Episode 421 – The Gutenberg Conspiracy (The Media Matrix — Part 1)

by | Jul 18, 2022 | Podcasts, Videos | 51 comments

From the Renaissance to the Reformation, from the fall of feudalism to the rise of capitalism, from the Scientific Revolution to the Industrial Revolution, from the way we order our thoughts to what we choose to think about, nothing survived the printing revolution intact. Our world is the world that the printing press has created.

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In the beginning, there was the word. The spoken word, that is.

This word, the written word, didn’t come along for countless generations.

And this word, the printed word, didn’t come along for thousands of years after that.

In fact, we’ve only had the movable type printing press for about 600 years, but without it our world would be unrecognizable.

From the Renaissance to the Reformation, from the fall of feudalism to the rise of capitalism, from the Scientific Revolution to the Industrial Revolution, from the way we order our thoughts to what we choose to think about, nothing survived the printing revolution intact.

Our world is the world that the printing press has created.

And that world started with this. [Holds up mirror.]

VOICEOVER: Media. It surrounds us. We live our lives in it and through it. We structure our lives around it. But it wasn’t always this way. So how did we get here? And where is the media technology that increasingly governs our lives taking us? This is the story of The Media Matrix.


You see, in the Middle Ages, mirrors—especially curved mirrors—were fiendishly difficult to make.

And pilgrim badges—elaborately designed lead or pewter plates with a curved mirror in the middle—were even more difficult to make. But in fifteenth-century Germany, they were in hot demand.

It all goes back to the year 800, when Emperor Charlemagne gifted four holy relics from Jerusalem to the Cathedral in Aachen in modern-day Germany: the swaddling clothes and loin cloth of Jesus, Mary’s robe, and the cloth that held John the Baptist’s decapitated head. The relics were thought to have miraculous restorative powers. And so, after the Black Death of 1349, they were removed from the Cathedral’s golden shrine and put on display for the public once every seven years, attracting tens of thousands of pilgrims from across Christendom.

Soon, the belief developed that a curved mirror could be held up to the relics to capture their miraculous powers and bring them back to the pilgrims’ home in whatever far-flung land they hailed from.

Now, the mirror was not a mirror like the ones we’re used to today. It was a pilgrim badge and it was one of the few mass-manufactured items of the Middle Ages. They were lucrative products to make. So lucrative, in fact, that the goldsmiths and stamp cutters of Aachen couldn’t keep up with the demand.

Enter Johannes Gutenberg. Born around the turn of the fifteenth-century to a wealthy family in Mainz, in modern-day Germany, Gutenberg—whose father was a companion of the ecclesiastical mint—had a background in goldsmithing, coinmaking and metalwork.

Arriving in Strasbourg in 1434, he thought to put his skills to work on a profitable venture: creating badges for the next Aachen Pilgrimage in 1439. There was only one problem: he didn’t have the capital to make the badges himself. So he entered into a cooperative with three business partners, each of whom ponied up a portion of the money required for Gutenberg to start producing the mirrors.

But just as the pilgrimage approached and it looked like the inventor was going to make a tidy profit for himself and his business partners, the Black Death struck again. An outbreak of the plague ravaged the Upper Rhine Valley in 1438, postponing the pilgrimage by a year. Gutenberg had already produced a number of the mirrors, but his capital was running out. And so he set his sights on a new venture—one so audacious, so revolutionary that he made his partners sign a contract swearing them to secrecy before he would let them in on it.

In fact, so secret was this project that the only reason we know anything at all about it is because one of the business partners died and his brother tried to take his place in the cooperative. But after the surviving partners refused to let him in on the plot, the would-be co-conspirator sued Gutenberg in Strasbourg court.

The court documents that survive are themselves cryptic—referring to the “adventure and art” of “the work” that Gutenberg and his partners were engaged in, but never specifying what that work was, exactly. We know that it involved presses fastened with screws and engraved “forms” supplied by a local goldsmith, that some quantity of metal had been purchased for the venture, that the work was expected to take five years and—above all—that the object of this undertaking be kept a secret.

Gutenberg and his partners had quite literally entered into a conspiracy.

And that conspiracy, resulted in this. Now this may not look like much to you . . . and you’d be right. This is a pencil sharpener. But the Gutenberg movable type printing press that it’s modeled after? Now that truly was a work of art. In fact, there’s a solid argument to be made that it was one of the most important inventions in human history.

