Upon Meeting A Friend for the First Time

10/13/201932 Comments

It's hard to believe that I've been collaborating with James Evan Pilato on New World Next Week—our weekly news update series—for 10 years now. It's even harder to believe that, after all these years of talking about a real-world meet up with James, it finally came to pass. But if you've seen my latest video/podcast, you'll see that we managed to combine the two events: A real-life meet up here in Japan for the 10th anniversary of the series.

But a funny thing happened on the way to this podcast. A few months ago, when it became clear that this was really going to occur, I realized I had no idea how tall Pilato actually is. In fact, I even made a bet with Corbett Report video editor Broc West: If Pilato was at least six feet tall (as I speculated) Broc owed me a curry next time he's in Japan. If Pilato was shorter than that, I'd owe Broc a bowl of ramen (his favorite Japanese dish).

It struck me right away how very 21st century this bet is. How many people in the history of humanity have never actually stood face to face with someone they consider to be a friend? Sure, it's happened—pen pals and other unusual long-distance friendships have existed in the past, after all. But it's only in the online era that people have colleagues, associates, friends and even hookups with people they've only ever known as on-screen avatars or (at best) Skype images.

For me, this raises all sorts of intriguing questions. What does it mean to be friends with someone you've never met? What kinds of things are left out when we lack real-world contact with our computer companions? Are there ways to compensate for that lack? Is online friendship really possible, or is it just another digital phantom, deluding us with a simulacrum of human contact?

So, is online community possible? What do we miss out when we never meet face to face? And just how tall is Pilato, anyway? Discover the answer to all of your burning questions in this week's edition of The Corbett Report Subscriber. To access the full newsletter and to support this website, please become a member today.

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  1. ClintTorrez says:

    Such a beautiful occasion for you two and families! I appreciate you sharing a bit of it. Thank you James & James and everyone who helped make this possible.

  2. cooly says:

    In the end there’s just no way to know…unless you’re there in person.
    Yep. That applies to everything, doesn’t it. Mic drop, James.

    That just for fun video was brilliantly twisted. Thanks for linking it.

  3. manbearpig says:

    argh! alright! alright! Ok! alright! I’ll save my pennies, lose weight, take identity photos, renew my passport, put up with TSA machines and head back to my long, long since abandonned “homeland”, I’ve always wanted to go back anyway and see Tucson where I began my studies, had my first motorcycle ride, saw my first tarantula, got my first job; Wendy’s breakfasts, then the delicatessen, see what it’s become 35 years later, admire the sunsets, smell the orange blossom, get Stuart Hameroff’s autograph and then head over, across the Sonora desert to the sound of Solsbury Hill all the way to Albuquerque to see where Breaking Bad was filmed, pay for the overpriced tour, visit Georgia O’keefe’s studio, brave the nostalgia, the feeling of having been left behind by my own compatriots, unaware of the current memes, the cool songs, should I still expect water and bread rolls when I sit down in a Denny’s? Can you still get a peppermint stick Ice cream soda at Friendly’s? Is a cup of coffee still bottomless? Does stop and shop still sell swiss rolls with no chocolate coating? What about the teaberry gum at the checkout counter ? Will someone still bag it all for ya ? How much should you tip now? Should I still say Ms. instead of miss or missus? In what totally unique and otherwise impossible way will I find of embarassing myself in my own native land? Clumsy. Ignorant. Wrought as I am with the anxiety caused by so much existential uncertainty, all of this pales in comparison to that now imperiously obsessive doubt, the dizziness, the palpitations, the lack of decisive references, the inability to clearly visualize, ponder, estimate, it’s reached an unbearable peak, screeching ; I now have no other choice but to make my way to the state of New Mexico, in a spiritual quest to discover, finally, curry or ramen, just exactly how tall James Evan Pilato really is! Guess I’ll have to subscribe to his show, too, if I’m gonna have anything interesting to say to him…face to face… OMG! 😯

    • manbearpig says:

      I sense that, much like the Randian “Who is John Galt” meme,

      the “So how tall is James Evan Pilato?” enigma

      will become a household proverb, queried with a shrug and a wink,

      all across CorbettLand, down through générations, and finally, one day, as far as the restaurant at the end of the Universe…

  4. scpat says:

    China Collecting DNA From Males Across Country, Prompting Eugenics and Privacy Concerns

    A Sept. 20 notice from police in the Guiqing district of Guilin, a city in the southern province of Guangxi, stated that authorities would be collecting blood samples from male residents in every neighborhood through Dec. 31.

