Welcome to The Plague, the podcast where we look, not just at the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, but at our nation’s home-made plagues, plagues created by human socioeconomic systems, that make the coronavirus more virulent and dangerous.
The coronavirus infects the human body, but what illnesses in our body politic make us more vulnerable to it?
Economic inequality? Environmental devastation? Labor precarity? Alienation? We pick a different societal plague each week and talk with an expert about how that plague makes the coronavirus deadlier.
We then move on to discuss “treatments” or even “cures” for that plague: what kinds of political or cultural action we can take to “cure” it. Since many of our guest experts are also artists, they are invited to share a creative work on the topic—a song, poem, monologue—of their own creation or choosing.
Guests include poet and Friends of the Earth organizer Jeff Conant, Dr. Rupa Marya of the Do No Harm Coalition and the band Rupa and the April Fishes, performance artists Annie Sprinkle and Beth Stephens, theatre activist Aryeh Shell, affordable medicine activist Merith Basey, playwright and San Francisco Mime Troupe member Michael Gene Sullivan, and many more.
Your host, L.M. Bogad, broadcasts from his “shelter in place” bunker, while himself conspiring in ongoing creative activist campaigns on these issues.
The Plague Podcast:
Created, Hosted, Edited by L.M. Bogad (www.lmbogad.com), professor of political performance at UC Davis, and author of the books Tactical Performance and Electoral Guerrila Theatre, and the play COINTELSHOW: A Patriot Act.
Music by Jason Montero (https://m.soundcloud.com/jamoja) and Bogad’s Other Friend Named Jay. Logo by Bogad, with clip art from nicepng.com.
For more information on L.M. Bogad's books and performance work: www.lmbogad.com.
L.M. Bogad is an author, performance artist, professor of political performance at U.C. Davis, and co-founder of the Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army. He has performed and led workshops in mischievous activist pranks internationally, most recently in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Latvia, at SFMOMA and other major museums, on a squatted military base in Barcelona, and in Cairo during the first phase of the Egyptian revolution. He was the “Art and Controversy” Fellow, and the Distinguished Lecturer on Performance and Politics, at Carnegie Mellon University, and the “Humanities and Political Conflict” Fellow at Arizona State University. His projects includes a historical role playing game called “Possible Pasts,” and performances which excavate and explore the memories of historical confrontations including the Haymarket Square Riot, the Pinochet coup, and the FBI’s COINTELPRO activities. His books are Electoral Guerilla Theatre: Radical Ridicule and Social Movements, Tactical Performance: The Theory and Practice of Serious Play, and COINTELSHOW: A Patriot Act and the forthcoming Perform/Inform/Transform: Works of Radical Memory for Times of Social Amnesia..
Episode 9: The Plague of "Burn It Down" Partisanship with Princeton professor Julian Zelizer
Our current President and his party seem to be more interested in slandering their political opponents, propagating conspiracy theories, and fomenting division and distraction in our society, than in organizing a coherent response to the pandemic, the economic crisis, and other urgent problems that a competent and responsible government would address.Have our politics always operated this way? Is this "burn it down" partisanship the same on all sides? Is this just the way the "rough and tumble" of political conflict usually works?Our guest on this episode, Dr. Julian E. Zelizer, History professor at Princeton University and CNN commentator, refers to his new book, "Burning Down The House: Newt Gingrich, the Fall of a Speaker, and the Rise of the New Republican Party," to explain that this destructive trend in the GOP is relatively new and alarming. Zelizer traces the origin of this plague to the rise of Newt Gingrich in the 1980s and 1990s, and has clear and practical recommendations for what to do about it.https://history.princeton.edu/people/julian-e-zelizerhttps://www.cnn.com/profiles/julian-zelizerhttps://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/318517/burning-down-the-house-by-julian-e-zelizer/Host and Editor: L.M. Bogad: www.lmbogad.comMusic: Jason Montero https://m.soundcloud.com/jamoja, and by my other friend named JaySound effects clips from soundbible.comlogo by Bogad, with clip art from nicepng.com
Episode 8: The Plague of "There Is No Alternative" with Stephen Duncombe of the Center for Artistic Activism
We are in the middle of the biggest protest moment in the United States since 1968, and are confronted with the greatest wave of repressive violence in response from the authorities. What is the role of the radical imagination, and the idea of Utopia, for social movements at this major turning point in our history? And how do we overcome the deeply ingrained idea that "There Is No Alternative" to our current system? Stephen Duncombe has some powerful diagnoses and prescriptions on this episode of The Plague.http://www.stephenduncombe.com/https://c4aa.org/Host and Editor: L.M. Bogad: www.lmbogad.comMusic: Jason Montero https://m.soundcloud.com/jamoja, and by my other friend named JaySound effects clips from soundbible.comclip art from nicepng.com
