Courtney Heard aka Godless Mom is a blogger, podcaster, and YouTuber that covers atheism and all of the topics that surround the community. She has also started to cover topics outside of atheism on her various platforms. We always have a great time talking with Courtney and have a ton of respect her and her work.
Carl "Sargon of Akkad" Benjamin is a popular independent Vlogger with over 700,000 subscribers on YouTube. A skeptic of ideologies both theological and political, his channel is dedicated to rational arguments backed by evidence. Sometimes a polemicist, at other times soft spoken, Sargon of Akkad has created a considerable amount of content regarding skeptical thought.
So Fain and PhatPat are entertainers that have a popular YouTube channel entitled Poisoning the Well, where they create videos that cover topics in the atheist community, skeptic YouTube community and other popular online content.
During this interview we discuss the inspiration behind the Poisoning the Well channel's initial launch and where they have taken it over the years. So Fain gives us the low down on his sun glasses and why he doesn't take them off for pictures. We get into some topics that are trending in the skeptic community currently and the guys share their thoughts on Mythcon V. This is a really fun interview. Don't miss it!
Hosts of the Mythinformed podcast, Brian Edward and Dmitry K talk with Thomas Smith and Eli about Mythcon IV. Many points that have been brought up on "both sides" after Mythcon IV took place. We try our best to speak to two of the critics of the conference in this interview.
More than 250 people were in Milwaukee on Friday, Oct. 21 for the Mythinformation Conference III and Buzzed Belief debate between Dr. Robert Price and Dr. Bart D. Ehrman. Others from around the world tuned in via live broadcast to hear the debate, "Did Jesus Exist?"
Missed it live? Rent the streaming version of the video for $4.99.
Mythicist Milwaukee (MM) team members have spent the past four days on the road in support of comedy TV show "The Eric André Show." MM helped the show's tour manager line up guests for their live shows in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan - putting atheist activists and mythicists in front of ranch-dressing-loving crowds of up to 1,500 and connecting them with two very well-connected actors. Activist Melissa Pugh and mythicist Dr. Richard Carrier were among the guests the MM team lined up for the show.
Now in its fourth season, The Eric Andre Show is a late night talk show on the Adult Swim network. A parody of low-budget, 1980’s public access talk shows, the series is hosted by comedian Eric André (Man Seeking Woman, 2 Broke Girls) along with comedian Hannibal Buress (30 Rock, Broad City, Neighbors), who serves as André's deadpan sidekick.
MM's president and co-founder, Sean Fracek, has been reaching out to the tour's managers to find collaboration opportunities after he learned that André was an open atheist. Penn Jillette even had a cameo on Season 4 of the show (chanting, "Magic, Magic, Atheism!"). The tour's manager took MM up on the offer - asking for support to find guests for their upcoming shows. “This event marks another major step in the continual transition of secularism into the modern mainstream and popular culture. The Eric Andre Show is bringing to new and younger audiences a unique and creative way to collaborate with atheists with humor but without ridicule.,” says MM co-founder Fritz Blandon.
Melissa Pugh, grassroots and outreach coordinator for the United Coalition of Reason, was a guest on the Minneapolis show. “It was so much fun. Eric made the point to highlight the fact that there are atheist activists out there, which brings this topic to the attention of these younger audiences who are more-often-than-not, non-religious. His antics may be whacky, but just having atheists guests on the show gives this audience proof that they are not alone in their non-belief.”
Dr. Richard Carrier, historian, author, atheist activist and leading scholar on the Christ Myth Theory, appeared on the Milwaukee show. “Andre's show is a parody, and as such, intentionally subverts the corporatized nature of talk shows as mutual promotion festivals. He does everything possible to prevent guests from using the show as a venue for their own promotional goals. And yet, even in that environment, a huge, young audience is nevertheless being exposed to the very idea that atheists exist as scholars and authors, can endure a roasting with aplomb, and aren't ‘above’ being entangled in the stage humor of avant-garde artists. But even more subversively, we're actually acknowledged as existing by the whole production, side by side with the same status as artists and celebrities. Notably, of all the jokes told at my expense on stage, none of them made fun of my being an atheist. I was as humanized as everyone else who ever occupies that same hot-seat.”