    The notice further said that the effort is part of the “public security’s basic information work” to “improve the precision and controllability of population management,” and the samples would be collected either by group or door-to-door.

    In September 2018, the Sui County government in Hubei Province announced a plan to establish a regional Y-STR DNA database to “enhance population control.” The database will include information to cover at least five generations of a particular household. The DNA collection is set to complete by the end of 2019, according to authorities.

  5. cooly says:


    Coming soon to a country near you. Or more accurately, every country.
    I just go on the assumption that if you’ve had a blood test done at your local hospital for any reason, you are already in a eugenics database.

  6. The Duder says:

    I will forever be at unrest until I know how tall JEP is. Thanks a lot, Corbett, for the curse you’ve cast upon me. Hello, endless sleepless nights as I can only imagine Corbett sitting there in his kitchen, cheekily cackling and sipping from the mug given to him by his cacao’n corporate overlords. Alas, but my training will serve me well. As I look at the wristband dutifully worn on my pasty white wrist, I am reminded. WWJD. What Would James Do. James Corbett, my JC of modern times, I will research until life’s end to discover the answer to the question that is only secondary to the meaning of life. How tall is JEP and did JC get his curry?

  7. scpat says:

    It immediately struck me that meaningful online community is an illusion.

    Don’t be disillusioned, James. One or two distasteful comments towards yourself is a small sample size for you to come to the conclusion that “meaningful online community is an illusion.” In-person interaction is obviously necessary to build strong friendships, but that doesn’t mean that genuine online communities can’t form.

  8. HomeRemedySupply says:

    I’ll wager that James Corbett is not a short fellow.
    I am guessing that Corbett is somewhere at 6 feet or taller.

    Here James is standing next to Richard Gage (circa 2009).

    I’ve been with Richard several times in person, and Gage is not a short guy.

  9. HomeRemedySupply says:

    I consider the members here at Corbett Report my friends.

    Many times when I am talking to someone and trying to introduce them to a Corbett Report video, I will say something like this:
    “I have a friend who lives in Japan now. James Corbett. He is a well respected researcher who runs ‘The Corbett Report’. He has a great professionally-made documentary that you just gotta see! “How Big Oil Conquered the World” It will blow your mind! Just search it on the internet and it will come up.”

    (ha! Often, I have to correct them from saying “Colbert Report”)

    • cooly says:


      That’s cool that you consider the CR members friends. I share an affection with the people here because, with the exception of a tiny number of people I know face to face, they are some of the only people I can relate to at an intellectual or awareness level. Not that I am brilliant, far from it. But I am curious about things that most don’t seem to be.

      On another note, all this speculation about the respective heights of James and James is probably increasingly baffling Corbett. “What’s up with this fucking circus I have created?” The question of what he looks like without his glasses however is a legitimate and critical issue.

    • hugo.c says:

      Hi HRS,

      Your declaration of us as your friends is a very interesting thing. It is your declaration, and what you think is your want, and thus your statement is intrinsically true.

      The real question is do the rest or us consider the Corbett Report Community (CRC) our friends? And that gets back to that which James has published. What does “friend” mean, and does that definition change if we know each other only via some remote connection or have augmented that by actually being close enough to touch each other, to smell each other? I think that the topic raised is timely and interesting. Our societies and now interacting at a faster rate across distance, and this changes what we mean by distance. This, in turn, changes lots of “definitions” that involve proximity.

      I view the CRC as a collection of adorable, quixotic, observant, inquisitive colleagues. Of those four adjectives, the one that wills me to be a part of the CRC is the one that starts with the consonant.

      Love yourself and those “around” you. Be playful.

