The Underground – Issue #13
Everything you need to know about in this weekly series: A gripping Holocaust documentary, what would happen if all humans suddenly disappeared, a book that covers nearly everything, a mind-blowing Edward Snowden film, the best Conan remote segments, and a comedian that you should know.
At Social Underground we go beyond the mainstream stuff and see what’s underneath the surface. What should we get into, listen to, read, eat or watch? If there is something in our culture that needs attention, dammit, we will bring it to your attention. With The Underground, we mean to do exactly that: Show you the underground things that you need to know about: Books, music, television, movies, comedians, art, and whatever else we can find to get you into something you never knew about.
Don’t you remember the time you heard that first song from your favorite band? You made the decision to jump head first into that first album and then delve deeper into them. Now, you don’t remember a time where you haven’t listened to that band. If you play guitar, you don’t remember the time where you didn’t know how to play. We want to bring you new stuff that you didn’t know you need in your life to the point where you can’t remember not knowing about it. That’s The Underground.
1. Night Will Fall will give you chills and a new perspective on the Holocaust. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, genocide is something that fascinates me. How thousands of people can come together to do the most horrific things is something that I will never get, but will continue to look into. The Holocaust is one of the most diabolical events in modern history, and this documentary will show you more than you thought actually existed in the public record.
What makes this documentary footage different from the hundreds of Holocaust docs made before it? Well…
Researchers discovered film footage from World War II that turns out to be a lost documentary shot by Alfred Hitchcock and Sidney Bernstein in 1945 about German concentration camps.
Hitchcock. This was being made in 1945, when people still didn’t believe or know that this even happened. Hitchcock was involved, but most of the credit goes to Bernstein, who was a British official at the time. Words can’t really describe what you see in the film. Watching humans being carried like old carpet being thrown out in the trash will really affect you. You watch it and have to pause it because you know what you’re seeing is real, but it’s so unbelievable that you wish it wasn’t. It’s like watching a sad movie for the 50th time and hoping for a happy ending that will never come.
Watch it on HBO now.
2. This is what will happen to the planet if all humans disappeared. Let’s face it, humans are a pretty awful species when it comes to taking care of the environment. We have a garbage island of plastic floating around the ocean! The only way the Earth could possibly rebound from the damage we’ve caused is if we all disappeared.
If you separate yourself from all the politics of climate change — minus the overwhelming evidence — you can see our effects daily. Is it nighttime where you are right now? Go outside and look at the stars. Only count a handful? Light pollution. Are you in an area of the planet where it’s Winter? How much of the snow is covered in various oils and looks like black mush? Are you hiking in the hills near Los Angeles, but can’t see the city clearly? Smog. If you don’t think humans are an element that causes a ridiculous amount of destruction to the planet, tell me so I can come over there and hit you with a rolled up newspaper.
This video gives you a quick overview of how the Earth will rebound after we disappear.
3. Bill Bryson tries to explains nearly everything in his book A Short History of Nearly Everything.
It’s hard to find a book where an author tries to explain the entire history of the planet in one book, but Bill Bryson tries to and does an excellent job (Except telling me where all my Nerf bullets and guitar picks go!).
In A Walk in the Woods, Bill Bryson trekked the Appalachian Trail—well, most of it. In A Sunburned Country, he confronted some of the most lethal wildlife Australia has to offer. Now, in his biggest book, he confronts his greatest challenge: to understand—and, if possible, answer—the oldest, biggest questions we have posed about the universe and ourselves. Taking as territory everything from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization, Bryson seeks to understand how we got from there being nothing at all to there being us. To that end, he has attached himself to a host of the world’s most advanced (and often obsessed) archaeologists, anthropologists, and mathematicians, travelling to their offices, laboratories, and field camps. He has read (or tried to read) their books, pestered them with questions, apprenticed himself to their powerful minds. A Short History of Nearly Everything is the record of this quest, and it is a sometimes profound, sometimes funny, and always supremely clear and entertaining adventure in the realms of human knowledge, as only Bill Bryson can render it. Science has never been more involving or entertaining.
It’s a wonderful book written with care by a man who simply yearns to teach you things. This book is what modern textbooks lack — the ability to inspire. Textbooks are re-released to poor students with slightly changed questions at the end of chapters just to make a buck. This book was written to teach in a way that will grab the attention of the reader. It hooks you in a way that makes you sit on the edge of your seat from the get go, as evidenced by the first few pages with this fantastic quote:
“It is a slightly arresting notion that if you were to pick yourself apart with tweezers, one atom at a time, you would produce a mound of fine atomic dust, none of which had ever been alive but all of which had once been you.”
You can head over to Amazon to purchase this book immediately.
4. Citizenfour is the most important documentary that you need to watch as soon as you can. I’ve already predicted that this documentary will win the Best Documentary Feature in the 2015 Academy Awards, but the importance of this film cannot be overstated.
In January 2013, Laura Poitras started receiving anonymous encrypted e-mails from “CITIZENFOUR,” who claimed to have evidence of illegal covert surveillance programs run by the NSA in collaboration with other intelligence agencies worldwide. Five months later, she and reporters Glenn Greenwald and Ewen MacAskill flew to Hong Kong for the first of many meetings with the man who turned out to be Edward Snowden. She brought her camera with her. The resulting film is history unfolding before our eyes.
I think of a horror movie as something that scares you to your very core. This movie wasn’t just terrifying to me because it shows that any technology we use is monitored, no, it shows that all of this information was released that we’re all being spied on and nothing has come out of it. Is there any new law that prevents this? Did people who lied in testimony go to jail? Are there not more and more data collecting centers being built? Do critics of Snowden not do exactly what he said they would: Use him as a scapegoat to distract from what was revealed? No. Citizenfour is a horror film that you don’t want to be real, but it is and it’s never ending.
5. The 5 CONAN remotes that you need to watch because they’re hilarious. Conan O’Brien is the best late night host on television. Period. During the time of the writer’s strike, he just went out and displayed how funny he was and destroyed everyone. He not only proved the he’s funny, but he shows that he loves his entire crew.
It’s hard to find the best remote segments that Team Coco has done over its near 20 year reign of hilarity, but I will try and bring you the best of the segments I can find. Hopefully, you will watch these and then keep clicking on more segments until you realize you just burned 6 hours of time laughing so hard that you get reprimanded at your job.
6. Jerrod Carmichael is a comedian that should be a household name. It’s difficult to go on stage and own the entire crowd whilst looking comfortable. Carmichael does this like it’s no big thing at all. How he manages to put an interesting take on the whole Chick-Fil-A/homosexuality controversy is really quite hilarious. It takes a good comedian to take a controversial subject and flip it on it’s head.
And here he is with a hilarious take on domestic abuse:
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Jeff Sorensen is an author, writer and occasional comedian living in Detroit, Michigan. You can look for more of his work on The Huffington Post, UPROXX, BGR and by just looking up his name.