There were many existing ideas and technologies that went into Gutenberg’s creation: the screw press, the manufacture of paper, the idea of woodblock printing, the development of ink. But it took years of careful experimentation to solve the puzzle of how to create a perfect print every time.

At first glance, it seems straightforward. The type is arranged in a rectangular container and then beaten with ink balls. The paper is placed in a leather-covered frame called a “tympan” and covered by a frisket. The tympan is then laid on the type and fed into a screw press, which is turned to press the type onto the paper.

Simple, right? Hardly.

In fact, every part of the printing process involved years of laborious experimentation: finding the right paper to print on, finding the right moisture levels for the paper to absorb the ink, finding the right way to dry the paper, finding an ink that wouldn’t run off the metal type, finding the right alloy for casting the type, and on and on and on. Each problem tested the limits of medieval technology and the limits of Gutenberg’s own skill and ingenuity.

And the result was nothing short of a revolution.

How so?

Here, look at this manuscript. What do you see?

If you lived before Gutenberg, you saw a page of text. A totality. A clump of information. But Gutenberg saw something different. His core insight was that a page of text was not a thing in itself, but a collection of letters that could be broken apart and rearranged into any other collection of letters.

From that deceptively simple observation came this. The printed page. Mechanically produced, perfectly identical characters that could be arranged into any configuration the printer desires to create any text imaginable.

And that insight birthed the modern world.

It birthed the era of mass communication. Pre-Gutenberg, there were no books, no pamphlets, no newspapers. In fact, in the 50 years before Gutenberg, all the scribes in all of Europe struggled to produce 20,000 laboriously hand-copied manuscripts. In the 50 years after Gutenberg? The printers that sprung up around the continent churned out 12 million printed books.

It birthed mass manufacture. Beyond pilgrim badges, there were very few mass-produced items in medieval life. Clothes, tools, shelter, manuscripts—everything was handmade. The book accustomed the medieval mind to the idea of identical, mechanically produced objects. And the printing press—with its mechanically perfect type—prefigured the advances of industrial production.

It birthed the Scientific Revolution. The widespread publication of data, the collection of knowledge in widely available reference books, the ability to exactly reproduce illustrations—things that we take completely for granted today—were a revelation when they appeared in the fifteenth-century and created the conditions for the rise of the empirical method.

It birthed the Reformation. We all know it was Luther and his 95 theses nailed to the church door that launched the Reformation, but it was the printing press that allowed Luther’s ideas to spread so far, so fast. (And, bonus fact: Those theses were addressed to the Archbishop of Mainz, birthplace of Gutenberg’s press.)

The printing press even birthed the nation-state.

INTERVIEWER: Yes, now how would you describe the the impact of the invention of the printing press? Give us some instances of what happened as a consequence of this

MARSHALL MCLUHAN: It created almost overnight what we call a nationalism, what in effect was a public. The old manuscript forms were not sufficiently powerful instruments of technology to create publics in the sense that print was able to do. Unified, homogeneous reading publics.

Everything that we prize in our Western world in matters of individualism, separatism and of a unique point of view and private judgment; all those factors are highly favored by the printed word and not really favored by other forms of culture like radio or earlier even by manuscript.

But this stepping up of the fragmented, the private—the individual, the private judgment, the point of view—all in fact our whole vocabularies underwent huge change with the arrival of such technology.

SOURCE: Marshall McLuhan 1965—The Future of Man in the Electric Age

The world that Gutenberg was born into was this world: the real world. If you learned anything at all about this world, you probably learned it from experience, or at least from someone who had that experience.

But the world that Gutenberg left behind was a world of mass communication. Books were no longer a rare and valuable thing, and it was increasingly likely that your information about the world came from someone you never met, someone who may have been long dead.

The movable type printing press didn’t just change the way people communicated; it changed what they communicated about.

In a very real sense, the printing press invented “the news.”

Before Gutenberg, “the news” was whatever you managed to gather from your neighbours, what you learned from travelers passing through your village, what you heard the town crier yelling through the streets or, at best, what you yourself read in the occasional proclamation or edict from the authorities.

But after the printing press, the news was for the first time collected, organized, printed on a regular basis and distributed far and wide.

In 1605, the world’s first newspaper was published in Strasbourg—the same city where Gutenberg was making his mirrors for the Aachen pilgrimage a century-and-a-half prior—and soon everyone and their dog was printing a newsletter or a pamphlet or a newspaper or a tract. And these ideas were spreading around the world like they never had before.

