My good friend Sean Cole guest hosted TAL this week and we spoke about my trip to Kenya for Going Karura so I am going to post the original again to the feed for the folks who may find their way here.
While reporting in Nairobi, Kenya a group of striking Uber drivers turn your host on to a revolutionary strategy of resistance. Plus: stuck in a broken elevator!
Curse the USA and America will strike you up. That’s what happened to the Man Without a Country. They stuffed him in a hot air balloon and sentenced him to ride sea to shining sea for the rest of his days. I made my own version of Edward Everett Hale’s classic tale back in the early aughts. It was one of the first long form audio fiction pieces I ever wrote. Sadly, like many items in the ToE vaults the relevance is increasing with age. Here is a condensed remix for your summer 2020 travels, whether it's a trip across the country or a back and forth from the kitchen to the bedroom. You can find the original 3 part series in the ToE archive
As statues of slaveholders and Confederate War losers come down, we imagine what could go up in their stead, revisiting a conversation with artist and rememorialization expert Chris Vargas. And since the Trump administration has banned any official raising of the rainbow flag to commemorate Pride month we revisit our audio memorial to the artist Henry Darger.
As the island (and the world reopens) your host tries his best to join the celebrations, Dr. Lauren Powell explains the risks of protesting during a pandemic and ToE’s special correspondent Chris brings us inside the COVID19 task force!
As the weeks turn into months, one man decides to learn how to cook for himself even though he can no longer taste or smell. ToE’s Andrew Callaway decides its time to get in shape, and your host and Arthaud try to figure out Computer school.
Just before the Coronavirus upended our lives I recorded a conversation with writer Joanne Mcneil about her new book Lurking, a book about the internet. Its actually one of my now favorite books ever written about the internet. I had the show all ready to go for the week of March 15th and then… well everything changed, even our dependence on the internet. Joanne Mcneil’s book feels even more relevant now. Get Lurking here from Bookshop.
Urbanites are fleeing cities for beach communities and small country towns! Tensions are spreading faster than the Coronavirus. Your host turns to the last exhibition he saw in New York (Countryside the Future! from Rem Koolhaas) and the first dystopian film he watched in confinement (Michael Haneke’s Time of the Wolf) for answers. Plus a beach to beach chat with Helen and Martin from the Allusionist!
Coronavirus Evacuation! Your host decamps New York for a quiet isle in France and ToE’s Andrew Callaway flies home to San Francisco to look after Mom. Is this the end? No! Just the beginning of a new Theory of Everything series: Social Distance Learning.
On May 10th 1941 Rudolf Hess flew from Germany to Scotland. He hoped to bring the Nazis and the British together. He failed. But the details behind his flight remain one of the greatest mysteries of World War II. Historians and Amateur scholars have spent decades trying to unravel this mystery. On this episode we look into one of the strangest theories of them all.
This episode is part of a network-wide project to welcome Over the Road, Radiotopia’s newest show, into the family. Over the Road on Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/31AvmCJ
Jordan Peterson’s daughter took to YouTube to announce that her father, Jordan Peterson (one of the subjects of our 2019 Failure Maxiseries) is convalescing in a Russian Hospital. We check out her video and return to Martin Jay and his attempts to debunk the Cultural Marxism conspiracy theory.
In the 1930’s, Theodor Adorno fled Nazi Germany. In America, he studied the Authoritarian Personality. On
YouTube, he’s the object of study in a massive conspiracy theory that many have tried (and failed) to debunk.
Man on the street divides couple in a car. Your host is triggered by a flag pole and writer Chris Arnade explains why America is so polarized. PLUS Joseph Roth on the difference between great and mediocre talents.
Make your mark. Go to radiotopia.fm to donate today
Every Radiotopia podcast created a special episode for the 2019 Fundraiser. Many of these gems focus on the idea of a dream show as in what would your dream show be? well I am already making my dream show and that is thanks to you dear listener. Yes, sometimes there are sponsors but the majority of the support for this podcast comes from listeners who donate to the Radiotopia annual fundraiser. In fact it is thanks to you that I have the freedom to say no to particular brands and products who would like to connect with you. So for our special episode we dive into the rejected sponsor pile - hear the best of the worst! **
Make your mark. Go to radiotopia.fm to donate today.
Philosopher Daniel Heller-Roazen tells us the story of Pythagoras and the fifth hammer and how Kant and Kepler both tried (and failed) to record the universal harmonies Pythagoras once heard. Your host sets out to make some money doing experimental medical testing, and gets the chance to record the voice in his head.
A million conspiracy theories are launched when Jeffrey Epstein is found dead in his jail cell on August 10th 2019. Your host wonders if this is “the big one.” ToE’s special correspondent Chris attends a secret Coney Island funeral. PLUS: Epstein Brain.
