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Madness Madness!

Author: Erin Byrne & Amanda Clay

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Erin and Amanda are sisters, librarians, and sister librarians hailing from scenic central Oklahoma, and in this series they examine and rank clubs, cults, MLMs and more to determine which one they'd most like to join. Join us for math and questionable singing.
91 Episodes
A Poor Substitution

A Poor Substitution


Regretfully we must inform you, our avid listeners, that there is no new episode this week because Adobe is being a dick about things. We are working on these technical difficulties and will be back as soon as humanly possible. 
Hello! Madness Madness is currently out of the office. You've pressed six to learn more about Tom Petty! Brian reads an excerpt from a remembrance by Warren Zanes, Petty's biographer, published a year after the absolute legend's death. You can read the full article here.
Hello! You've reached Madness Madness. We are currently out of the office. Please listen to your choices carefully, as our menu has changed.
How 'bout we just list some key items this episode has in it: Border Blasters, goat testicle implantation, rootin' tootin' child neglect, Brother Al ("A-L"), one hundred baby chicks by mail, Big Tex continuing to slowly and mechanically wave as he is engulfed in flames*, the ionosphere. Get to it!*this is quite possibly the funniest thing that had ever happened before the "Four Seasons Total Landscaping" incident
Friends, do you like stunning stone structures perched on piney hilltops? Do you like the ghosts of mistreated sanitarium patients, dead from neglect? OK what about the ghost of a cute little orange tabby cat? OK! Me too! Let's go to the Crescent Hotel then, and learn about Eureka Springs' most haunted place! (Also one of the prettiest.) Oh, and be sure to bring a book! We'll be relaxing in the hot springs with an annotated copy of the Voynich Manuscript. The annotations all say "I don't know what this part here means either; this book is, as I have said repeatedly, mostly gibberish. Please let me see my family again." BEACH READS!!!
This week we have a look at the actual events that led to a legendary song, the most famous version of which contained the line "I've got three little children and a very sickly wife." Stagger Lee! Real shit! That there is a song that contains absolutely no hidden backward lyrics, which means it wasn't a part of the moral majority scare about rock music hiding backward lyrics that would ... subliminally make us think Paul McCartney was dead? Or something. Climb on, it's a ride!
Today we learn about automatons from hundreds of years ago, the most famous of which may have been The Mechanical Turk, which played chess with actual people in the room and got pissy with you if you tried to cheat. Then it's a personal story of a deeply unsettling babysitting gig, the 1989 Olympic Festival in Norman, Oklahoma, and the bleak shitscape that our lives as Americans is becoming. It's fucking awful! Join us.BONUS: The OK 89 Olympic Festival in its entirety, cued up to Roger Miller's performance, which was unquestionably the best part.
OK WELL ANYWAY now that the tornado has passed, Erin can continue talking about Kit Williams' book "Masquerade" and the real-life treasure hunt it spawned (on purpose). And Amanda can tell us a little something about some obvious straight-up horse shit that the British scientific community uncritically gobbled right up because it wanted to believe fucking England was the cradle of life, and let that sink in for a moment before you learn the hoax's name: Piltdown Man! Join us, won't you? Bring a shovel.
This week we spend some time with Koreshan Unity, which has nothing to do with Waco, the ATF, or TV movies starring the guy from "Wings" or, later, Tim Riggins. Although it might be worth debating whether the standoff in Waco would have ended differently if the Earth were hollow, as today's cult insisted it was. We also learn more about "Masquerade," a picture book by Kit Williams that purposely led to an actual real-life treasure hunt ... wait, is that a tornado siren?
Gather 'round, listeners, and hear the story of what happens when dictatorships—sorry, I'm being told the proper name is monarchies—get so far up their own asses they get syphilis and start wars and basically murder literally millions of their own citizens. The Mayerling Incident was a low-key extremely important* example of this brand of royal fuckery, and we are definitely going to hear about it today. And if you're driven into a violent fury by tales like these, and run out and immediately get into a fistfight that ends up violating a number of international laws, don't worry: The French Foreign Legion is alive and well, and still asking few to no questions about how you came to be covered in blood and molasses. Learn more about the group countless early 20th-Century cartoon characters ran off to join approximately every five episodes.*Is "low-key extremely" a thing? Discuss.
