cover art for Episode 172: Jewish Space Lasers with Mike Rothschild

Across the Margin: The Podcast

Episode 172: Jewish Space Lasers with Mike Rothschild

This episode of Across The Margin : The Podcast features an interview with journalist, author, and conspiracy theory expert Mike Rothschild. Mike has written two previous books, including The Storm is Upon Us: How QAnon Became a Movement, Cult, and Conspiracy Theory of Everything. He has been interviewed by CNN, MSNBC, NPR, the BBC, the Washington Post, and the New York Times, among many other outlets, to discuss conspiracy theories and has testified to Congress on the threat of election disinformation. His latest book, Jewish Space Lasers: The Rothschilds and 200 Years of Conspiracy Theories, is the focus of this episode. Jewish Space Lasers: The Rothschilds and 200 Years of Conspiracy Theories is a deeply researched dive into the history of the conspiracy industry around the Rothschild family — from the “pamphlet wars” of Paris in the 1840s to the dankest pits of the internet today. Journalist and conspiracy theory expert Mike Rothschild, who isn’t related to the family, sorts out myth from reality to find the truth about these conspiracy theories and their spreaders. Who were the Rothschilds? Who are they today? Do they really own $500 trillion and every central bank, in addition to “controlling the British money supply?” Is any of this actually true? And why, even as their wealth and influence have waned, do they continue to drive conspiracies and hoaxes? In this episode host Michael Shields and Mike Rothschild explore just how the Rothschild family originally became the focus of countless antisemitic conspiracy theories while considering how the story of the Rothschild conspiracy theories is the story of modern antisemitism. They talk about the “myth to end all myths” involving the Battle of Waterloo, how authentically dangerous the Rothschild conspiracy theories are, how George Soros has become the present-day stand-in for the Rothschilds, and so much more.

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  • Episode 173: Louis Michot's Rêve du Troubadour

    This episode of Across The Margin : The Podcast presents an interview with musician Louis Michot, best known as the fiddle player and lead-singer for the Grammy-award winning Lost Bayou Ramblers. Rêve du Troubadour, the first solo album from Louis Michot and the focus of this episode, is set for release on September 22, 2023. Special guests on these recordings include Nigerian Tuareg guitar wizard Bombino and critically acclaimed singer / cellist Leyla McCalla, among others. Although known as a fiddle player, Michot can be found performing on guitar, bass, T’fer (triangle), samplers, percussions, and accordion on the album. Some of the eclectic, captivating tracks feature him playing every part, while others find him backed by bassist Bryan Webre and drummer Kirkland Middleton of the Ramblers. Middleton also engineered and mixed the album at Nina Highway Studios in Arnaudville, Louisiana with various, talented musicians building on tracks Michot had recorded at his home, houseboat studio. Though Michot has published over 100 songs, he feels that Rêve du Troubadour is his first collection of “writing” as these songs tell their stories in much greater depth than he’s achieved before and utilize words peculiar to Louisiana French which seldom appear in musical compositions. Michot’s passion for Louisiana French and local folklore, and sustainability in the fastest disappearing landmass in the world, are what fuels his career as a musician. With over 20 LPs under his belt, his music career continues to push the boundaries of the Louisiana French music traditions. In this episode host Michael Shields and Louis Michot discuss Michot’s Cajun roots and the varied influences that helped shape his unique musical stylings. They thoroughly explore Michot’s latest album, how it was crafted in his studio which was built in a houseboat dry-docked on his property, and how many of the soundscapes on it were inspired by nature and the ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax. They talk about the amazing guests featured on the album, what to expect from Michot’s forthcoming tour, Michot’s work in scoring films, and so much more.
  • Episode 171: Mike Baggetta & mssv's Human Reaction

    This episode of Across The Margin : The Podcast presents an interview with musician Mike Baggetta, one third of the experimental rock/punk band Main Steam Stop Valve (mssv). mssv recently released their second studio album, Human Reaction, a captivating collection of songs that is the focus of this episode. The band, composed of guitarist Mike Baggetta, Stephen Hodges on drums, and Mike Watt on bass, creates music that is an unimagined hybrid of a punk power-trio and a dreamy experimental rock band, though they prefer the term “post-genre.” Recorded mostly on May Day immediately following their last tour, Human Reaction traverses a deeply broad sonic landscape, as expected from this nearly unclassifiable group. With inventively churning drum textures from Hodges (an instantly identifiable sound honed in his days with Tom Waits and David Lynch) and the full-steam-ahead all-in attitude from Watt, (as he’s displayed throughout his storied career with MINUTEMEN, fIREHOSE, and The Stooges), there is still the impression of “pressure, combustion, power, and hissing clouds of sonic poetry,” as Premier Guitar puts it. Also evident is the more fearless exploring that comes from a band that has spent a lot of time together crafting their vision. In this episode host Michael Shields and Mike Baggetta discuss the origins of mssv before diving in deeply about how their second album came to life on the road. They discuss the band’s lyrical awakening featured on the album, working on music with Nels Cline, the forthcoming 58 date fall tour, and so much more.
  • Episode 170 : To Catch A Killer With Doug Greco