Your host has always wanted to talk to someone about 1984 the book and Dorian Lynskey totally delivers. He just published The ministry of Truth a biography of George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four. Dorian tells us why and how this book has helped generations of readers to decode the world.
In 1984 your host was twelve years old and like George Orwell’s protagonist Winston Smith, he kept a diary, for the citizens of the future. For this special installment of Benjamen Walker’s Theory of Everything we travel back in time and give this diary a soundtrack. TV commercials, radio spots, movie clips – all sound from 1984 (the year, not the book). Find out what totalitarianism really sounds like.
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A couple of years ago I wrote a story for the truth podcast, Radiotopia’s one-of-a-kind audio fiction show. Part One ran on the Truth and Part Two ran here. Now that there are actual camps I believe this story warrants another listen.
YouTube insists it is not liable for the hate speech in its platform. This is also what YouTube said about the copyrighted material back when it was a start up in 2006. We revisit YouTube’s history with Chris Stokel-Walker author of the new book Youtubers. Plus your host takes responsibility!
Chapter eight in the new ToE Failure miniseries.
Right wing populists have stormed the world wide web. They even have a beachhead in China. Chenchen Zhang tells us about the racism and misogyny she found on the knowledge sharing platform Zhihu. And Leta Hong Fincher explains why patriarchal authoritarianism is central to the success of the Chinese Communist Party. Chapter six in the new ToE Failure miniseries.
China’s next generation surveillance technology is being used to build out the world’s internet. But China is also exporting new philosophical and business models. Hao Wu explains how live streaming in China is powered by failures and James Griffiths explains why the free and open internet may soon be replaced by Cyber Sovereignty.
Chapter five in the new ToE Failure miniseries.
Failure Flashback! Failure has always been a key concept for your host so this week we pull two stories out of the Benjamen Walker podcast archive. First a musical number about the loser behind Blue Suede Shoes and second a morality tale about the artist Paul Gauguin’s spectacular Paris blowout.
Critic Anand Giridharadas demystifies the rise of the thought leader, artist Chris Vargas rememorializes the Stonewall riots and your host clears up where he stands on the YouTube platform. Chapter three in the new ToE Failure miniseries.
In the 1930's,Theodor Adorno fled Nazi Germany. In America, he studied the Authoritarian Personality. On YouTube, he’s the object of study in a massive conspiracy theory that many have tried (and failed) to debunk. Chapter two in the new ToE Failure miniseries.
After Meghan Daum’s marriage falls apart she meets some new friends on YouTube. Also, reporter Paris Martineau tells us about a new game changing online harassment tool: the thotbot.
Meghan wrote about her journey for Medium and Paris’s reporting is from Wired.
Earlier this summer at a listener meet up in Vancouver your host learned the difference between Listeners and Fans. Find out why this distinction matters. And if you are a fan or a listener donate now to the 2018 Radiotopia campaign! Also: Benjamen and Andrew talk about 2019 AND a bonus segment from ToE special corespondent Chris.
Mark Galeotti takes us into the Soviet Gulag to tell us the brutal history of the Bitch War, ToE's Andrew Callaway checks in on the war on smoking and P.W. Singer explains how #likewar works. Plus Sleeper Net?
The grand finale of False Alarm! This one has it all, the little boy who cried wolf, your host’s AI plant, the paintings of Hilma af Klint, the blockchain powered SingularityNet, and Nuclear Armageddon! Centuries in the making plus a message from the future!
The Night Wolves are a Russian biker gang. Their rallies and bike shows run on state TV and Putin gave members medals for their contributions to the annexation of Crimea. The Kremlin outsources violence, propaganda, and intelligence gathering to groups like the Night Wolves because it supports the intentioned ambiguity of Non-Linear Warfare. Trump is now openly calling for a biker gang of his own. Is this the real Russia connection or is it simply more theatrical ambiguity?
The Hoaxers took over the Conspiracy Theory Championship Title from the Truthers in December of 2012 in response to the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary. Eight years later the hoaxers are everywhere, the pizzagaters, the climate deniers, the nationalists, the gaslighters - even the President is a hoaxer. Your host travels to the heart of Hoaxer Darkness: Florida
We’re taking a short break from False Alarm! because your host made a big big mistake. More on that when we return to False Alarm next episode… In the meantime, we raid Benjamen Walker’s audio vaults for a show about making mistakes and being wrong.