For the first time, someone could be reading the exact same news as someone in the next town over . . .

JAMES EVAN PILATO OF MEDIAMONARCHY.COM: . . . or someone on the other side of the planet . . .

. . . at the exact same time.

The printing press united people like never before and the result was an explosion in the spread of ideas, the likes of which would not be experienced again for centuries.

But not everyone was excited about this free flow of information. Entrenched power structures of medieval society—the crown, the church, the feudal lords—had persisted for centuries by controlling information and suppressing dissent. But as the barriers to new ideas collapsed, so did the old feudal order.

It’s no surprise, then, that wherever the printing press traveled, wherever the new cadre of printers and booksellers set up shop, the censors were not far behind. When Lutheran books began appearing in England in 1520, Cardinal Wolsey was quick to declare that anyone caught with the texts would be subject to heresy laws. Not to be outdone, King Henry VIII’s proclamation “Prohibiting Erroneous Books and Bible Translations” of 1530 afforded him the power to try readers of these “blasphemous and pestiferous” books in his own dreaded Star Chamber.

Parliament dissolved the Star Chamber in 1641, but they weren’t about to give up censorship of the press. They just wanted to take the power for themselves, and that’s exactly what they did. The Licensing Order of 1643 outlawed the printing, binding, or sale of books, except by persons licensed under authority of Parliament.

This prompted John Milton to write the Areopagitica, still recognized today as one of the most influential and passionate defenses of freedom of speech in history:

“Who kills a man kills a reasonable creature, God’s image; but he who destroys a good book, kills reason itself, kills the image of God, as it were in the eye.”

But even the loftiest language of Milton had little effect in swaying the censors. The Licensing Order was not overturned for half-a-century, when the Parliament chose not to renew the act.

Those in positions of power had good reason to fear the printing press. Gutenberg’s invention turned their world on its head. Suddenly, people who had been kept apart and largely in ignorance of the world around them had been brought into a community of readers; a gigantic societal conversation began, empowering radicals who sought to overturn the order that had existed for centuries and helping them to spread their dangerous new ideas faster and farther than they ever could have with pen and paper.

Perhaps it’s no surprise, then, that these new ideas would come to their dramatic fruition in one of the most literate places on the planet: colonial America.

By the end of the 18th century, literacy rates in the colonies were upwards of ninety percent, and there were 180 newspapers being published on the Eastern Seaboard, twice as many as in England, a country with twice the population.

The colonists’ appetite for books and learning was celebrated far and wide. In 1772, the Reverend Jacob Duché wrote of the colonies: “Almost every man is a reader. [. . .] The poorest laborer upon the shores of the Delaware thinks himself entitled to deliver his sentiment in matters of religion or politics with as much freedom as the gentlemen or scholar [. . .] such is the prevailing taste for books of every kind.”

Just four years later, in 1776, Thomas Paine would publish Common Sense, a 47-page pamphlet that was to take those colonies by storm. In the first three months of its publication, a staggering 120,000 copies of the book had been sold; by the end of the year, it had sold 500,000 copies, or one pamphlet for every five men, women and children in the colonies. To put that in perspective, adjusted for population, Common Sense would be the thirteenth best-selling book of all time.

But this wasn’t any ordinary bestseller. This was a revolution.

At the beginning of 1776, before Common Sense, the average colonists believed themselves to be Englishmen engaged in a civil war; after Common Sense, they were revolutionaries engaged in a War for Independence. And that war was waged on the power of the printed word. That is the power of print.

The pen may be mightier than the sword, but the printing press is mightier than entire armies.

By the end of the nineteenth century, a new creature had emerged to capitalize on this new instrument of power: the press baron.

In America, William Randolph Hearst . . . that is, William Randolph Hearst inherited the San Francisco Examiner from his wealthy father, built it up into the biggest paper in town and plowed the profits into the purchase of the New York Journal. With the Journal and a growing number of dailies across the country under his belt, Hearst became a full-fledged press baron, taking on Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World in a circulation war, pioneering the eye-catching layouts and sensational stories that would come to define his brand of yellow journalism, and helping to gin up support for the Spanish-American War, among many other dubious causes.

In England, Alfred Harmsworth picked up the yellow journalism idea from Hearst and Pulitzer and used it to build his own press empire around The Daily Mail. From a lower caste of British society, Harmsworth found himself in the center of political power in Britain, using his influence to gin up public hatred of the Huns ahead of World War I, becoming director of propaganda for the government in 1918 and earning himself the title of Lord Northcliffe in the process.