      With respect,


  10. manbearpig says:

    Could the smoking gun of climate fraud protect endangered children from their infanticidal parents who’ve lost it obsessing over climate change?:

    BBC: Its Important to Let Climate Worriers Talk About Murdering Their Own Children
    Eric Worrall / 3 hours ago October 13, 2019

    “…Hickman has counselled parents who fantasise about killing their children, out of fear of the climate-ravaged future. But she calmly points out that history is rife with examples of parents preparing to end their children’s lives in order to protect them. “If we disallow those feelings, we’re just driving them back into the unconscious,” Hickman argues.
    The parents who confess these dark thoughts to her aren’t actually going to act on them, she believes, and it’s important for them to have a safe, shame-free mental space to express the depth of their anxiety. Psychotherapy and other psychology tools can help people become more comfortable with the uncertainty that is inevitable when it comes to climate change…”


  11. jackbc says:

    Truly heartwarming to witness the meeting of Messrs. Corbett
    and Pilato in Nippon. Thanks for sharing, and for the followup article
    on your experience with ‘avatar allies’.

    Your Show Notes are always well considered, and compel me to pay some
    attention to issues or injustices well beyond my range of personal obsessions.
    Case in point: the media exclusion (“censorship”) of Derrick Broze in
    Houston, Texas. Mr. Broze is extremely articulate and passionate about
    his community. He should not have to quote FCC Regulations just to get
    minimal coverage. I think his is a coming voice in that region, win or no win of the Houston mayoralty.

    An arrogant media picking the candidates for public office,is a permanent social affliction. That same Media collectively running interference of citizen candidates, is a matter for redress under the law. Both are proven contributors to citizen rejection of the so-called “Democratic” process.

    We Canadians are in a federal election campaign and media meddling is as
    intense as it has ever been. The surviving print media has little remaining influence, but the federal government-owned broadcasting corporation, the CBC, has blatantly and unashamedly been supporting Mr. Justin Trudeau – sufficient to ensure he gets his minority government.
    Yet, complaining of manipulation in our national affairs seems somehow trivial and petty, given the agony of whole populations in the Middle East and Africa, and the incredibly brave uprising in Hong Kong.

    Mr. Pilato says the DJ (music) side of his media career yields him the greater listener response, but I only listen to his words. He has great instincts and his collaboration (USA anchor desk??) is a valuable contribution. Long may your friendship prosper!

    Cheers. Ron Jack in British Columbia

  12. Ahmed Al Zamily says:

    I’m so pleased to see that you two have finally met after 10 years. Meeting someone online and getting to know each other can translate into a true friendship. I also have an online friend but I’ve never met her, it would be great to meet in person. It’s amazing how we are more connected and how it’s possible to make genuine friends online.

  13. HomeRemedySupply says:

    A whole new meaning to “Cottonmouth”…

    October 11, 2019 Reuters
    U.S. regulators allow genetically modified cotton as human food source

    U.S. regulators on Friday gave the green light for genetically modified cotton to be used for human consumption, paving the way for a protein-packed new food source – edible cottonseed that tastes a bit like chickpeas – that its developers said could help tackle global malnutrition.

    The Food and Drug Administration’s decision on the cotton plant developed by Texas A&M University scientists means it is allowed as food for people and all types of animals.

    Texas A&M AgriLife Research plant biotechnologist Keerti Rathore said the scientists are holding discussions with companies and hope to have the plant commercially available within about five years. Rathore said the team also will explore seeking regulatory approval in other countries starting with Mexico.

    “Yes, we are fully aware of the resistance to GMOs in many countries, but I remain hopeful that counties who are desperate for food will adopt this technology,” Rathore added.

    Cotton is grown in more than 80 countries, with its fiber used to make textiles and cottonseed currently used among other purposes to feed animals such as cattle and sheep that have multiple stomach chambers. Ordinary cottonseed is unfit for humans and many animals to eat because it contains high levels of gossypol, a toxic chemical.

    Rathore’s team used so-called RNAi, or RNA interference, technology to “silence” a gene, virtually eliminating gossypol from the cottonseed. Gossypol was left at natural levels in the rest of the plant because it guards against insects and disease.

    • jan.d says:

      Just so You Know…Cotton is surpassed only by tobacco as the most horrifically poisoned product. Tobacco is sprayed with several thousand herbicide and insecticides and cotton is just below that. I grew up in close proximity to tobacco fields and they were spray constantly.

  14. illbnice2u2 says:

    What a awesome meeting. I have been in a virtual world called “Second Life” for 13 years now and have met some of the avatars in real life and I was so surprised that they were so much like the avatars I knew in SL. Of course they looked different than their avatars but that was where the difference ended. Their personality, their characteristics were the same. We are still friends in second life and in real life. So it is possible, I know first hand. And I have a feeling the two of you will do the same.

