Praise for Disruptive Play:
The Trickster in Politics and Culture
“A historically panoramic examination of human playfulness as a naturally healthy and politically subversive force…. Siegel’s thesis is philosophically provocative and original…. combines intellectual rigor with a bracing optimism—he believes the history of disruptive playfulness provides empirical reasons to believe in its sociopolitical power.
“Siegel’s writing bursts with color and life….[Disruptive Play] brings up examples ranging from the Dadaist art of the early 20thcentury to Bugs Bunny to the famed street artist Banksy. All…offer visions of a future where silliness and culture-jamming help level the playing field, toppling the power structures of our stodgy modern society.”
—Robert Ham, The Seattle Times
“Shepherd Siegel is looking at play in a very serious way. This book may tell us more about how to break down limitations and open creativity than all the gobbledygook self-help tomes of the past decade.”
—Tom Long, The Detroit News
“Sometimes play can disrupt how people see the world.”
—Jackson Fackler, 8 years old
“…a beautiful integration of scholarship and passionate advocacy….Siegel both defines and extolls…“disruptive play” with stirring descriptions of the victories and defeats of tricksters in history….Siegel helps us understand the critically important contribution that seemingly unproductive play makes to building successful movements to save our world from the insanity of the all-pervasive status quo assumptions. Even more compelling is Siegel’s discussion of contemporary cultural phenomena such as…Burning Man…political tricksters like the Yes Men who challenged the complacency of HUD officials after Hurricane Katrina, and popular culture anti-heroes like The Simpsons.
—Mike Rotkin of UC Santa Cruz, & five-time Mayor of Santa Cruz
“From the anti-war art of dada to the wit, wisdom and shenanigans of Lisa and Bart Simpson, Dr. Siegel reminds us that the play of art is always a play against power. This book is a timely and irresistible story about what play is and why artistically, politically and culturally, we should play more.”
—Dr. Michael Vincente Perez, Assistant Professor of Anthropology,
The University of Memphis
“Somebody once said, “The beginnings of wisdom is a firm grasp of the obvious.” That’s what came to mind as I learned about Shepherd Siegel’s Disruptive Play, an in-depth look at the power of play. Or maybe this work should be viewed, not as an historical review, but more as a DIY on play as an antidote to domination. Check it out, you might just see the forest.”
—Dan Barrett, Co-Creator & founder of the high school guidance and counseling program, Navigation 101
“I was in a better mood after I finished reading Disruptive Play. I remembered there was a way to approach life that was based around joy and pleasure, rather than fear and drudgery. And that’s a good thing!”
—Alex Marshall, author of How Cities Work, The Surprising Design of Market Economies andBeneath the Metropolis; columnist for Governing magazine
Order it here:
Or come and get it here, at these Disruptive Play events:
Fri Jan 11—6 PM
509 4th Ave E
Olympia, WA 98501
Thur Jan 17—7 PM
Green Apple Books
506 Clement St
San Francisco, CA 94118
Thur Mar 7—6 PM
Shelf Life Books
100-1302 4 St SW
Calgary AB T2R 0X8, Canada
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.
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 . . .