In a sense, the Lord Northcliffes and the William Randolph Hearsts and the other press barons of that era were the end stage of the Gutenberg Revolution. The invention that had given a voice to the masses and started a conversation that would topple institutions, dethrone monarchs and reorder empires had now catapulted people at the fringes of power into its very heart. With the power of the press, these men were able to sway the minds of entire nations of people.

Naturally, the old tension between the ruling elite and the masses, empowered by the press, was still there. But censorship hadn’t proven to be an effective tool for keeping the masses in ignorance. There had to be another way.

That way, it turned out, was another conspiracy.

On February 9, 1917, Oscar Callaway, a US Representative from Texas’ 12th District, exposed that conspiracy in the Congressional record:

“In March, 1915, the J. P. Morgan interests, the steel, ship-building, and powder interests, and their subsidiary organizations, got together 12 men high up in the newspaper world and employed them to select the most influential newspapers in the United States and sufficient number of them to control generally the policy of the daily press of the United States. [. . .] They found it was only necessary to purchase the control of 25 of the greatest papers. The 25 papers were agreed upon; emissaries were sent to purchase the policy, national and international, of these papers; an agreement was reached; the policy of the papers was bought, to be paid for by the month; an editor was furnished for each paper to properly supervise and edit information regarding the questions of preparedness, militarism, financial policies, and other things of national and international nature considered vital to the interests of the purchasers.”

The news was extraordinary, but it almost didn’t get reported at all. Callaway had not been given time to make his charges on the floor of the House; instead, they were “buried in the Record.” It wasn’t until another congressman demanded a full congressional investigation into the charges that the newspapers even bothered to cover the story at all.

Perhaps it is no surprise that the Gutenberg conspiracy ended up here, at the Morgan conspiracy. That a revolutionary step toward freeing man from the bonds of ignorance was met with a revolutionary counteraction designed to place those chains around him all the more tightly. That, at the zenith of the print revolution, the oligarchy finally found a way to control the free flow of information.

Ironic, then, that within the space of a few short years, the print revolution that Gutenberg had started was about to be overturned by another technology.

The Media Matrix

Part 1: The Gutenberg Conspiracy

Transcript and links: corbettreport.com/media

Next week: What Hath God Wrought


  1. What a sleek production!

    Finally James puts himself in front of the camera (and not just as a narrating voice) and gives us a very insightful 20 mins of oft-forgotten piece of history.

    All presented with the help of clever visuals, wit and the surprising 3-sec guest appearance of Mr. Pilato 😉

    Thanks James!

    • You said it Colosseum!

      I was ‘all grins’ throughout, but was loudly vocalizing with that James Evan Pilato – New York Times handoff.

    • Excellent production. Thank you.

    • I agree!

      I wholeheartedly enjoyed this production. I felt like I was watching a BBC documentary – the quality was stellar!

      Especially how James cleverly used different props such as the mirror and of course Broc’s outstanding visuals made for a positive step up in documentary production.

    • I couldn’t help noticing that he didn’t use the usual tagline:

      “You’re tuned to The Corbett Report”


  2. You truly have been working hard in the backround, what an outstanding production. Very interesting information and I can’t wait for more. Thank you James for your hard work.

  3. This is an excellent film of truly outstanding quality. Yes, it’s certainly a departure from JC’s other documentaries, but this is on a new level of accessibility and sheer captivating excitement. You might think that a film about Gutenberg and later historical developments can’t possibly be that interesting or relevant, but you’d be wrong. I was absolutely fascinated and absorbed by this very professional and creative production. It’s very cleverly done, and at times almost funny, especially when James Evan Pilato makes a short surprising cameo appearance – very nice! Hats off also to first rate video editor Broc West, who will no doubt have contributed significantly into making this such a creatively successful product. I can’t even begin to imagine how much planning, studying and sheer hard work that must have gone into this, but I strongly suspect that it must be a gargantuan lot! I’m eagerly anticipating the next part of what promises to be the best docuseries that JC has ever done – so far!

    • What he said. This was worth the wait!

    • Indeed…there were some wonderful humorous moments – such as when he introduces the concept of press barons /newspaper moguls and we see a brief glimpse of Citizen Kane! Lol…wonderful!