Today we squint quizzically at James Bernard Schafer, a teleporting doctor who founded the Royal Fraternity of Master Metaphysicians and set out to raise an immortal baby! Until the baby's mother showed up and wanted her back. Still totally immortal, possibly.* We keep going, though, and end up with a look at “the most famous con man you’ve never heard of,” except that if you listen to this podcast you’ve almost certainly heard of him.Meanwhile, you know what's not a transparently fraudulent Depression-era cash grab? Native American languages. You know what's not a great segue? The previous sentence. Anyway, we also learn about Native American code talkers, who during World Wars I and II saved the lives of a whole entire shitload of American GIs by baffling German and Japanese code breakers with a language that had somehow not made inroads into Hitlerton and Tojo's Gated Community. Naturally the U.S. returned the favor once the war was over by giving Native Americans their land back!... I'm being told the U.S. did not give Native Americans their land back.Link! The recently(!) declassified Navajo Code Talker dictionary. 
This week we examine a real insane person and fake books! Lyndon LaRouche ran for president 8 times and was less coherent with each successive run. Though he started out as a semi-Marxist pro-labor kinda guy, he quickly moved squarely into right-wing pro-insane bullshit territory. No matter what, there was always room in his heart for all sorts of old-fashioned racism, anti-semitism, and an undying conviction that Queen Elizabeth II was trying to kill him. Meanwhile, did you know that sometimes books are not what they seem to be? They're not just small objects in your home or files on your electronic reading device—they can also be secret plots by cabals of authors with a fairly hilarious point to prove! Today we thumb through the literary hoaxes Naked Came the Stranger, Atlanta Nights, and I, Libertine.
This week on Madness Madness we're out here lookin' for starters, but all we can see is a bunch of jackoffs. First off we take a surprisingly thought-provoking journey to the '80s and '90s for a look at the Church of the Subgenius, a cult that wasn't actually a cult from the heady days of heavy 'zine-ing! Straight out of Dallas, very close to our home base in central Oklahoma, this one got us right in the Gen-X Nostalgia part of our brains, the part that makes us think about how if we wanted to hang out with people in the '80s and '90s we had to get in a car and drive around to places where we thought people might be. It's a total mind fuck, friends over 40. Next, we ask the question everyone must confront at some point: If a high school doesn't have a building, classes, a field, or a coach, is it strictly ethical to have them play one of the highest-ranked teams in the country on national television? Is it even loosely ethical? You might still remember the memes, folks: It's Bishop Sycamore "high school," a baffling fraud that turns out to be an incredibly depressing reflection of the nation's fundamental racism! A hoot and a holler, I tellya. Join us, won't you?
we're back / from a brief hiatus / time off is a predatory bird, and it ate us //This week we step away from cults for a bit, and look instead at an ongoing mystery and a straight-up conspiracy theory! Oak Island is, as the name suggests, an island! In Canada! With a hole in it! Several holes now, in fact, since about once per generation, some dude (it's always a dude) is absolutely sure he's figured out how to get to the very bottom of it without getting flooded out like literally everyone else who's ever tried. (The hole floods! Did we mention that? It floods.) Truly remarkable, folks. We try to talk these dudes out of it, but it's their hole! It was made for them!Speaking of things that were made for us, apparently there's quite a bit of evidence* that the U.S. Government faked the moon landing! Not only that, lauded film director and Real Piece of Shit Dude Stanley Kubrick did it all, and then felt so guilty about it that he peppered "The Shining" with clues about how the moon landing is fake and he filmed it and now feels bad about it! Don't worry, he never felt bad about abusing Shelley DuVall on the set. On the plus side, Buzz Aldrin definitely didn't feel bad about punching a dude in the face for saying Aldrin lied about walking on the moon, so at least there's that. Join us, won't you?*there is the literal opposite of evidence
