Hank Green discusses his new book, fame and the internet

Eager college students and intrigued working adults filled the Wisconsin Room at the UWM Student Union Oct. 3 to see author Hank Green share the story behind his newly published book, “An Absolutely Remarkable Thing.” Minnesota native rapper and writer Dessa joined Green on stage.

Two people sit on stage under spotlights.
Author Hank Green and singer Dessa share a laugh during their show at the UWM Student Union. (UWM Photo/Mikaila Dusenberry)

The book is about a 23-year-old woman named April May who becomes internet famous after finding a Transformer-like robot and uploading a video of it to the internet. Overnight, May becomes the expert on these robots that the public clamors for information on.

“The goal of tonight was to create a microcosm of the social internet in a physical space for an evening,” Green said.

The book mirrors his rapid rise to fame from the internet that started over a decade ago when his brother, New York Times bestselling author John Green, decided to video blog back and forth to each other on YouTube. In the last decade, their YouTube channel vlogbrothers has gotten millions of views.

“Asking to be famous is asking for the world to dehumanize you,” Green said.

Two students sitting in a crowd look at the camera and smile.
Students show off a copy of Hank Green’s book, “An Absolutely Remarkable Thing,” during Green’s appearance at UWM. (UWM Photo/Mikaila Dusenberry)

Green is the CEO of Complexly, a YouTube channel network for over 15 educational shows from Mental_Floss to Crash Course.

In the Wisconsin Room, Green did his best to give snippets of the internet between showing 30-second videos called “viral moments of joy” that included baby red foxes drinking milk and a girl dressed up as Hermoine Granger.

These moments were interspersed between an audience Q&A about the new book and a recording of his advice podcast called “Dear Hank and John.”

Dessa and Green played a chaotic five-minute game of Trivial Pursuit in which anyone who got a question wrong was hit with a blown-up baseball bat.

“We had blindfolded people (who were) forced to hold hands and hit each other with baseball bats for being wrong about something that does not matter, which is basically Twitter,” Green said.

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