  4. I hope that schools take advantage of this History Lesson.

    • Here here!

      (Though unlikely, despite the licensing freedom.)

  5. James you never disappoint. Thanks to you and Broc for this excellent documentary and for putting yourself in front of the camera. It was such a nice surprise to see James Evan Pilato make a quick appearance. I’m really looking forward to part two. Keep up the great work!

  6. wow, just wow James. Great great work. I must admit, I hated the wait for new content but having watched the new content come out I am fully blown away and am thinking we are in store for a whirlwind of brilliance. Thanks, Justin

  7. Just a note regarding the beginning: In the beginning was the unspoken word. The universe is a language involving such things as qualia, geometry, arithmetic and logic (and more) and consisting of an arrangement of states of objects (the symbols and strings) and state-transition laws (and more). This language is alive because the real universe is self-determined (because anything which can determine it has to be real). The spoken word of human beings is embedded in the language of the universe.

  8. Makes me think of Connections…

    Such connections… not obscure and incongruous, almost glib temporal connections between one landmark invention and another

    but rather elegantly simple philosophical, sociological and technological connections…

    offering a truly galvanizing and insightful humanist perspective of what to most people is but an anecdotal blip in the numbing series of confusing and abstract dates that comprise what’s commonly known as “history” as written by the victors.

    …to what we choose to think about… to what we choose to Think about…

    the nature of subjective, even Cartesian reality itself did not survive the printing revolution…

    and, of course, the medium itself IS the message.

    Many have argued that the way Gutenberg dismantled a block of soulful message of painstakingly handwritten text into its soulless cold metal constituent parts of single interchangeable letters might be compared to the industrial subdivision of human creation into dehumanized “labor” plug-ins on a production line destined to be incessantly pressed for mass profits.

    If Paine can alter not only generalized Common Sense, but the very self-image of the readers themselves via the printed word,

    what magic can today’s spin doctors perform on the human psyche with a light-speed buzz created in much colder, ubiquitous and penetrating digital tongues?

    And most sincerely, the sudden, straight-faced, incongruous and seemingly nonchalant tossing of objects into the background never loses its comic appeal.

    To conclude these slightly depressed impressions, I’d be hard-pressed under pressure to express, yet can’t suppress, how impressed I am by the present expression of the repression of mass expression among the oppressed. An irrepressible obsession.

    Thanks yet again Mr. Corbett.

  9. What can I say? Masterful seems the best adjective.

    The script, narration, performance and editing are … masterful.

    The use of the mirror to reverse the press fonts and introduce the mirror to the narrative, the historical detail, choice of sound tracks, the choices of art to support the narrative, the choices of “sets”, the choices of books from James’ notebook with his “Letter to the Future” to Milton’s Aeropagitica are all artfully constructed to deliver a unified message.

    Well done James and Broc. You have excelled.

    • Dear Corbetteers,

      A year or more ago I was suddenly interested in printing. During my survey of materials, I found a series of videos from the (USA) “International Printing Museum”. They are naturally USA centric, but the coverage of the development of printing is good, and the presenter is well spoken and knowledgeable. The first two look at the technology of Gutenburg’s press and then moves on to advances as the presses moved from being made of wood to metal and using associated technologies from the Industrial Revolution, and then “linotype” arrives. One of the great advantages of these pieces is that they are a museum tour, in which working examples of the machinery are demonstrated by the museum’s curator.

      These are about the technology and mechanics of printing, rather than the effect of printing or other forms of mass communications on society and thought.

      I list them here for your convenience:

      1) International Printing Museum Tour: Introduction to Printing

      2) International Printing Museum Tour: The Gutenberg Press

      3) International Printing Museum Tour: The 19th-century Country Newspaper Shop

      4) International Printing Museum Tour: The Linotype & the Typesetting Race

      Peace be with you,


  10. FASCINATING, simply fascinating, I do not remember anything like this being taught in the schools I went to growing up…lol… don’t say it James. This is something we seriously take for granted every time we open our mouths to spit out a word…lol… I love learning all about this, Feed my brain and do not stop… P.S. I would have paid 1000$ for this knowledge, just FASCINATING.