I set out on this False Alarm! journey with a quest to figure out how to better deal with this blurry line between fiction and reality. Phase Three of False Alarm! begins with a return to this question… can fiction help us see the truth? Jeffery Lewis, Nuclear expert tired of people ignoring his […]
The Nazis believed the secret to turning a lie into a truth was repetition, for the Spiritualists it was denial, have computers come up with something new? Phase two of our mega-mini series concludes and we return from our tour of the 1930s and 1880s. ToE’s Special correspondent Chris wraps up his liar’s guide to […]
A postmodern prehistory of post-truth and an alternative history of the Civil War. Our exploration of the Nazi Supernatural concludes with Werewolves and Mass Suicide. Plus: another installment in our False Alarm! fairy tale, the little boy from part one (now designing clothes for the Emperor) gets a surprise visit from a little girl in […]
As the border between border science and science dissolves we continue our examination of two other time periods when science tried to account for both the real and the unreal. In the 1800’s, so much new technology was revolutionizing the world… why not the ability to talk to the dead? And in the 1930s Hitler […]
Magic! That’s what alt-right face-punchee Richard Spencer claims brought Trump to the White House. Esoteric historian Gary Lachman investigates and discovers an unholy alliance of memes, chaos, and positive thinking. Michael Hughes, author of Magic for the Resistance offers us some counterspells. Also the Hitler’s Magician controversy, the magician at the heart of the CIA, […]
Little girls who can talk to ghosts! The Nazi Supernatural! The legacy of artist Iris Häussler’s first fictional character Joseph Wagenbach. Plus America’s Greatest Lie! 2018 is not the first time truth, fiction and lies have merged together. In the 1850s people turned to the the dead for answers. In the 1930’s, Hitler and the […]
Many of us are struggling with the real and the fake – but if you’re willing to pay enough, you don’t have to worry about it. Your host collaborates with 99% Invisible on a story about the Emeco Navy chair (the real one and the knockoffs). Artist Sam Stewart introduces us to a creature […]
The power of the fake person, multiplied! Curator Karen Patterson puts a fake outsider artist in the museum and artist David Levine puts on a museum show about the fake crowd. We hear from a 1937 radio play that featured both Orson Welles and the first fake crowd ever broadcast on the radio. And […]
Our investigation of the real and the fake continues as your host hunts for a way to monetize it! We ask Alex Goldmark from Planet Money and Bitchcoin artist Sarah Meyohas for advice and author David Golumbia explains how bitcoin really works. Lyn Jeffrey takes us to China to learn about the multi level marketing […]
The future of face-swapping! The REAL deepfakes speaks! Artist Lynn Hershman Leeson tells us how technology has transformed the way she plays with fact and fiction. Dipayan Ghosh warns us about AI powered ad-targeting. Criminal’s Phoebe and Lauren drop knowledge on the untrue in true crime. Plus your host meets STORMY DANIELS!
Our New ToE series on the battle between the real and the fake begins with a text alert sent out to everyone in Hawaii on a balmy Saturday morning. We also hear from the man who has written the text alert that will go out to all New Yorkers in the event of a real […]
Our search for Utopia comes to an end at Christiania, an Anarchist haven in the heart of Copenhagen. In 2012 this Utopia went legit, the squatters become property owners. But now they must figure out how to preserve their alternative community, preserve the historical buildings they are now responsible for, and preserve their future. Plus […]
Our search for Utopia takes Andrew far from Mundania to the magickal Den of Iniquity in a pagan community called The Valley of The Dragons. Plus, your host takes a tour of FDR’s New Deal Utopias in search of a future that is possible. ********* click on the image for more **************
Donald Trump says all his ‘nuclear knowledge’ comes from his favorite uncle John G Trump. According to ToE special correspondent Chris, Uncle Johnny also gave Donald a time machine ring. Learn all about how John Trump acquired this ring (from Nikola Tesla) and how Vladimir Putin stole it (from Robert Kraft) and what Donald Trump […]
Artist and Filmmaker Ruth Dusseault tells us about how the internet has changed the American Commune. Plus ToE’s Andrew Callaway lets us in on an internet joke about Socialist Dolphins. ***********Click on the image for details about this episode ********
Our series continues with ToE’s Andrew Callaway reporting from an off the grid fully sustainable little piece of heaven called Earthaven. Plus Will Wilkinson on Libertopia and the limits of Ideal Theory. **********************Click on image for more links and information******************
A new ToE mini series on technology, society, work, art, love (the ToE basics) but this time your host dons a pair of Utopian tinted glasses, and sends Toe Producer Andrew Callaway on the road to visit Utopian communities. Plus Basic Income. ********** click on image for more information and links***********
A special Halloween week fall treat! We’re revisiting a segment from my old podcast Too Much Information. I’ve always wanted to share it here, but this thing I dreamed about in 2010 (Cthulucon, a gathering dedicated to the writings and memory of the writer HP Lovecraft) actually became a real con! I never wanted my dream to compete with […]
When ToE’s special corespondent Chris told me about Russian Gay Bashing Drones onstage during my performance in London I was certain he was once again putting me on – or this was Satire. I forgot that in 2017 anything is possible – except Satire! A few days later I read this.