Today we learn how to live forever, but for real this time, from People Unlimited Incorporated! (We also take a moment to mourn the death of its founder, Charles Paul Brown, who died in 2014 NO YOU SHUT UP!) Are we ready to spend our immortal lives eating the worst food imaginable? Before we decide, we'll take a look at The Waldorf School, founded by Rudolf Steiner, who dared to ask the question, "What if we did like that Montessori lady but without applying any provable facts at all?" Steiner hated facts, so thank god he started a school. Speaking of school, this week it's book fair! Bring your rolls of pennies, as Amanda is not accepting loose coins. 
We don’t have a new episode this week, so please accept Brian’s alternate rendition of the Terasem … anthem? from last week's show. The song might be called “Earth Seed” because every line in it has the words “Earth Seed” in it but also seriously who gives a shit. Content Warning: Some really bad white person “rhythm” comes into play and honestly the whole thing never recovers. See you next week! Ricky Williams! 
One of this week's cults is a rare example of a cult not primarily being a financial grift. Terasem's founders are already super fucking rich, and so they're really more interested in your unquestioning allegiance, their own desperate desire to cheat death, and your interest in hanging out with a deeply disturbing AI automaton named BINA48. It's pitted against Access Consciousness, which is a more traditional grift, but one that has a secret star from the wide world of sports! Described as "Scientology Adjacent," where "Adjacent" means "Shitty Clone," Access Consciousness has currently shelled out for paid ads in Google search when you look for "access consciousness cult." Try it! It's pathetic!
This week we're throwin' a party! A POLITICAL party! Under the smug, starfucking veneer of leader Daisaku Ikeida, a Japanese Buddhism rip-offshoot called Soka Gakkai that is also a political party? With like 20% of the vote?!? I'm sure there's a reasonable explanation (there isn't). We're also partying down in an abandoned secretarial school, in Paris! That's thanks to Thierry Tilly, a run-of-the-mill creep who bled a family of French aristocrats dry, and if you're not noting any sadness in this sentence, you're not imagining things. Hon hon! Bread! Also this week we realize our podcast's long lost tag line: "Something to look forward to; and something to do."
I think we can all agree that what we really need in these troubled times are more diploma mills. How else are we gonna get more unlicensed group psychotherapists? THERE IS NO OTHER WAY. The founders of Ganas, which as it happens began as an unaccredited school for group therapy, are entirely with me on this one, and would like to interest you in a completely different, entirely legitimate diploma. But before you accept, two questions: Men, have you ever asked yourself, "Am I denying my sacred manliness by not acting like some horrifying post-pubescent toddler all the fucking time?" Women, have you ever thought, "I sure wish a gross little Boomer twerp from some shithole suburb outside Boston could tell me a lot of dumb fucking garbage about what I'm doing wrong in my relationship!" Boy oh boy, is A. Justin "My real name is Arthur Kasarjian" Sterling the guy you should be burying alive as he kicks his stupid little baby legs in weak protest. Join us, won't you?
There are cults where you skulk around the racist fringes of Southeastern Oklahoma planning terrorist attacks, and cults where the Daughter of God tells you to go out and do crimes so you can all keep staying in luxury hotel suites. Obviously the second kind of cult is way better for everyone, but whatever, we're examining both on today's show! Elohim City's most notable claim to fame is as a stepping stone for Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, and it's crawling with birds of precisely his feather. Queen Shahima is basically just not into having a day job, and would like to minister to people from really nice hotel suites, and look, all I'm saying is maybe I'd be more open to ministering if I was doing it from the Lieutenant Governor's Suite at the Residence Inn, the really nice one by the highway.
Comments (1)

james stobie

I love this podcast! Two hilarious sisters from Oklahoma talk about what cult they want to join using a bracket system. They have impeccable research skills and an encyclopedic knowledge of references that they put to good use detailing all of the aspects of the cults. Also, the sidekick/singer/producer Brian chimes in with some pretty brilliant observations. A must-hear!

Apr 2nd
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