  11. Wonderful, Mr. Corbett! Before the 1830s newspapers were usually sold at a fixed subscription rate that tended to restrict circulation to the mercantile and political elite, but then came the penny press. Circulation expanded to the working class and all sorts of wares were hawked within. Crime reporting began. The penny press claimed to be the voice of the people. The commercial press eventually capitalized on their version of “public stewardship.” Knowledge became a commodity packaged like any other product. Ultimately, this changed the nature of social bonds as well. I studied this period specifically relative to 19th century American art. If you’re so inclined, you can view a painting by Richard Canon Woodville entitled War News from Mexico (1848).

    I’m so thankful you’ve embarked on this important journey. I think about this period (and the related art) often, as even then the writing was on the wall.

  12. Were there stock corporations before the printing press? One genre that started almost immediately was satire and with it written criticism of the ruling class. Also, the first pornos were erotic dime novels that promised the reader a happy hard-on for his dime and often prompted the reader to drink his mead or wine.

    • “stock companies” or companies with share holders were created by the Dutch to raise the capital for their extremely profitable spice trade. I think this happened in the late 1500’s to early 1600’s, so that would be after the printing press by a bit.

  13. Fantastic research and production! Can’t wait for the next part!

  14. Having only read the text of this podcast(only the print, that is), and not having watched the podcast, itself, and then reading, with irony, a ponderous amount of subscriber comments expressing very similar ecstatic reactions to the high production value of the podcast in all its aspects, I can only guess that the next iteration of the “Media Matrix” series- that which is to hit humanity like a bomb – will be the advent of the moving picture! As it were, capturing, wholesale, the collective imagination of the whole wide world; and also, as it were, rife with propaganda.
    And, alas, the chains tighten all the more.

  15. James- Great job as always. You are a “deep thinker” and it inspires me (and hopefully others) to strive to attain a higher level of comprehension of our history. Your consistent ability to conduct thorough research and weave a cogent narrative always impresses me and I thank you for your hard work and efforts.

  16. NEWS from Gallup – Monday July 18th, 2022
    [See GRAPHS]

    Media Confidence Ratings at Record Lows
    ~~WWW //news.gallup.com/poll/394817/media-confidence-ratings-record-lows.aspx

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Americans’ confidence in two facets of the news media — newspapers and television news — has fallen to all-time low points. Just 16% of U.S. adults now say they have “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in newspapers and 11% in television news. Both readings are down five percentage points since last year.

    Gallup has tracked Americans’ confidence in newspapers since 1973 and television news since 1993 as part of its annual polling about major U.S. institutions. The latest readings are from a June 1-20 poll that saw declines in confidence ratings for 11 of the 16 institutions measured and no improvements for any.

    Television news and newspapers rank nearly at the bottom of that list of institutions, with only Congress garnering less confidence from the public than TV news. While these two news institutions have never earned high confidence ratings, they have fallen in the rankings in recent years….

    ~~ My comment:
    Based on the GRAPH “Partisans’ Confidence in Newspapers, 1973-2022”, I can speculate who is reading The New York Times. Pass it on…

  17. It was most likely not your intention but you have got me thinking about pilgrimage mirrors now.

    With a large enough curved mirror, a really sunny day and a fume extractor you could bottle Klaus Schwab and still have enough room in the bottle for Bill Gates as well.

    You’d just have to make sure no one takes the cork out otherwise it would be really bad luck.

    • I have this mental image…

      The Davos crowd audience all holding curved mirrors towards the speaker.
      Afterall, Climate Change…it’s a religion.

  18. Feel like I just watched a well produced History Channel doc from back in the day, well done! Gutenberg’s printing press really was the internet of its time, it changed things forever.

    Awesome doc James!

    • JP wheeler
      “…Feel like I just watched a well produced History Channel doc from back in the day…”

      Ahh yes, the good old days when the History Channel was overrun with Nazi documenies rather then ancient Aliens and books ‘banned from the Bible’
      Lol…. Mr Corbetts work has always been way more informative then the History Chanel I think (:

  19. Very interesting content, thank you sooo much!

    On question of shelf.. what do you think what are the chances of WW 3 in next year or two?

  20. Well, dunno, have to take a closer look, but at first glance, Netflix, champion of Freedom of Expression… mmmmm, really?

    “Art is dangerous” …

    Thanks to the “just for fun” section I just discovered Dave “I tenderized those titties like chicken cutlets” Chappelle.