Episode 7: The Plague of Worker Expendability with Sabiha Basrai and Ricardo Nuñez
In this episode, we speak with guests Sabiha Basrai and Ricardo Nuñez about the plague of worker expendability in our current economy, and how worker owned-cooperatives are the cure. The coronavirus has only put into starker relief a problem we have always had--that the lives and well-being of many workers are considered disposable by the CEOs and shareholders of their employing corporations. So, how do worker-owned cooperatives give workers shared opportunity, rewarding careers, and the ability to make a living without cutthroat competition with each other? And how, in practical and legal terms, can folks start a cooperative for themselves?Host and Editor: L.M. Bogad: www.lmbogad.comMusic: Jason Montero https://m.soundcloud.com/jamoja, and by my other friend named JaySound effects clips from soundbible.comclip art from nicepng.comResources and organizations mentioned in this episode:Network of Bay Area Worker Cooperatives https://nobawc.org/US Federation of Worker Cooperatives https://www.usworker.coop/home/Center for Story-based Strategy and the 4th box thought exercise: https://www.storybasedstrategy.org/tools-and-resourcesDesignaction.orgSustainable Economies Law Center https://www.theselc.org/Co-oplaw.orgCalifornia’s Law Office Study Program LikeLincoln.orgDemocracy at Work Institute https://institute.coop/Project Equity https://www.project-equity.org/
Episode 6: The Plague of Lie Machines with Oxford professor Philip N. Howard
Artificially intelligent “bot” accounts attack politicians and public figures on social media. Conspiracy theorists publish junk news sites to promote their outlandish beliefs. Campaigners create fake dating profiles to attract young voters. We live in a world of technologies that misdirect our attention, poison our political conversations, and jeopardize our democracies.This is the plague that Oxford professor Philip Howard takes on in his new book: Lie Machines: How to Save Democracy from Troll Armies, Deceitful Robots, Junk News Operations, and Political Operatives. With massive amounts of social media and public polling data, and in depth interviews with political consultants, bot writers, and journalists, Philip N. Howard offers ways to take these “lie machines” apart.Dr. Howard gets into how these lie machines are literally causing Covid deaths throughout our society through misinformation...and how they helped to put the authoritarians, currently mishandling the pandemic, in power in the first place...But it's not all doom and gloom: he has amazing treatments and cures prescribed for this plague--from big policy demands to personal behavior recommendations to rid us of this disinformation infection.As part of the creative contribution I ask of my guest experts, he does an amazing dramatic rendition of the titles of some unlikely and weird videos that come up when you search for Covid news under today's algorithm. Benedict Cumberbatch, William Shatner, look out! Dr. Howard is overtaking you.https://liemachines.org/https://www.oii.ox.ac.uk/people/philip-howard/Host and Editor: L.M. Bogad: www.lmbogad.comMusic: Jason Montero https://m.soundcloud.com/jamoja, and by my other friend named JaySound effects clips from soundbible.comclip art from nicepng.com
Episode 5: The Plague of Orwellian Fear, Division, and Denial of Data and Science, with Michael Gene Sullivan
In this episode, Michael Gene Sullivan, playwright and performer, collective member of the San Francisco Mime Troupe, and author of a celebrated dramatic adaptation of George Orwell's 1984, talks about the culture of anti-intellectualism, class domination, distraction, and defeatism, and prescribes his resolutely revolutionary brand of political theatre. We discuss a wide range of topics along the way, and he shares with us two of the many Mime Troupe's songs that has sung.Host and Editor: L.M. Bogad: www.lmbogad.comMusic: Jason Montero https://m.soundcloud.com/jamoja, and by my other friend named JayMichael Gene Sullivan: https://www.michaelgenesullivan.com/michaelSan Francisco Mime Troupe: https://www.sfmt.org/Sound effects clips from soundbible.comclip art from nicepng.com.
Episode 4: The Plague of Ecomatricide, with Annie Sprinkle and Beth Stephens
In this episode we talk with artist-activists Annie Sprinkle and Beth Stephens about the plague of ecomatricide, and how the cure is ecosexuality. What happens when we think of the Earth, not as our mother, but as our lover?Host and Editor: L.M. Bogad: www.lmbogad.comMusic: Jason Montero https://m.soundcloud.com/jamoja, and by my other friend named JayAnnie Sprinkle and Beth Stephens: Sexecology.orgSound effects clips from soundbible.comclip art from nicepng.com