As 2015 winds down we offer you a story about redemption, forgiveness and torture. When Margo’s husband is killed in a terrorist attack, she is given Ali Baba, a terrorist clone. This is how it works in Christian America in this piece of speculative fiction (although we like the term Sly-fi). Will Margo use her new Walmart deluxe torture kit? Or does she have a greater plan? Also your host declares war on God!



14 comments on Alaska Is Closer (Holy War part I of II)

  1. Charles Boardman says:

    Benjamen – Thank fucking Krampus! This show is a MUCH welcome return to the brilliant surreal meandering that is – perhaps paradoxically – so much more incisive & profound than your more overtly analytical “serious” podcasts about the sharing economy, in which you try to be, like, what, a philosophical investigative journalist, I’m not sure… I say this all with love, but, let it be known that it was only pure laziness that kept me from unsubscribing in the depths of the increasingly tedious & repetitive gripes about the scourge of uber & airbnb & capitalism (which, like, yes, of course, and so?), but this most recent episode – capturing some of the beautiful, imaginative horrors present in The Man Without a Country – has reminded me, definitively, emphatically, of why I started listening to you in the first place. Please – you are much more interesting – &, paradoxically, insightful – when you release yourself from the onus of “making a point,” & simply muse & invent & spin fancies, rather than overtly, intentionally develop “serious” critiques! The surreal – it is your calling! Do not ignore your calling again!

    1. Zack says:

      How about don’t pander to the minority of your listeners that place conditions on your work and utilize the threat of unsubscribing to coerce you into only producing content they approve of… He’s probably an Uber driver

      1. Charles Boardman says:

        Nah man. I actually share Benjamen’s objections to the sharing economy and don’t in any way benefit from it. I live in Portland, OR, and lots of my friends can’t afford to live w/in the city limits in part b/c of airbnb-style market pressures. I have never taken an uber or a lyft. HOWEVER, I have an opinion about the variable qualities of the media I expose myself to, which, as far as I can tell, it’s ok for me share. Right? No? I offered Benjamen an opinion, which, clearly, is mine alone. Whether he attends to my opinion or not wouldn’t be “pandering,” it would be receiving a divergent opinion and allowing it to exist within the multitude of decision-making forces that are at work within you already. Nor was I “threatening” unsubscribing. I was just saying a true fact: I almost unsubscribed during the sort of lengthy period, where he – to me, in my opinion – seemed to be recycling the same ideas over and over without advancing them substantially. It’s just how I…felt? Is that ok? I wanted to say something to him, I guess, because I *so* enjoyed the Alaska Holy Wars episode, and remembered how much I had *so* enjoyed the Man Without a Country, and just wanted to – you know – share my opinion. No threats, no pandering, no disagreement about the merits of the “sharing” economy, just an opinion about something. Like, in what world does me writing my opinion become so outrageous to you that feel the need to, like, um, discredit me with insinuations about my work, or by claiming – illogically, improbably – that you somehow speak for the majority of TOE listeners? Perhaps you do! But, it is also possible that I do, and that many people are relieved & pleased at this recent return to a more imaginative technique. Who knows? I feel like it’s sort of boring & tepid to think that a comment like mine, above, which clearly praises Benjamen’s work & thinking (“brilliant” etc), and which clearly comes from a place of real appreciation & familiarity would make someone else feel so…threatened? I dunno… that they need to, like, belittle me… Like, um, free exchange of ideas? Mature critical dialog? Do you agree or disagree with my assessment? Do you like the “sharing” economy episodes better? Good. Cool. Tell me about it. Engage with my points specifically, if you don’t find them valid…

        1. Jason says:

          ^^^ This piece of work is absolutely amazing. I’ve listened to all of TOE and TMI, I feel like I know that Ben knew where he was going, and he knows what he released. This piece is literally fucking amazing. That last few episodes lacked a little bit, but this one… is incredible, it brings to light the host that I love. I completely agree with Charles. This and Man Without a Country are my favorite episodes, but I do love the analytical approach in the other episodes. The music loops are also incredible, opened my eyes to Polma Polpo :DD

  2. chad says:

    I like all your stuff. Surreal and meandering. . . analytical and serious. . . it is all good. I loved the series on the sharing economy- nice meta-wink being outsourced. Keep it up. . . ALL of it.
    As for this particular episode- interesting parable. If it were not for the “part 1” in the title, I might have some comments shooting out over the internet. Perhaps I could tweet a generous 490 character response or thought. As it is, I will refrain.
    Nice work in 2015. I look forward 2016.