The ToE family Wisconsin road trip wraps up with a visit to the House on the Rock. Even though Alex Jordan’s tourist attraction is one of the most visionary unique places in the world you still won’t find it on any of the official Wisconsin art environment maps. This never bothered the guy who put […]
Benjamen, Mathilde and Arthaud head off on a family trip to Wisconsin to see art environments built by immigrants out of concrete and to discover what’s going on in rural America today. Plus: making Pawn America great again! ******** CLICK on PHOTO for a detailed run down on the show *************
Rob Walker and Josh Glenn have a long history of getting writers to share stories about their objects, but when they told me the would be curating an audio collection of stories, and asked if I wanted to collaborate I said absolutely. So here we have it. A ToE/Project Object collaboration: storytellers sharing 100% true […]
Lawrence Abu Hamdan is an internationally celebrated artist who works with sound and an internationally recognized expert forensic listener. He likes to call himself a Private Ear. Your host visits Lawrence in Beirut to hear more.
Frankie isn’t a real Media Influencer but the Government saw the 500k followers he bought for his Instagram profile back in the day and arrested him anyway. Now he’s in a Media internment camp. This is PART TWO of a special collaboration with the Truth podcast. Head over there to get part one. This is […]
Direct action saved the gardens in your host’s neighborhood, activist and author L.A. Kauffman explains why it is once again time for more good old fashioned American Radicalism. Plus ToE’s Andrew Callaway maga-ups with the Alt-right on Mayday. Find L.A. Kauffman’s Direct Action book here
Empty buildings, run down neighborhoods and cheap rents. This is the bait you need to attract artists, speculators and urban revitalizers. But in order to attract pioneers you also need illusion and myth. We tour the art districts of New Orleans, Los Angeles and Detroit with writer Peter Moscowitz, activist Maga Miranda, and artist Maya Stovall.
Wrote a short piece on my 1984 “where’s the beef” record collection for Hilobrow’s Political Objects series and thought I would re-up this episode. In 1984 your host was twelve years old and like George Orwell’s protagonist Winston Smith, he kept a diary, for the citizens of the future. For this special installment of Benjamen […]
Potemkin apps, Fake ads, and the return of little pepe the frog. Your host busts out all his best deep state moves for the grand conclusion of our Surveillance miniseries. Plus Finn Brunton pitches AdNauseum and Siva Vaidhyanathan gives us a tour of the Cryptopticon.
We take a tour of the sprawl with Metahaven to learn about the propaganda of propaganda and we travel beyond the Facebook wall to learn the real truth about targeted advertising. Plus Project Madison Valleywood!
Your host examines the targeted advertising and fake news that some say put Donald Trump in the White House. Plus: the colonial history of Biometric Surveillance. Thanks to Mira Waits, Ethan Zuckerman and Hannes Grassegger
As the 2016 American presidential election heads into the final round – we are featuring a story your host stumbled upon during the last election in October of 2102. Radio producer Silvain Gire tells us about an impossible encounter between Mitt Romney and Guy Debord in Paris 1968. *** Benjamen Walker will join Silvain […]
Your host explores the transition from UFO to Drone on stage as part of Radiotopia Live! and pinpoints the date he crossed his own personal digital divide (Feb 21st 1997). Also filmmaker Alix Lambert tells us about a group of people who are still on Analog time. A version of the prison tape piece ran […]
Yvette Gonzales tells us a first person story about what its like to be transgender in Prison. Gender theorist B. Preciado tells us about what happens when a person takes testosterone without the intention of transitioning from one gender to another. Plus, Jim Elledge tells us about his biography of Outsider Artist Henry Darger, and […]
Is Donald Trump actually a CIA asset with implants in his small hands or are our brains just wired for paranoia – or both! Rob Brotherton, author of Suspicious Minds, explains how our cognitive biases push us to see Conspiracies everywhere. Plus a look back to when the CIA weaponized Abstract Expressionism (one of the […]
ToE instaserf Andrew Callaway gets invited to do a TED ALPHA Talk on the sharing economy. Mary Gray (a real sharing economy expert) explains why we are anxious about the future of work and Ignacio Uriarte leaves his cubicle to make post-office art. image from the amazing Swedish TV show real humans
The second half of our sly-fi story about redemption, forgiveness and torture. Margo hopes to leave Christian America with Ali Baba ( a terrorist clone she was given as recompense for the death of her husband). But can they escape before evil Freddie catches wind of their plans? Plus a meditation on the parable of the unforgiving servant.
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 […]
Now that Airbnb has proved it can beat regulation we return to the post-gentrified city. Two! new segments: we meet a landlord (named Benny) who built an illegal artists space in Bushwick, and we visit Astor Place, the embodiment of the New New York, with writer Ada Calhoun (Saint Marks is Dead).