Out on a Limb

A blast from the past–a clip from Shirley MacLaine’s ostensibly autobiographical made-for-TV movie, Out on a Limb. I showed this clip to one of my classes last week to accompany a discussion of counterculture and New Age religions. The realization that this clip is older than most of my students drives home to me my age in a way I could do without.

Earlier during the same class session, students had tittered through our reading of texts by the “Jesus freaks.” But after they watched this clip, the mood in the classroom seemed more somber. I wish we’d had time to talk about that reaction. Were students “thrown” by the supernatural claims–e.g., the channeled Pleiadian driving the car? Did the clip leave them wondering, “Is this real?” Did the straight face I maintained while pointing out characteristic elements of MacLaine’s New Age worldview leave students wondering if I think this is real, making them cautious about their own reactions? Do I have evangelical students inclined to interpret these claims as demonic?

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