    Um, appealing personality from a truly impressive background, parents civil activists, US Gov, and UNESCO servants. According to Wiki, in her younger years his Mother was placed in the highest governmental role that could be held by somebody who was not a national of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the Lumumba government. By Dave’s own admission, he seems to have made some very brave artistic decisions for an up-and-coming millionnaire,

    but something seems distinctly packaged and controlled about his brand of politically correct political incorrectness that’s not just the endorsement of Netflix (and everyone else)… but, his words… amongst the consensual my-best-friend-was-a-trans” and it takes a human to know one, there are the asides,

    from Cosby’s “disgrace” to the “I supported the MeToo movement”, assuring the crowd that he was vaccinated, “that bitch was maskless” and accordingly his concerts taking place with everyone masked up and observing the mandatory social distancing,

    Well. I’ve only just seen one show and his acceptance speech. I’ll see if I can find one of those performances where he strays from the scatological and and the OGM political identity wars treading into some truly stigmatizing controversy. Even the reportedly anti-semitic “Jews in Space” joke seemed like a laboriously artificial hostess twinkie version of “over the top” political incorrectness…

    Then again, as Bill Cosby learned when his son was murdered, before his life, reputation and legacy were destroyed, you don’t mess with “the establishment” at that level…

    dunno. first impressions… Dave comes off as a groomed and packaged hero whose humor, charm and heart-felt self-congratulatory humanity have been weaponized to subliminally dictate the opinions of the masses through charisma and staged maverick “truth-telling” à la Jon Oliver and Jon Stewart…

    dunno. gut impressions.

    He champions freedom of expression but

    I’m not sure I feel the danger in his Art.

    • shoot.

      and the OGM political identity wars

      shoulda been

      and the OGM identity politics wars

      dunno how this diatribe got onto this page anyhow.

      but saw a few more sketches and ol’ Bill Cosby’s alleged rapes just keep comin’ back

      along with “of course I voted for Hillary”, inventing his poor nigga roots “my mama worked 5 jobs” [first with the US government at the Bureau of International Organization Affairs*, and later as a PhD university professor, director, founder of university departments and programs and finally as first female African American Unitarian Universalist minister] and bashing on OJ…

      In fact, I just realized as I type this, that it’s the OJ sketch that reveals what I find profoundly irritating about Dave: after smiling and shaking hands with the courteous and infamous footballer, the two-faced exclamation “maaaan, he DID that shit!” as soon as OJ leaves the room. And the refusal of a selfie with the fallen hero, ’cause “my career’s to flimsy to survive a picture with you!”

      The bully of unquestioning politically correct consensus that can get dissenting doctors’ or climate scientists’ careers destroyed.

      Dave offers a brutally honest portrayal of mediocre hypocrisy, which is laudable…

      But he benefits from playing the safe card of political correctness reinforcing the party line on other people and covidic subjects more than he risks denouncing establishment smear jobs, never mind evoking those off-limits conspiracy topics…

      at least for a champion of Freedom of Expression, in my own arrogant and humorless view.

      But I’m still looking into it and ready to make public apologies, for what it’s worth.

      I mean, he seems like a great guy, talented showman from a highly distinguished background and all, but I think it might be dangerous for real dissidents and the first amendment to hold him up as a paragon and champion of Freedom of Expression.

      FYI from Wikipedia: *The Bureau of International Organization Affairs (IO) is a bureau in the United States Department of State that creates and executes U.S. policy in the United Nations and other international organizations. It is headed by the Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs. The IO is charged with developing and implementing the policies of the U.S. government with respect to the United Nations and its affiliated agencies, as well as within certain other international organizations. The Bureau of International Organization Affairs was created in order to strengthen the United States involvement in important international relations.

      now sourpuss is headed for the hamsterwheel…

  21. Jimmy Dore does a nice segment on John Bolton and his loose lip.


    Talking head: I don’t know that I agree with you. But to be fair, with all due respect, one does not have to be brilliant to attempt a coup …
    Ole JB: I disagree with that as somebody who has helped plan a coup d’etat. Not here, but you know, other places. It takes a lot of work and that’s not what he did.

    Could this clown be full of himself to a greater extent than he is? I doubt it.

  22. I must say James, I have managed to watch pretty much all of your videos and presentations over the last 7 odd years and this has to be, in my humble opinion one of, if not your best presentation yet.
    Between your professional delivery of the information and Brock’s masterful video editing skills it just kicks goals.
    Full credit to you both

  23. James
    Totally brilliant! Your presentation is eloquent! Without skipping a beat you have taken us on a real journey in time. May I add that you remind us; the more things change the more they stay the same. Cannot wait for part 2.

