Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History Show 61 – (Blitz) Painfotainment: Pain is at the root of most drama and entertainment. When does it get too real? This very disturbing and graphic show looks into some case studies and asks some deep questions. WARNING Very intense subject matter.

In “Hardcore History” journalist and broadcaster Dan Carlin takes his “Martian”, unorthodox way of thinking and applies it to the past. Was Alexander the Great as bad a person as Adolf Hitler? What would Apaches with modern weapons be like? Will our modern civilization ever fall like civilizations from past eras? This isn’t academic history (and Carlin isn’t a historian) but the podcast’s unique blend of high drama, masterful narration and Twilight Zone-style twists has entertained millions of listeners.

Books Mentioned in Hardcore History Show 61 - (Blitz) Painfotainment:

Book Title: Seeing Justice Done

Author: Paul Friedland

Book Title: Discipline & Punish

Author: Michel Foucault

Book Title: A Hangman’s Diary

Author: Franz Schmidt

Book Title: The Lessons of History

Author: Will & Ariel Durant

Book Title: The Lure of the Arena

Author: Garrett G. Fagan

Book Title: Rituals of Retribution

Author: Richard J. Evans

Book Title: The Faithful Executioner

Author: Joel F. Harrington

Book Title: Public Executions


Book Title: The Spectacle of Suffering


Book Title: The Hanging Tree

Author: V.A.C. Gatrell

Book Title: The Wealth of Nations

Author: Adam Smith

Book Title: The Theory of Moral Sentiments 

Author: Adam Smith

A Deep Dive into the World of Painfotainment - Hardcore History Show 61 (Blitz)

In Hardcore History Show 61 (Blitz) titled “Painfotainment,” Dan Carlin takes listeners on a fascinating journey through the history of violence and suffering as a form of entertainment. This thought-provoking podcast delves into the psychological, cultural, and historical aspects of humanity’s appetite for violence, from the brutal gladiatorial games of ancient Rome to the gruesome public executions of the Middle Ages. By examining the phenomenon of painfotainment, Carlin seeks to uncover the underlying motivations and societal factors that have driven this enduring fascination with brutality and spectacle.

Gladiatorial Games and the Roman Empire:

The episode begins with an exploration of the gladiatorial games in ancient Rome, where men fought to the death for the amusement of the masses. Carlin describes the origins of these brutal spectacles, which were initially held as private funeral games but eventually evolved into large-scale public events sponsored by the state. He also delves into the lives of the gladiators themselves, who were often slaves, criminals, or prisoners of war, and the complex social dynamics surrounding their status and celebrity within Roman society.

Carlin highlights the sheer scale and brutality of the gladiatorial games, with tens of thousands of spectators cheering as combatants fought and died for their entertainment. He also examines the cultural and political significance of these events, which served not only as a means of social control but also as a powerful symbol of Roman imperial power and dominance.

Public Executions and the Middle Ages:

The podcast then shifts its focus to the grisly world of public executions in medieval Europe. Carlin describes the various methods of execution used throughout the Middle Ages, including hanging, burning at the stake, beheading, and drawing and quartering. He emphasizes the performative nature of these spectacles, which were designed to maximize the suffering of the condemned and serve as a deterrent to others.

Carlin also discusses the role of the executioner, who was both reviled and respected within society. He highlights the paradoxical nature of this profession, with executioners carrying out the state’s brutal punishments while also being shunned and ostracized by their communities.

The Psychology of Painfotainment:

One of the central themes of Hardcore History Show 61 (Blitz) is the psychological underpinnings of humanity’s fascination with violence and suffering as entertainment. Carlin delves into the various theories and explanations for this phenomenon, from the cathartic release of pent-up aggression to the allure of witnessing the ultimate human drama.

He also examines the role of empathy in our response to painfotainment, suggesting that our ability to identify with the suffering of others may be both a driving force behind our fascination with violence and a potential buffer against its more extreme manifestations. Additionally, Carlin discusses the concept of “the other” and how societies often dehumanize those who are different or perceived as threats, making it easier to justify and enjoy their suffering.

Cultural and Historical Perspectives:

Throughout the podcast, Carlin emphasizes the importance of cultural and historical context in understanding the phenomenon of painfotainment. He argues that our modern sensibilities and values have been shaped by centuries of evolving attitudes towards violence and suffering, and that we must consider these factors when examining our own reactions to painfotainment in contemporary society.

Carlin explores the shifting attitudes towards violence and public spectacles of suffering over time, highlighting how the rise of humanism and the Enlightenment in Europe led to a gradual decline in the acceptance of brutal punishments and executions. He also notes that the emergence of new forms of media and entertainment, such as novels, theater, and eventually film, helped to satiate humanity’s appetite for drama and violence in less overtly brutal ways.

The podcast also discusses the role of religion in shaping societal attitudes towards painfotainment, with Carlin examining how religious beliefs and rituals have both perpetuated and mitigated the fascination with violence and suffering throughout history.

Painfotainment in the Modern World:

In the final segment of the episode, Carlin turns his attention to the modern world and considers the ways in which painfotainment continues to manifest itself in contemporary society. He notes that while public executions and gladiatorial games may no longer be the norm, our fascination with violence and suffering persists in various forms, from true crime stories to reality television shows and violent video games.

Carlin also discusses the role of technology in shaping our relationship with painfotainment, suggesting that the mediated nature of modern violence and suffering may both desensitize us to its impact and heighten our appetite for ever more extreme forms of entertainment.

Hardcore History Painfotainment - Conclusion:

In Hardcore History Show 61 (Blitz) titled “Painfotainment,” Dan Carlin offers a thought-provoking and in-depth examination of humanity’s enduring fascination with violence and suffering as entertainment. Through a compelling blend of historical analysis, cultural commentary, and psychological insights, Carlin invites listeners to reflect on their own attitudes towards painfotainment and consider the complex factors that have shaped this phenomenon throughout history.

This podcast episode is an essential listen for anyone interested in understanding the darker aspects of human nature and the historical and cultural forces that have driven our fascination with violence and suffering. By exploring the world of painfotainment, Dan Carlin challenges us to confront the uncomfortable truths about our own appetites for brutality and spectacle, and to consider the ways in which we can navigate these impulses in our modern society.