Lauren Hough and The Dangerous Minds of Social Media Groupthink.

Lauren Hough was a name that I did not know two weeks ago. A friend of mine contact me via Facebook and asked if I’d heard about the latest dustup concerning an author on Twitter.

Nope.

I am permanently banned on Twitter for standing up to White Supremacists.

I digress.

“Apparently, she got a good review on Goodreads and then made fun of the reviewer.”

That seemed odd so I went over to Goodreads to take a look and sure enough, this author who had just wrote a book containing essays about her life, was hit with hundreds of one star reviews.

In the reviews themselves were screen captured images of the tweets she had tweeted calling Goodreads Reviewers “Fucking Nerds.”

Why would she do this? Why would a first time author throw herself (and her career) off a cliff with the first book she ever published.

What’s happening here?

So, I scrolled back up to the actual book and read the description.

I bought it immediately.

Lauren Hough grew up in a cult — a sex cult — called The Family. When the book arrived yesterday afternoon, I consumed it in no time flat. Why?

Her book, Leaving isn’t the Hardest Thing is a tour-de-force, the torture she went through was real, her experiences are valid, and Lauren’s reaction to that review is understandable given what she went through.

We’re not talking about a piece of fiction. We’re talking about the real life experiences of a woman who was tortured in the name of God.

Here’s a bit of my own Goodreads Review:

“Lauren Hough is a master storyteller. Her ability to paint a picture of desperation on the fringes of life is nothing short of awe-inspiring while the stories contained herein are grotesque and brutal, that all the while, turn an accusatory gaze up at the world of latte-sipping, blog posting, scarf-wearing, “woke”- tweeting, middle America who’ve convinced themselves of their progressiveness, or their societal awareness because they’ve read a book written by Maya Angelou or Toni Morrison or call themselves ‘an ally.’”

I find it disturbing on so many, many, many levels that we would pan this book because we don’t like the attitude of it’s creator. That an attempt would be made to destroy her career over the sensibilities of people.

I grew up in a cult. While not as infamous as “The Family” — this woman wrote my life in the pages of her memoir. I understood someone’s grief and felt her pain and laughed at the gallows humor of it all because I understood what that kind of life entails. I’ve been writing my own blog series about my own experiences and I’ll be Goddamned if I didn’t end up saying a lot of the same things while coming to the same conclusions she did.

Maybe I’m biased. Maybe as an author, as a queer man, as cult survivor myself, I am biased. I’ll give you that. But fuck you, this thing nearly killed me and there are days when I can’t even function properly. There are days when I feel lonely, and scared, and my only alternative is to fight through irrational thoughts or succumb to them, take medication, and sleep.

I can’t help but remember the scene from Dangerous Minds where Michelle Pfeiffer’s character tells a young man to go the principle of the school and let him know his problems only to be turned away by that principle for the way he entered into the room.

The kid ends up dead simply because the principle refused to hear the content of his message.

How many times have black women been shouted down or turned away or completely ignored because she was ‘too hood?’

How many gay boys have been ignored, abused, and tormented because they were ‘too flamboyant’?

How do these aspects of a personality diminish, in any legitimate way, the stories of the people?

Why is ‘niceness’ a prerequisite for understanding?

In the era of #Metoo and #Timesup and #Churchtoo — it’s insane to me that a subject like this could be ignored because it’s author offended the sensibilities of a class of people who didn’t like the way she presented herself. Because, perhaps, the content of the book is so personal, and so raw, and so absolutely hers that she reacted badly — even to a good review?

In Tina Turner’s recent documentary produced by HBOmax, Angela Basset said, “It’s hard when the worst parts of your life has been an inspiration.”

Tina Turner couldn’t handle it and she was in the public eye for forty years.

This lady is brand new to the public eye.

This was a story about children who were handed off to men for sexual gratification. A story where grown women initiated sexual contact with children to ‘teach them’ what it is they should be doing. A story about a young girl who let boys ‘hump her’ because if she fought back she’d be discovered as a lesbian.

My. God.

To me, that class of people are why things never change in this society. People are too tired, they’re too fucked up, they’ve been through too much to twist themselves up to be presentable for cocktail hour at the social media golf club so’s they can win the benevolence of the fashionably sensitive and the stylishly woke.

Fuck. That. Sideways. With a Cactus.

There are tens of thousands of survivors and victims in the Independent Fundamental Baptist Church alone desperate for voices to guide them out of the hell that exists between their ears. People who’ve been abused for years and years in all manner of ways physical, emotional, sexual, and spiritual. Brutalized in ways that send their abusers to prison for decades.

But let us be nice for you.

If Lauren’s voice is diminished then thousands of voices disappear with her and it wouldn’t be the cult who silenced her — it would be the result of the dangerous minds of social media groupthink.

Which might as well be the same goddamn thing.

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Frederick E Feeley Jr

Frederick E Feeley Jr

Queer AF Author. Poet. Songwriter. Screenwriter. Human Being.