Below are 2 filmnut.org blog posts tagged podcast

Today I finished the Mogul: The Life and Death of Chris Lighty podcast. I enjoyed it.

If you're not familiar with Lighty, he was a "500 pound Gorilla"-level manager of major hip hop artists. When I started the podcast, I didn't think I had heard of him, but it didn't take me long to recognise him as A Tribe Called Quest's manager that is a talking head in Michael Rapaport's outstanding documentary Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest (I vividly remember Lighty from that documentary, because he used the term "esoteric" in his interview in referring to Q-Tip, and I remember that was the first time I had heard that word used before). Lighty's was a true rags-to-riches story, which ends in a tragic suicide.

Aside from being a well-produced, thoughtful deep dive into an interesting subject, I was struck throughout the podcast by how wonderful it is that someone would take the time to tell this story. Lighty isn't a big enough name to carry a film documentary, and that's where the podcast medium really shines. It allows you to do deep dives into subjects that have (seemingly) small audiences, but using a richer medium than long-form written journalism.

Below is a trailer of the podcast.

I quickly surged through the entire Heaven's Gate podcast. I had obviously heard of the group before, but I only knew the big broad strokes. Below are three new things that I learned from the podcast:

  • While Herff Applewhite was the face of the group (and the face that I remember from news coverage), the group's dominant leader/founder was Bonnie Nettles (who died 12 years before the mass suicide). Nettles and Applewhite were known as Ti and Do, respectfully
  • A number of the male members castrated themselves while in the group. From a Rolling Stone article:
    Applewhite and other members underwent the procedure to help ensure they remained celibate. Applewhite, who had been fired as a music professor at the University of St. Thomas in 1970 after administrators learned he had sex with a male student, sought cures for his homosexual urges. He wanted to find a way to have "platonic relationship where he could develop his full potential without sexual entanglements," said one reporter who infiltrated the group in 1975. Castration, Applewhite believed, could make that easier. Ultimately, the group instituted a strict "no sex, no human-level relationships, no socializing" rule.

    Though decisions like this were always left up to the members, eight followers were castrated voluntarily, including Applewhite. "They couldn't stop smiling and giggling," former member DiAngelo told Newsweek. "They were excited about it."
  • While 39 members committed suicide as a group in March 1997, four additional members (who weren't present during the group suicide) killed themself later, on their own.
Below is a trailer for the podcast. I recommend it.