Reading his "about the author" page, I found nothing about Mark Groubert to attract me. Hollywood, MTV, National Lampoon, celebrity culture, drug rehab—these are not descriptors calculated to grab my attention, except negatively.

So it's a good thing that's not where I learned about him.

Credit for that goes to David Freiheit, aka Viva Frei, the man I still still call my favorite Canadian lawyer, even though he's no longer practicing law and now lives in South Florida, the man whose podcast was one of my first YouTube Channel Discoveries, even though he now does most of his work on Rumble and Locals. At some point, he discovered America's Untold Stories and shared his discovery with the world. That link takes you to the YouTube channel, but again, most of the fun is on Rumble and Locals.

It was Porter who followed up that lead, but as sometimes happens, I wandered in while he was watching some of their broadcasts, and found them fascinating. I haven't seen nearly as many as I would like to, if I had infinite time—it's rather like the very large pile of books on my to-read list.

America's Untold Stories is hosted by Eric Hunley and Mark Groubert. Again, the subtitle, "A Magical Mystery Tour of Pop Culture and History" is not something to attract me. But these two are fascinating to listen to. Groubert is a consummate storyteller with a brilliant mind, and Hunley is a great host and facilitator. Do you know people who just happen to find themselves in the right places at the right times and have the social skills to get to know a large number of amazing people? We do. And Mark Groubert is another one. From this background, plus some high-powered research skills, his stories emerge.

I'd never paid much attention to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy (not even when it happened—I was 11), and definitely wasn't interested in all the theories about why the official story of that event wasn't accurate. However, I do know enough to be certain that when someone says "we won't let you look at the data till 75 years have passed"—whether it's about JFK or COVID policy or anything else—something is being covered up, and it's probably done to protect not the innocent, but the guilty.

America's Untold Stories tells extensively-researched and entertaining tales about the times and places and people of Kennedy's era that will make your hair curl. (I don't know why that's supposed to be a bad thing; maybe it's an expression created by someone like me, who was forced as a child to wear painful curlers to bed at night, at least until my mother finally gave up on civilizing me.) The stories of President Lyndon Johnson alone make me wonder how America has survived so many really terrible presidents. I've noted before that very unsavory people can make good presidents, and good people can make terrible presidents. Johnson managed to be both a bad person and a bad president.

Hunley and Groubert cover history, current events, and personalities in a way that captivates me more than any history teacher I ever had, even the best one. I find their current series on Watergate especially interesting, since I lived through those times at an older age (early 20's). There is so much I never picked up at the time, and so much more that only came to light much later. Just as with the Kennedy assassination.

America's Untold Stories makes people and history interesting, whether politicians or pop culture personalities or mob bosses or high-end hookers. I'm sure there's a lot more to Eric Hunley than I know, but what I can say for sure is that he reminds me of the best piano accompanists, who know that their job is to make the soloist shine; he and Groubert are a great team.

I've chosen the following video to include here because it is relatively short (only half an hour on normal speed). It was posted for Thanksgiving 2021, and goes back to the beginnings of our country: tales of the Mayflower and its times you don't usually hear. Since I know a bit about the subject, I'm not sure Groubert has a good grasp of the overall picture. For example, he never mentions the differences between the "Saints" and the "Strangers" among the passengers, which was a significant division. Despite that, and even though much of what he mentions was familiar to me, I learned quite a bit. We all know how important tea is to the British, but I never knew how its introduction, in the 1650's, mitigated the scourge that followed the discovery of gin, which had been devastating Europe for a hundred years. In those days, the water was commonly so polluted that drinking it led to disease and death. Tea, made with water that had been boiled, provided a safe, non-alcoholic drink. The Mayflower passengers, who landed here in 1620, vied with the crew over the remaining beer and wine stores (needed for the crew's voyage back to England), until they were desperate enough to drink from the pristine streams of the New World, which they regarded as poisonous.

We had the privilege of meeting Eric Hunley and Mark Groubert recently, but that's a tale for another post.

Posted by sursumcorda on Thursday, June 20, 2024 at 6:55 am | Edit
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