The Underground — Issue #40
Everything you need to know about in this weekly series: A look back at the tragic events of September 11th, the best podcast on the internet, the many amazing bands of Aaron Bruno, a look inside the mysterious world of Henry Darger, and what exactly is dark matter/energy?
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 that’s our job: 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. That’s The Underground.
1. A look back at the reactions on 9/11. As I write this, it’s the 14th anniversary of the tragic events of September 11th. I can remember it vividly and still can’t believe I watched such an insane event happen live on the air. We all just sat their in my seminar class in high school watching planes hit two gigantic buildings in NYC. Writing this right now is giving me pause because it still resonates.
I don’t want to go into the political aspects and the aftermath, but I just want to remember the people who died and the reactions of some of the biggest personalities. Check them out below and remember to be good to each other every day.
Howard Stern as it happened:
Jon Stewart describes how he felt and really caught the attention of a nation:
Letterman gives his heartfelt response:
It’s impressive that Letterman and Stewart could even go on the air after this happened. You can both see and hear the emotion in their voices as they spoke of it, trying to move on, remembering the victims, praising the heroes, and looking to the future. I took a little bit of time this morning to watch those 9/11 as it happened” videos on YouTube. Couldn’t do it. Couldn’t want that stuff again.
If you weren’t born when it happened, I do recommend you watch the first few hours. It’s history. It’s a history of what hate can cause people to do. Hate kills people. Hate hurts families, friends, sisters, brother, mothers, fathers, cousins, colleagues, and innocent people just trying to live their lives. But hate doesn’t win. Hate never wins. As Jon Stewart puts it: “Any fool can blow something up. Any fool can destroy. But to see these guys, these firefighters, these policemen and people from all over the country, literally, with buckets rebuilding. That, that – that is – that’s extraordinary. That’s why we’ve already won. It’s light. It’s democracy. We’ve already won. They can’t shut that down. They live in chaos and chaos…it can’t sustain itself. It never could. It’s too easy and it’s too unsatisfying.
The view from my apartment was the World Trade Center and now it’s gone. They attacked it. This symbol of American ingenuity and strength and labor and imagination and commerce and it is gone. But you know what the view is now? The Statue of Liberty. The view from the south of Manhattan is now the Statue of Liberty. You can’t beat that.”
2. The Underground had its first podcast! A few months ago we decided that we needed to have a podcast where we could talk about all the stuff happening in the world and also realize: “Oh, that’s what I sound like? Yeesh.” The important thing is that we had fun and think you will when you listen.
We did we talk about?
- The movie Trainwreck — which was apparently a trainwreck
- The Ashley Madison hack and the fools that got caught cheating
- What hackers should be hacking instead of Ashley Madison
- Gary finally saw Mad Max: Fury Road
- I discuss TV pilots awkwardly
- Joyce somehow managed to smuggle in a glass of wine into a movie theater
Good times. Have a listen below and stay tuned to our next podcast.
3. Get to know AWOLNATION and lead singer Aaron Bruno’s past projects. I’ve been a fan of Aaron Bruno’s music of over 10 years. Before AWOLNATION exploded into the mainstream, he was in the bands Hometown Hero and Under The Influence of Giants. Both bands differed from each other many ways: The former was most post-grunge rock. The latter was more of a poppy disco.
Bruno is dynamic in that he can switch genres and kill it on every song on every album. It is always a bummer when you hear a song on the radio, buy an album, and the only good song on the album is the song that made you buy the album. Bruce managed to make albums where you have a different favorite song every time that you listen. I’d like to showcase some of these songs from his various projects just to demonstrate what you’ve been missing.
Hometown Hero – Questions
Hometown Hero – Bleeds In Blue
Under The Influence of Giants – Mama’s Room
AWOLNATION – Sail
And here is AWOLNATION killing it live. I’ve seen them live and highly recommend it.
4. One of the longest novels ever written is just the tip of this iceberg. Ever hear of Henry Darger? No? Well, he was a janitor at a hospital in Chicago for years until his death in 1973. He had no friends, was a recluse, and only a few photos exist of him.
It’s actually a sad story, but what really stuck out is what happened after he died and people went into his apartment. What they found was a 15,145-page, single-spaced fantasy manuscript called The Story of the Vivian Girls, in What is Known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinian War Storm, Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion, along with several hundred drawings and watercolor paintings illustrating the story.
HUNDREDS OF GIGANTIC WATER COLOR PAINTINGS WITH IT!
Sorry, but as a writer, that is unbelievable. This guy sat alone in his apartment and created this gigantic story and no one ever knew. Imagine you’re cooking mac and cheese for your kids for dinner and that nice old man you see once in awhile is creating one of the biggest novels ever conceived. I mean, opening page one of Game of Thrones has me groan a bit because it was single-spaced, but 15,145 pages, plus immense images? I want to add his apartment to my list of places to visit if I had a time machine. I’d knock on the door, show him a smartphone, tell him I knew what he was up to, and then chill in his place and let him just talk for hours. Listening to old dudes rant for hours about something they’re passionate about — not politics, race, gay rights, voting, vaccinations, technology, women — is pretty fun because they describe it so vividly.
Get closer look into Darger’s world in this documentary made about him. His rough upbringing inspired one of the longest works ever written.
5. Just what the heck are dark energy and dark matter? Go up to that “smart friend” and ask them that question. I guarantee they will give you some garbage answer. We don’t really know, but we have theories. I won’t even try to explain it because I don’t want to sound like an complete idiot. I will allow this guy with a British accent to try to explain what we know and don’t know about it because he sounds smarter than me.
Follow Jeff Sorensen on TWITTER
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.