Disruptive Play: The Trickster in Politics and Culture
Disruptive Play: The Trickster in Politics and Culture is my book that takes the reader on a journey from some of the ancient folkloric appearances of the Trickster as Raven and Èṣù-Elegba; to his confined role in Western civilization’s literature and mythologies; Trickster’s 20th century jailbreak led by dada and the hippies; and finally to the potential for this spirit to inform social progress in the 21st century, whether by The Yes Men, Banksy, Bugs Bunny, or other as yet unrevealed mischief-makers and culture jammers. Such play illuminates the path to a transformed society. Its tales make the case for play as a revolutionary act.
If you are examining whatever progress the human condition is making and searching for ways to engage the irrationality of our times, you will enthusiastically grasp and be motivated by the insights of Disruptive Play and its hopes for a future that incarnates a more playful reality.
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It’s criminal that American education’s responsibility to teach the workings and the value of democracy has gone unmet and neglected for more than a generation. We’re paying the price now. And even supporters of Career and Technical Education do not fully convey the depth of that deficit in our system. In Curing Educational Amnesia with a Meaningful High School Diploma, I outline an approach to high school education that matches adolescents’ need to begin taking control of their own lives with a counseling and course selection approach that balances college preparation with the need to learn what it means to be a citizen in a democracy; the skills needed in the 21st century workplace; and the spark of life that makes us human.
In a world ruled by conflict and ranking, to introduce conflict-free play is insurrection. A constant of the challenges facing us in the 21st century—income inequality; war, its refugees, and attendant fears; pandemics; and the threats of climate change—is that they’re not very funny. In fact, one risks all kinds of retribution and calling out should a comment be perceived as insensitive or uninformed, or even making light of situations that are dire.
Yet we yearn for light and lightness, a genuine vision of a happier and more peaceful world, one with more splendid humor, where intelligence meets joy. The Trickster archetype is an antidote that has been with us since at least the time of Jacob. The Trickster takes many forms, but is defined by playfulness, and is described by C.G. Jung as typically having these qualities: ‘…a fondness for sly jokes and malicious pranks…powers as a shape-shifter…[a] dual nature, half animal, half divine…exposure to all kinds of tortures, and—last but not least…approximation to the figure of a saviour…. In his clearest manifestations, he is a faithful copy of an absolutely undifferentiated human consciousness.’
…that most sublime of the arts, seeps into our brains and oils our joints like no other. It’s relationship to dance multiplies its power as a cultural mechanism for shedding culture and putting us in touch with our Inner Monkey. Like many, my love for music traces to growing up with rock, but I’ve significantly delved into jazz, art, Latin American, African, and avant-garde, and occasionally written up some impressions, soon to be shared.
Why would you want to know about Bumbershoot from 15 years ago? Well, to know what you’ve been missing, and to pack your bags for if you ever plan to motor west…and find a great future of live music . . .