You may wonder how one becomes a Bat-Priest.
For Jacob Woelfel, it started 12 years ago in high school when he met Jozef K. Richards.
“The next thing I knew I was just being a part of what he was doing,” said Woelfel.
At the time, Richards was already working on “Friday Night Weekly” and other film projects.
“He is ambitious, there’s no way around that,” Woelfel said.
When Richards asked him to take the Bat-Priest role, he thought it was interesting, but there was reluctance.
“I really wished I could do something a little more serious,” he said. “And then it turned out that, hey, this actually is pretty darn serious.”
Besides the depth of the film, there was another aspect that surprised him.
“I’d never thought to compare the two things, at the very least Batman and Jesus. Usually you see the comparison of Superman and Jesus...since there’s so many biblical themes in that comic and that cartoon,” Woelfel said.
“Kill the babies. That makes me laugh every time. It’s so strongly written and it shows such a clear, I guess, hypocrisy of ‘How dare you do that thing? Let’s do that thing’,”
The other is a more serious moment at the end.
“That whole monologue, I thought, was very powerful and you can see that [Jozef] wasn’t acting. He feels this way and it comes out that way. It’s brilliant,” said Woelfel.
“Answer a question, win a prize! Free bubbles!”
This is not the sound of a carnie recruiting customers. It is Mythicist Milwaukee promoting Batman & Jesus and the upcoming Buzzed Belief debate. The team regularly steps out onto the streets of downtown Milwaukee to meet the community for trivia and prizes.
Newaukeeans answered questions about Batman and Jesus to win a prize from the mystery bag. Participants enjoyed the option of taking bubbles over the mystery prize. It was a tough choice, but the bubbles prevailed as the more popular choice. The team receives a lot of positive feedback from the people at the market, especially considering that they are spreading the Jesus Myth theory.
Of course, Mythos the Minotaur was in full force, dancing most of the night and taking pictures with fans. He is popular!
For everyone in the area, find us during the next Newaukee Night Market.
Movie Production News
Holy Lincoln Memorial, Batman! For those who missed the Batman & Jesus teaser trailer on the big screen at the Reason Rally 2016 - watch it now!
The Batman & Jesus teaser trailer was filmed in April at Calvary Church in downtown Milwaukee.
Thank you to everyone who came out to the filming to be in the congregation. It's not often you have the opportunity to attend a Batman church.
Check out a behind-the-scenes clip montage from the day.
Director, Jozef K. Richards screened the trailer for the crowd gathered in front of the Lincoln Memorial. One of the few presentations on the big screen, some attendees were confused to begin with while others wondered if it was all a joke.
Subscribe to the Batman & Jesus newsletter.
Like us on Facebook too for crying out loud!
Cappadonna on the Mythicist Milwaukee Show
Cappadonna has known the Wu-Tang Clan members since grade school in Staten Island, and he had even decided at the age of 15 that he could write and perform lyrics. It wasn't until 1995, however, that he made his recorded debut, appearing on Raekwon's Only Built 4 Cuban Linx album.
With that album, he became an official member of the Wu-Tang Killa Beez, and from there on out, he frequently appeared on Wu records. In 1996, he played a large role on Ghostface Killah's Ironman.
During 1997, his Wu affiliation continued, as he rapped on the Clan's second album, Wu-Tang Forever.
Cappadonna's solo debut, The Pillage, finally appeared in March 1998. Like any Wu project, the record featured RZA as the executive producer and cameos from a number of other Wu members, including Method Man, U-God, and Raekwon. Cappadonna has just released the sequel to his solo debut album entitled ”The Pillage 2”
The legendary MC remained active in the following years releasing mix-CDs, doing tours and joining Ghostface Killah’s Theodore Unit. Cappadonna inked a deal with new indie label Chambermusik Records/Koch in 2008.
Cappadonna joins us to discuss the creation process of his music. We discuss the challenges that he has faced in his life and how he used his music to overcome these obstacles. He shares some insight into the formation of the Wu-Tang Clan and how their music has evolved over the years. We discuss the Reason Rally 2016 and what that means for atheism as well as the Wu-Tang Members that will be performing at the event. Don’t miss this interview!
