Secret Base now has one million subscribers on YouTube. It’s a huge minute for us, and it’s a testament to all the ambition, imagination and years of hard work put in by our team: Alex Rubenstein, Clara Morris, Graham MacAree, Jiazhen Zhang, Joe Ali, Jon Bois, Kofie Yeboah, Mike Das, Phil Pasternak, Ryan Simmons, Seth Rosenthal, and Will Buikema.
Out of gratitude for our viewers, we have actually chosen to re-release our 2018 documentary series, Battling in the Age of Solitude, as a single two-hour video. Jon invested years working with Felix Biederman of Chapo Trap House popularity to tell a story of blended martial arts, sketchy organization negotiations, power-hungry families, the fading of American empire, and the sanctuary used to us by our strange, stupid, cherished bloodsport.
Jon and Felix also took the celebration to have a long speak about what the task suggests to us two years later. It was a free-flowing conversation that sort of went where it went. We hope you enjoy.
Jon: I have actually been on the web making all kinds of different shit for a truly long time, and two years down the road, Combating in the Age of Isolation is one of the things i’m really proudest of.
Was there a specific point at which it stopped being merely a fun Saturday night for you, and you began to observe the erosion of the things that made it so special?
Felix: To Start With, I wish to state that FITAOL is the sort of thing I have actually dreamed of making because prior to I ever knew I ‘d work in media. It was a remote twinkle and I would never have actually had the ability to do it with anyone else. The way it felt and look outmatched even what I had imagined something like it would seem like as a kid.
As for MMA, I didn’t see the decrease till I was in my early- to mid-twenties. Perhaps there’s something to be stated about the final parts of your youth now passing away around that time nowadays rather than earlier. I definitely ended up being more vulnerable to seeing seedier, more dismal, hollow aspects of things I delighted in, however it was something more than that. There are tons of things I love that I now see the darker elements of, however I have actually never ever gone from full compulsive mania to not touching it like[I have with MMA] Or at least not as an adult. I understood everything, every battle, every event, who left which training camp, whose manager is an asshole, etc. I didn’t go from that to not watching quickly.
I think the moment my enjoyment decreased excessive for me to like it was2016 I had more responsibilities and worked a lot that year, but to put it candidly, I established a life. I don’t think I truly had one as a 22- year-old, and all of a sudden it felt like I had actually been dropped one from the sky. That’s never gotten in the way of me getting compulsive about things and drawing a singular focus, however in this case I had actually started missing out on battles I never ever would have and not actually missing them. There was absolutely nothing drawing me back. If you can preserve an interest, pastime, obsession, or mania in a time of brand-new meaning and excitement, there’s something at the core of it that’s radiating out to you on an extremely deep level. MMA did not have that for me any longer. I seemed like that core had been hollowed out and it took me a while to determine why.
A lot of parts of your life and things you always believed kinda melt off and float away. You’re left in this sort of golden where you’re simply sort of there, attempting to make it day to day and sticking to whatever resonates with you.
People who were forgotten and rudderless in one method or another, and took sanctuary in a thing that was so distinct and tasteless and off-the-path that it could feel like it was theirs. I was just like, so much of the shit I thought I was expected to care about doesn’t make sense to me.
While each one is no more or less essential than the next, each is various and formed by different conditions. Can you think of a sensible possibility that things will get much better?
Felix: When I consider coming generations, I consider what Jarvis Cocker states in “Typical Individuals”: “you’ll never watch your life slide out of view.”
It’s a gut-wrenching line in a song that’s musically positive. It hits at something very deep mentally with me that I could never put into words. That’s exactly it: peoples’ lives just fall out of the collective field of vision. They’re required to live at the periphery of everyone’s vision. They’re UberEats men or they clean down the aisles at CVS every 15 minutes, or they’re the saving another person’s location in line for a COVID test.
The next generations will have a couple of carefully-doled-out seven-figure futures, and then a fleeting and tenuous middle class that is just specified as economic “flexibility from” and not “flexibility to.” Your purchasing power is shit compared to your moms and dads, you’re going to live like a bug in a major city or in a new building and construction monstrosity that’s constructed to collapse on itself, and you have less friends and family every year.
Your imagine having somebody you love and somebody that likes you, much less bringing someone new into this world, appears like more of a far-off fantasy every day. But you’re the person purchasing the food on the delivery app. You’re the man who those CVS employees give way for when you sadly waddle down the aisle. Aren’t you delighted you’re not those individuals who you just ever see in the corner of your eye? And that’s where everybody else will be: increasingly undetectable. They’ll leave your food at your doorstep and be penalized at work if you make eye contact with them. They’ll bring you pallets of agribusiness-grown chemical bullshit that makes you feel sick and fucking unpleasant all the time. Your biggest worry on that middle class iceberg will be wandering off and ending up being someone who does not exist to people like you, and it will keep you in line.
I don’t know how that changes. I don’t believe anyone currently holding federal workplace gives a shit about those individuals and even putting their finger in the dam to momentarily pause the constant destruction and pain the majority of people in this country feel that you never hear about. I don’t know what the path out is.
Jon: I don’t understand either. I’m an optimist by option due to the fact that being that method makes me happier and inspires me to make whatever infinitesimal speck of difference i can make. It resembles religion. I can’t validate it, I can’t inform you need to be, it’s simply the way i choose to be. Something i’m relatively sure of is that if it gets better, it’ll happen over a long, long span of time, in increments normally too small to jointly commemorate, therefore slowly that neither of us will ever really see it. It’ll be as imperceptible as Jarvis Cocker explained. The small, illusory reward of seeing Bernie lose, for instance, is the dream that we were THIS near to getting on the best course, that we’re just a few breaks away from pulling the switch and rolling down another track.
And since it takes place so slowly, we can’t let ourselves be driven to pain. I imply, we can, however we have actually just got among these lives. We need to have things that make us pleased, even if the opportunities towards those things grow narrower, and although the very nature of neighborhood crumbles and sends us permeating in between the floorboards trying to find it.
I remember during the aughts, when I was very first trying to work my method into sports media, the popular line among the cool kids was that things like sports are a distraction that monopolizes peoples’ attention and energy that otherwise would go into enacting real political change. Things like sports are the fucking point!
Felix: That’s precisely it. There’s this thing that occurs when people get monkeys as animals: they go outrageous from a lack of enrichment and play (as well as not being around other monkeys). They never find out how to be a monkey. They’re just naked and vulnerable to the world since all they can do is strike the button or make the face that makes their owner provide food. That’s all their life is and it’s fucking unpleasant and scary. Sports isn’t the important things you strip away and after that discover significance. It’s part of the combination we color our lives with. It’s the only way left we have to describe particular things.