A Brief Summer – By Ada Reinthal

Chapter 1: Words

What is the underground?

What is the underground?

What is the underground?

At school I was taught the worst way to start an essay was by quoting a textbook;

so let’s consult the Oxford English Dictionary:

Bloody paywalls.

Bloody paywalls…

#haileris #fnord

Hail Eris for the Internet. #fnord

sci-huib <3

There we go…

“A. underground, adj. and n.” A. adj. – SUBTERRENEAN..

Well, duh…

That’s more like it:

4. fig.”

a. Hidden, concealed, secret.

b. Not open or public; concealed from, or, avoiding general notice.

c. Designating (the activities of) a group, organization, or its representatives, working covertly to subvert the aims of a ruling (often occupying) power. Cf. resistance noun. 1b.

d. Of, or pertaining to, a subculture which seeks to provide radical alternatives to the socially accepted or established mode; spec. manifested in its literature, music, press, etc.

e. underground economy, n. the economic sector of private business deals in which tax liability is not reported; the ‘black’ economy. Cf. black adj. 15a. U.S. 1


Why this obsession with words?” you might ask.


In the beginning there was the word”

– John 1:1


اقْرَأْ بِاسْمِ رَبِّكَ الَّذِي خَلَقَ

Read! In the Name of your Lord Who created”

From Sūrat al-ʻAlaq, the 96th sura of the Qur’an, believed to be the first revelation to be sent to the Prophet. The name of the sura, ‘alaq, means coagulated blood, clot, medicinal leech or the early stage of an embryo.2


The underground, much like a medicinal leech, leads a symbiotic life with its host – simultaneously feeding off it while drawing out that which is infected.

It defines itself through its opposition to a society, culture or institution – through a cut, or an abrasion, blood starts to coagulate and the healing process begins.

An embryo slowly grows and if the conditions are right it will bring a new life to the world, filled with a unique genetic code – full of potential.

The underground has always consisted of counter-cultures, or social movements, which through its valiant efforts try to realise a new potential for the world.


1Oxford English Dictionary via Sci-Hub: https://sci-hub.ac/http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/211700?rskey=LLpqpp&result=2#eid

2Maryam Monalisa Gharavi – “Neologism – How words do things with words” http://www.thewhitereview.org/art/neologism-how-words-do-things-with-words/

This was an excerpt from my presentation about my response to the summer brief we were assigned leading up to the first semester at UU, for the rest check out: