are trying to use the legal system to intimidate and silence others who would expose them for the crooks they are. The Kowalskis who own Bob Ross’s name are crooks. If you have stolen a man’s name and it’s making you millions of dollars but you haven’t given that man’s son any of the profits, you are an amoral human being.
7. Unfortunately, this is probably a skip. The most interesting thing is honestly learning that his wet-on-wet oil painting style is a very old technique called alla prima that they first started using centuries ago to depict hair and fabric. You don’t need to spend 90 minutes watching it — just read a synopsis.
8. Imagine a white man today perming his hair so he could have an afro on TV. I’m hollering. 🤣🤣🤣
Hot Takes: LuLaRich
The Big Tent failure of the Democratic Party.
The Bible is not pro-life.
Hot Takes: LuLaRich
Hurricane Ida is fake in Trumpistan.
Watch: LuLaRich Trailer
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