    This episode of Across The Margin: The Podcast presents an interview with author and  political organizer Doug Greco. Greco has organized for over 15 years in Austin and San Antonio with the Industrial Areas Foundation, the nation’s largest and longest-standing network of faith and community-based organizations. Before that, he served as Director of Programs with Equality California, the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ organization. His book, To Find a Killer: The Homophobic Murders of Norma and Maria Hurtado and the LGBT Rights Movement, is the focus of this episode. Despite monumental gains in legal equality over the past decade, the LGBTQ community still faces harsh disparities in physical and mental health, economic status, racial stratification, and hate crimes victimization. These factors compound for LGBTQ persons of color, low income individuals, immigrants, and members of the transgender community. In To Find a Killer — a finalist in the Writers' League of Texas 2021 Manuscript Contest for Nonfiction — Doug Greco explores the next phase of the LGBTQ rights movement and how issues of race, class, sexuality, gender identity, and economic status often intersect producing negative outcomes for members of the LGBTQ community. Beginning with a gripping, firsthand account of the 2011 anti-gay murder of twenty-four year-old Norma Hurtado, a student the Greco taught in an Austin high school ten years earlier, To Find a Killer employs a mix of narrative nonfiction and political analysis to uncover the intersectional nature of the disparities impacting the LGBTQ community. Drawing from his fifteen-years' experience as a grassroots organizer in Texas and California, Greco argues for the types of political organizations and public policies necessary to address these challenges. To Find a Killer charts a robust but pragmatic course for the LGBTQ movement today: investing in grassroots leadership development, rooting organizations in local civic and religious institutions, and focusing not just on legal equality, but a wider set of socio-economic issues.
  • Episode 169: The Beggar with Michael Gira (Swans)

    This episode of Across The Margin : The Podcast features an interview with singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, author, and artist Michael Gira. Gira is the founder of the band Swans, in which he sings and plays guitar. He is also the founder of Young God Records and previously fronted Angels of Light. The focus of this episode is on Swans latest release, a terrific album entitled The Beggar. Michael Gira founded the groundbreaking NYC band Swans in 1982. Initially notorious for their relentless, brutal, high-volume onslaughts of sound, the extreme, abject imagery of Gira’s lyrics, and his thundering vocals, Swans latest album, The Beggar, is a sprawling, sonically dizzying, and thought-provoking work of art that showcases the extreme abilities of a legendary frontman and band that somehow still sounds at the height of their talents. In this episode host Michael Shields and Michael Gira discuss the themes abounding in The Beggar and the influence Argentine author Jorge Luis Borges had on the album. They give a hat tip to the talented instrumentalists that were part of the project while exploring how birthing The Beggar during the pandemic affected the entirely captivating work of art. They dig into the ins-and-outs of the 44 minute track on the album entitled “The Beggar Lover” (Three)” where, in the episode, Michael reads a section of poetry found within the all-encompassing journey of a track. They also talk about what to expect from the upcoming tour, how Jim Morrison has inspired Michael throughout his life, and a whole lot more.
  • Episode 168: A House Made of Splinters with Simon Lereng Wilmont

    This episode of Across The Margin: The Podcast presents an interview with director Simon Lereng Wilmont. Simon’s first feature documentary film, The Distant Barking of Dogs (2017), premiered at IDFA and was awarded Best First Appearance. It has since gone on to win 35+ awards worldwide. His latest documentary, A House Made of Splinters, the focus of this episode, made its world premiere at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival where it won the Best Director prize in the World-Cinema Documentary competition. The celebrated film was an Academy Award Nominee for Best Documentary Feature Film for the 2023 Oscars® and has continued to be a word-of-mouth success and essential to dialogues around crisis-caregiving amid the Russian-led invasion of Ukraine. A House Made of Splinters explores how the most vulnerable are caught up within institutional bureaucracies, generational traumas, and international flexes of power beyond their control and limits of understanding. It’s a film, as Simon Lereng Wilmont tells it, about “the long term, less visible, but no less devastating consequences that war has had on many of the small communities situated along frontline of the war in Eastern Ukraine. It is also a story about love, compassion and hope. This is what powers the dedicated, big-hearted caregivers working tirelessly to try and give the children a better future, and what makes these incredible children still want to reach out and dare to try and form close human connections despite the tragic circumstances of the broken families that they come from.  In this episode host Michael Shields and Simon Lereng Wilmont discuss the psychological and emotional trauma that is inflicted upon children in times of war. They discuss how profoundly special the shelter at the heart of the film and those working there are. They talking about the generation cycles of trauma caused from war, coping mechanisms that kids are drawn to in dire situations, the power of hope , and so much more.
  • Episode 167: The Age of Insurrection with David Neiwert

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  • Episode 165: Scream of My Blood with Gogol Bordello's Eugene Hütz

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