“Talk Dirty and Live Clean”

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If reading our interview with Peter Rock (and getting psyched for his reading tomorrow) has whetted your appetite for cult stories, check out this piece on Synanon by George Pendle, highlighted by Longform earlier this week.

Things start out all right, with a recovering alcoholic named Chuck Dederich meeting with some Alcoholics Anonymous pals for “bull sessions.” By the end, we’ve got forcibly shaved heads and farmers waking up to the sounds of child runaways.

Oh, and mandatory vasectomies—but you don’t have to worry about that, because according to Dederich, having a baby is just “like crapping a football,” anyway.


Lauren O'Neal is an MFA student at San Francisco State University. Her writing has appeared in publications like Slate, The New Inquiry, and The Hairpin. You can follow her on Twitter at @laureneoneal. More from this author →