Combating in the Age of Solitude, supercut edition: A conversation with Felix and Jon

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.

Screenshot from Fighting in the Age of Loneliness, part 1.

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.

Screenshot from Fighting in the Age of Loneliness, part 4.

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.

Screenshot from Fighting in the Age of Loneliness, part 1.

We haven’t made any of them stars in a long time. That’s the thing really offering our lives enrichment and color.

How to direct that, I don’t know. Possibly our Napoleon is at Michigan or Clemson right now. If we ever have an extremely transformational single ruler who washes out the old, it will be a professional athlete.

Jon: RIGHT! It’s in sports where we discover a few of the most pure, honest expressions of humanity. To borrow among my preferred lines of yours from the series, nothing about it lies to you. It’s so intensely meaningful in ways people can nearly never achieve even when we script it. I think of this minute a lot:

A stadium complete of people is losing their shit, Pujols hits a ball 700 miles, and in an immediate, the entire place sounds like a shopping mall. It’s just 50,000 people having their hearts ripped out.

I ‘d love to say the military’s days of polling high are numbered, that more youthful individuals are starting to see things for what they are.

You’re checking out the world, finding things, presenting brand-new innovations, developing all over the location. And one day you strike back and take that revenge, and it’s so satisfying.
Like a spearman or something you left on a far-flung part of the map in 400 A.D. and forgot about. He’s all that’s left about what you as soon as loved about all this, back when you at least believed you understood why you were doing what you were doing.

Screenshot from Fighting in the Age of Loneliness, episode 5.

Felix: I think we’re headed in this strange fragmented instructions none of us can quite place. Really few individuals wish to admit that this is completion, the beginning of a royal unraveling. I see all these arguments over whether China is communist or not, whether they’re the fucking Third Reich or something ludicrous, or they’re the saviors of mankind. They all miss this very basic fact: China getting rid of mass poverty on a scale we’ve never seen, China updating on the timeline and scale that it has, is the only generational human accomplishment of the last 30 years. That’s it. That’s the only thing anybody in fact remembers in one thousand years if we’re still here.

They’re the only nation that has actually done anything. The United States, European Union, India, no one has any comparable accomplishments. Oh, undisturbed peace in Europe? Shut up! Nobody gives a fuck! You ‘d need to dig deep for something one one-hundredth as remarkable.

In America, however, you never ever find out about it. You never become aware of how they’re fucking spitting in each other’s mouths at water parks while we’re toiling in the slush. And you understand what? I do not care if more individuals passed away than what they said. I understand nations lie, blah blah. The basic fact is that we’re squirming around in the mud while they are residing in today which’s an apparent fact. Sorry. We might have the capability to kill some individuals and knock some governments over still, but we’re done. We’re revealed as worthless. Nobody is in fact scared of us. So what takes place next?

The one thing working in the military’s favor is that they’re the only organization with the resources and workforce to presume control and/or fight present oligarchical powers if it came to that, but I do not know if the military will have the exact same emotional powers in people’s minds then. It may leave a different taste in people’s mouths if there start to be falls of Saigon every day.

MyPillow/ YouTube

Jon: In high school I was irritated by this guy I understood who liked to go on about how America remained in a state of decrease. He was likewise a person who signed his homework as Tyler Durden, but 20 years down the roadway, can you argue with him? I’m thankful we talked about Hurricane Katrina in the series, because that wasn’t an aberration. It’s all Katrina. Sometimes it manifests loudly, like it finishes with this pandemic, but the majority of the time it happens entirely quietly. Someone being in Rikers for several years without a trial. A $45,000 medical costs sitting on a kitchen counter. Whatever we jointly believed this was is long gone if it was ever here at all.

I’m viewing an NFL game at the minute and it feels just like1996 Aside from flipping on an old motion picture, sports might be the only thing that can do that for me. The material truths of our world totally vaporize there. Colin Kaepernick was blackballed from the league in his prime and the league’s owners understood they would never ever have to confess why. The minute it appeared like NBA players were on the precipice of the most radical labor action we ‘d seen in ages, it was whittled down to something compatible. Given, they are stenciling END RACISM behind the end zones now. It simply dries up here, and an effect of that is that we get this world that sort of exists outside of time. It’s our constant. It’s like you said: that’s where our heroes are, that’s what catches our creativity.

There’s no prescription I feel qualified to provide for any of this. Combating in the Age of Isolation doesn’t really either! We ended it with, keep combating, keep putting one foot in front of the other, the only way out is through. Eventually, a lot of this task’s aspirations lied in merely acknowledging the sensation of living in a time that we argue is certainly an age of American decrease. Nobody wants to attempt to tell that story, and understandably so. It wasn’t us since we’re so wise or insightful or brave or whatever the hell. We just got a possibility to attempt to inform it through Google Earth, iMovie, and inconsistent audio leveling on YouTube, the world’s most prestigious and crucial platform. As with any project that’s a couple years of ages, I’ll often see something and desire I ‘d done it much better or cleaner. That’s inescapable. However damn if it isn’t among the most fulfilling things I’ve ever dealt with. It was fantastic to be able to make this with you, male. Maybe we’ll do it again someday.

Felix: Every day I have to advise myself that we did this. It doesn’t seem like something I truly got to do due to the fact that it’s so completely our own. I might not have actually composed this with anybody else. Whatever occurs, whether we’re simply the next Turks or Brits, unfortunate crusts of a water pie, a previous imperial core driven insane by the frontier we developed, whether we live in a Chinese century or the next power is some unforeseen axis, or perhaps even something excellent occurs, I hope we can do this once again.

Screenshot from Fighting in the Age of Loneliness,  part 5.

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