Speaks to the Red Goddess by Megan Ivanyos
Killah Priest is a master swordsman with words. He slices and dissects, rearranges and rebuilds them. His skill is so stealth it takes another master to keep up.
Those other masters are Wu-Tang Clan, who hit the scene in the 1990s. Killah Priest, birth name Walter Reed, is an associate of the group of rappers who collaborate. The members overlap in style and topics. Killah attributes their success to them working together as a team. Member Gza had the idea of swinging a sword. "The Tang is when [the sword] hits. Tang! That’s what Wu Tang is," says Reed.
Reed grew up in 1970s Bed Stuy, Brooklyn, New York City. He was surrounded by Muslims, Jews and "corny church folk." He and his friends were kids “checking out everything else, questioning ourselves, thinking outside the box," says Reed.
Reed’s face is like a shining Buddha. His tattoos fade into his dark skin. He wears beads around his neck and on top of his head sits a crisp, red Wu-Tang Clan baseball cap. Reed’s Brooklyn accent doesn’t hit you immediately, but it emerges as a mix of NYC, hip hop, and light laughter. He was part of the Five-Percent nation, which held a belief in yourself as god, meaning we all are capable of the divine to be the best possible self.
During this time, young Reed would learn about ancient religions and world history. “It was like a computer on paper," says Reed, "New York has so much information because there’s lots of cultures there from everywhere.”
He and his friends read about pagan scriptures and foreign cultures and fantasy. “The stories are good. It takes us somewhere, takes our minds somewhere and we need that for the hood, for the ghettos and inner city, because it’s madness out there," Reed says.
Reed’s appetite to learn grew as his research intensified on ancient religions and the lifestyles of the early Israelite, Babylonian and Canaanite history.
When the music took off, Wu-Tang traveled internationally. Each artist had an individual music deal. Reed wanted to do more than just perform the shows. He wanted to go out and see the places he read about when he was young. The other Wu-Tang members weren't interested in joining him. “To actually go there and see that it was real, that is a beautiful place. It’s humbling," says Reed.
For his solo shows, Reed booked flights a couple days before them so he could explore different countries, including west and east Europe. Promoters connected him with a local who knew a lot about the area. Rome was the only destination where he used a tour guide. His arrival there opened up another world to him.
“I thought I’d seen it all, until I went there," says Reed, "And I was humbled like ‘oh shit, this is really big.’ Marbles in the street. It’s like statues in the street of a kingdom that’s waaay," Reed says beginning to laugh gesturing the deep past.
"‘Cause that was the old world, Europe. That’s where we (Americans) all were and then, until we moved over here became the New Hampshire, New York," says Reed laughing again.
Killah’s lyrics are riddled with metaphors using ancient and modern religions, empires, and concepts. Not the typical subject matters found in rap songs. “They didn’t know how to market me," says Killah.
His music has been described as conscious rap. "I think it’s just real rap.” Killah says. Music can “free slave minds from the bounds of religion," says Reed.
References to planets, aliens and science are also regularly featured. On his latest release, "Planet of the Gods," Killah samples Carl Sagan from the classic series Cosmos. The soothing sound of Sagan’s voice fits effortlessly into the music. Reed has a connection to the sky and beyond. He asks you to imagine taking a trip through the mind. “There’s always room to grow within the mind," says Reed.
Killah equates sharing knowledge and connecting with other people to sharing energy.
"Because we have minds, we here ... This is life. This is a gift," says Reed.
Reed speaks passionately in a progressive style of speak and thoughts. It is easy to get tangled in his words and be taken on the ride. “Leaders want us to close down so they can control us, but you can’t control that which was and that which was is 'we'. There’s nothing new under the sun, so if you look at outside of the box is where you will reside," says Reed.
He sits up straighter to explain.
“So religion locks you in. You can always wake up from that," says Reed
The sword swings. Wuuuu. He connects his index fingers and pulls them tightly together.
“A lock is only something that can unlock. A lock, if it’s bolted, it’s not a lock. What makes it a lock is to open it up," says Reed.
The blade hits my mind. Tang!
Photo: S. Fracek