  15. squidly says:

    Excellent James….point taken. :o)

  16. pearl says:

    So very sad that the condemnation of the coffee cup critic ruined for everybody what could’ve been an entirely different social environment. If only…

    My mom sent to me a video of an elderly woman sitting out at her back patio, drinking her morning coffee, enjoying her backyard birds who flit about. She talks awhile about nothing in particular but the little joys in her quiet life. Then she proceeds to make something, like a mosaic table top, or paint a stepping stone, all unedited, like you’re right there with her. Although a bit tedious for my impatient self, it was still endearing. My heart actually ached a little watching her.

    But when it comes to religion and politics, I don’t know that it’s possible to have a warm, kitchen table environment. Certainly not in my house. Exponentially so for this alternate reality! Too many ideologically bruised, chafed and wary souls scraping through our own rabbit holes. Grace and manners go a long way.

    • hugo.c says:

      Dear Pearl,

      That your comment embrasses the scene you describe shows your literacy.

      Yes, its hard to survive the rabbit hole and still connect.

      Your best word? Grace.


  17. candlelight says:

    “Heck, he may even have been legless for all I knew….”

    The above quote made me laugh, which is precisely what it was designed to do. James has a good sense of humor, for sure. But, James, ever the teacher, was simply making a point, for if I, who am no sleuth, can find the following video from 2010 clearly showing Pilato with a set of legs, then surely it could have come as no surprise that his bud walked off the plane on his own volition. Unfortunately, JEP was sitting for this video on the bench for the entire interview, thus making it impossible to truly gauge his height.

    As far as KitKats go, whenever they’re brought into the house, it becomes a matter of conscience and restraint not to be the one to gobble disproportionately for oneself, be it the king size bar, or devouring too many mini’s, leaving too few for others….damn, where can I get a mug?!!

    Do they ship from Japan??

    Pilato’s interview:


    • hugo.c says:

      Thanks for the video link.

      JEP doing his thing, 9 years ago. Calm, informed and friendly.

    • herrqlys says:

      “Unfortunately, JEP was sitting for this video on the bench for the entire interview, thus making it impossible to truly gauge his height.”

      Without resorting to a digital measuring calipre, that video shows JEP as measured against the park bench backboard being hips-to-head of about 4 feet in height. Add another 2 feet for foot to knee, and you get at least 6 feet for his complete frame.

      PS I’m assuming the bench backboard is about 2 feet in height.

      This was a very good interview and JEP was as articulate as usual. I thought that he displayed the inner conviction that comes from knowing your subject matter very well.

  18. Ukdavec says:

    Excellent twitter thread – Syria, Jeffrey Epstein, Larry Summers and the all stars


  19. Ukdavec says:

    Old article 2016 but relevant concept for present times IMHO

    Of the ilk of Strauss and Howe and the Fourth Turning , but from the Greek classical perspective – Populism looks to be baked into the cake



  20. HomeRemedySupply says:

    NEWS FEED (James Corbett mentioned)

    October 12, 2019 – Strategic Culture Foundation (Video section)
    During the Open Mind Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark in 2017, the organizers recorded an interview with James Corbett about his presentation, Echoes of WWI: China, the US, and the Next “Great” War.

  21. mkey says:

    Greta Thunberg and her handlers run from questions in Edmonton!

    A bit of journalism that was missing in Greta coverage.

    I wasn’t sure about classification so it was worth checking, National Alliance on Mental Illness, an authoritative source surely, lists Autism (of which Asperger syndrome is a milder form), Depression and Eating disorders as mental illnesses.

    I understand there are differing points of view on this nomenclature, but even if she is not officially mentally ill she surely is unwell, so the question aimed at her caregiver was spot on. I also think that the journalist was right not to press this point further with the girl even though that little devil sitting on my shoulder would have liked nothing more but to see a bloodbath.

    Further, I find the reaction, or lack thereof, of the father to protect her daughter from a mildly abusive stranger against whom police violence threats are being issued by a third party from the entourage as quite telling. He appears to be completely disinterested in his daughter’s wellbeing or has a mental condition of his own or he’s not her father.

    In closing, even if she were completely mentally fit, it doesn’t look like she’d be able to take part in a debate.

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