  24. james gone insane! he used 2005 FullHD resolutions! =)

  25. Martin Luther’s ideas spread across Europe in the same way that the ideas of any newfangled dogmatist spread: by letter, pamphlet, by travellers to and from universities,towns, cities, etc. They weren’t all that complicated or substantial; and certainly didn’t need to be printed to be more swiftly promulgated. The success of his revolt was due to the ready reception of his ideas by the German landowners who saw a lucrative reward in exchanging the Lutheran creed for the Roman Catholic faith, and by a general malaise among the Catholic populace, which rendered them susceptible to Luther’s cheap and easy “sola fide” and “sola scriptura” way to heaven. “Sin boldly, but believe more boldly still”, was Luther’s advice to a befuddled follower. What sort of real-politic proceeds from that code? What emerged from it was tens of thousands of cults and a flood of black propaganda.

    It is precisely that shift in doctrine which created the “Modern world”, and all its confusion, geopolitical subversion, pragmatist political praxis, and its amoral, laissez faire “values”.

    The invention of printing coincided with the fragmentation of Europe and the breakdown of a standard ethical code.

  26. Excellent presentation but when I think of the American colonists I don’t think of literate revolutionaries. I think of the slave owning genocidal gangsters of the Continental Congress and DOI author Thomas Jefferson, a man more evil than Bush, Clinton Obama and Biden combined.

    If anyone wonders where modern America (the Great Satan) came from, that is it. Jefferson immediately became the biggest traitor in history when he invited the French army back to North America having been excluded by the Treaty of Paris. The ultimate aim was to overturn the edict of the King George to protect the natives, banning expansion beyond the Appalachians saving them from the inevitable genocide which continues to this day.

    Americans are genocidal gangsters (Korea, Laos, Vietnam Japan). There is nothing good about them. The vicious selfishness of American gangster capitalism gave rise to the Boeing 707 and Windows 10 for which the world is rightly grateful

  27. Insider Trading is the American Way: The Founding Scam

    Soon, Hamilton’s associates — bankers, agents, and speculators — got wind of the government’s secret plans to pay off the debt in full and bought up the supposedly worthless Continentals at 10% of their face value, letting the rubes believe that they’d starve before there would ever be a government capable of paying them off, or that they’d never be able to prove that their claims on the government were valid.

    But Hamilton’s circle knew they stood to make ten times their money when Hamilton’s clever plans were implemented. The main opposition to Hamilton was Thomas Jefferson who thought that Hamilton’s financial schemes were too royal, too British, and therefore too corrupt. Jefferson and James Madison hoped that the nascent government would be less centralized and more democratic.

    Hamilton had General Washington in his hip pocket, but he had to get Jefferson’s agreement on the scheme before the (mostly southern) states and their representatives would buy in. So Hamilton arrogantly promised Jefferson that if Jefferson agreed to the financial system of centralized banks, credits, and paper money, the capitol of the new country would be in Jefferson’s backyard in Virginia, making it more accessible to Virginia and other southern states, putting them in a better position to profit from the access.


  28. Brilliant! Thank you so much for putting this series together. I am sending this to every adult I know.
    I feel fortunate that my son and daughter-in-law, both employed in mass marketing and social media, have figured this out and are keeping their children away from screens. They do not have a TV in their home and analog experiences are top priority.
    It is inevitable that my grandchildren will experience the ‘moving picture in a box’, but their formative years of exploration and foundational learning are been developed by personal experience.


    On 7/18/2022, Corbett released
    “Episode 421 – The Gutenberg Conspiracy (The Media Matrix — Part 1)”

    Prior, on 7/12/2022 Corbett released
    Episode 420 – Mass Media: A History
    Join James Corbett for today’s special edition of The Corbett Report podcast, where he walks you through Mass Media: A History, a 3-lesson, 6+ hour online course examining the history of media, exploring media’s impact on society, and revealing where technological developments in media technology are taking us in the future. With lectures in audio and video formats, hyperlinked transcript, recommended reading and study guides, this course takes you on a whirlwind tour of over 500 years of history and shows you what the future of media might look like and why it matters.

    This is a bargain! …especially for Corbett Report Members who receive a strong discount. The Discount Code is always presented at the end of Corbett’s recent weekly newsletter.

  30. What an amazing series James! I am now rewatching the 3 episodes 421-423 for the fourth time now there is so much information in it. Wonderful great work

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