PUCK: ROBBER BARONS THEN AND SILICON VALLEY ROBBER BARONS NOW

puck cartoon robber barons tying up uncle samPuck magazine (1871-1918), the well-known political humor magazine, was at its height under original founder and creative director cartoonist Joseph Keppler. Here is a February 23rd, 1881 Keppler political cartoon depicting Jay Gould, the telegraph monopolist, and Cornelius Vanderbilt the railroad baron.

The point of the cartoon is the way those two Robber Barons – allied with like-minded newspaper tycoons – abused their wealth and political influence to bind the United States (represented here by Uncle Sam) to their will.

Joseph Keppler was outraged at the power so unethically wielded by such figures to cloak themselves in righteous, philanthropic public images while in reality they – in Keppler’s words – clutched “the United States and all its institutions by the throat.”

Creepy LineThis is similar to the way the Silicon Valley and Social Media Robber Barons of today cloak themselves in “socially conscious” public images while in reality clutching the United States and all its institutions by the throat.

The Robber Barons criticized by Puck magazine exerted their ugly influence on behalf of right-wing politicians. The Robber Barons of the 21st Century tend to exert their ugly influence on behalf of left-wing politicians. The end results are equally totalitarian.

*** For THE CREEPY LINE, a documentary about abuses by Google, Twitter, Facebook and others CLICK HERE       

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20 Comments

Filed under LIBERALS AND CONSERVATIVES, Neglected History, opinion, Puck Magazine

20 responses to “PUCK: ROBBER BARONS THEN AND SILICON VALLEY ROBBER BARONS NOW

  1. Pingback: PUCK: BOSS PLATT, FATHER KNICKERBOCKER AND EUGEN SANDOW | Balladeer's Blog

  2. Rhonda

    You are so right that Zuckerberg at Facebook and Dorsey at Twitter are like the old Robber Barons.

  3. Kina

    Silicon Valley fascists are the worst.

  4. Cathryn

    So accurate! Jack Dorsey and the rest are today’s robber baron one percenters.

  5. Samuel

    Interesting parallel but I think you’re too rough on Zuckerberg.

  6. Lois

    The more things change the more they stay the same.

  7. Gillian

    I like the way you often call them technofascists too.

  8. N C

    Perfect comparison!

  9. Shandie

    Brilliant comparison! That old political cartoon is great too!

  10. N Ladd

    Interesting parallel between the old Robber Barons and today’s Dorsey and Zuckerberg barons.

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