    1. Zack says:

      I enjoy the surreal meanderings just as much as his philosophical investigative journalism. I enjoy the product that is available to me free of charge and I believe that the fewer filters and faceless influences, the better. I didn’t belittle you, I didn’t feel threatened. I simply said that you were placing conditions on the acceptance of his work and using threats in an attempt to get the content you approve of. This is your right, just as it is my right to disagree with your attempt (Disagreement is a very key piece to the free exchange of ideas). The only point I would like to engage you with is your use of vocables in your writing. Vocables are useful in speaking as they fill empty space and allow you time to move to your next idea. But when you use vocables in your writing the same way you use them in your speech, your words overpower and cloud the point you were trying to make. If you eliminated them I believe it would make your writing much more impactful.

      The Uber Driver comment was an attempt at humor (apparently a very poor one at that).

  3. James says:


    Thank you for this episode – one of your best yet. There is no doubt that you are well aware of the backlash that this will surely get from the alarmingly high number of Trump/Carson/Jesus loving Christians out there. Thank you for being brave enough to say what needs to be said. Thank you for not shying away from the reality that “religion poisons everything.”

    1. Connor says:

      Yeah you definitely inserted all of those themes in personally. The episode just served to highlight the immense hypocrisy of mainstream Christianity, which, as you hopefully know, is not even the majority of Christians, even in America.

  4. Bonnie says:

    Yes, what James said. Very good. Bravo!! Anxiously awaiting Holy Part Two.

  5. Fred Pollack says:

    Awesome episode. Looking forward to part 2.

    By coincidence, I suppose. David Silverman, president of American Atheists, is out with a new book, titled “Fighting God: . . .”. Last week, he did a great interview on TheThinkingAtheist podcast. Also available on YouTube.

  6. J says:

    This is my first time listening to a Theory of Everything episode… and it was flippin’ fantastic! Disturbing, thoughtful, and so interesting. I didn’t know what to expect when I pushed play, so I was completely caught off guard.

    Now I’m off to listen to plenty more episodes!

  7. sarah says:

    Hi Benjamen,
    Often, when troubling current events are reported, I find myself wondering what thoughts you might have to offer on what it means to be human in our time. In this episode you delivered a particularly unique, compassionate and uncanny narrative that I found really comforting. Thanks for providing such a thoughtful voice. Your podcast is awesome.
    Also, I became a contributing member to radiotopia b/c of TOE—I ended up getting the challenge coin for my S.O. but your Michael Deforge T is mega. >.O

  8. Rob says:

    I am considered an evangelical christian by many of my non-christian friends (although I don’t necessarily consider myself to be one). I believe in Christ Jesus and attempt to emulate his lifestyle and teachings.
    Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way- I really want to say “bravo”! This MOVED me so deeply. It spoke to my own troubled spirit as I consider how the American Church’s embrace of the State and politics has long driven me out of fellowship.
    As soon as I pulled my headphones out of my ears, my wife shared this article with me, which dovetailed so nicely that I thought it was worth sharing again here.

    Thank you so much, Ben. Please keep up the good work!

  9. Ryan says:

    As a Christian, I still hate all the evils of the world. Benjamen, I see that you’re a caring man, with a great love for humanity. I understand your anger at any God that might exist, and I’ve felt it myself at times.
    You tore through all the usual defenses we Christians give, with ease. You’re not going to be satisfied with platitudes, and I respect you for that. But your answer is no more satisfying than the one you reject! We kill God, but replace him with what? A humanistic push for “betterment”? What more nebulous a goal can there be?

    Ultimately, I want to ask you: What is the purpose of life? I’m not sure I’d believe you, if you told me there isn’t one. I’m curious to know your answer, if you’d take the time.

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