August 21, 2007

My Bulls**t Guilty Pleasure

I have to admit it. I'm addicted to Bulls**t. You may wonder why that is such a surprise, given that I blog for a living -- but in this case, I'm talking about the television show featuring Penn & Teller.

In fact, the show reminds me of the same kind of attitude behind blogging. The pair built their reputation as skeptics, and apply their skepticism to a wide range of topics. The show combines humor, outrage, and their libertarian point of view into a wild ride that (almost) never fails to entertain. Most of the topics involve politics to some degree, and a few more than most.

And just like with blogging, those political points of view can annoy and even enrage the viewer. Tonight, we watched Penn & Teller's deconstruction of Mother Theresa from the show's third season. We also sat through their show on Big Brother, which reviewed the Patriot Act as well as surveillance cameras. Obviously, conservatives and Catholics might object to some of what the hosts have to say on these subjects, and we did. Even while objecting to it, though, we found it entertaining and enlightening -- just like the best of the blogs.

The third episode talked about colleges, diversity, and speech codes. That entry featured our friend King Banaian of SCSU Scholars, the chair of Economics at St. Cloud State University. Conservatives would love this episode, and not just because Penn & Teller allow King to be the voice of reason. They punk Noam Chomsky and a race-baiting diversity specialist -- no, wait, two race-baiting diversity specialists. They show how universities have become indoctrination centers for the Left. And they're hilarious the entire time.

Most times they're dead right, a few times they're dead wrong, but they never fail to entertain -- and to make the audience think. It's confrontational, direct, and fearless ... just like the best of the blogs. If you haven't had the opportunity to see the show, which airs exclusively on Showtime, try buying the DVDs.


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Comments (12)

Posted by Carol Herman | August 21, 2007 10:38 PM

Oh, I love Penn & Teller!

Yes, there segments of "Bullsh$t" are marvelous put downs.

Isn't the truth refreshing?

Posted by rjschwarz | August 21, 2007 11:16 PM

I really enjoyed the show but the one on legalizing drugs conflated hard drugs and pot to create a number of strawmen which I felt was not entirely fair.

Posted by RBMN | August 22, 2007 12:02 AM

Part of the King Banaian segment:

Penn & Teller Bulls**t: Universities 2

Posted by Mr Michael | August 22, 2007 12:10 AM

Their show on Recycling should be mandatory viewing for all politicians... season 2, show 5.

A quote: "If you had a more informed group of consumers, they wouldn't get such satisfaction out of doing this recycling, because they'd realize the fact that very often what they're doing is, they're making the budget situation for the local community worse off, they're having an adverse effect on the environment (not always, but sometimes), and in general, they're wasting resources when they recycle" - Daniel Benjamin

Posted by Cain | August 22, 2007 1:27 AM

I second Michael's recommendation for the recycling episode; brilliant and informational.

They've also done a take-down on conspiracy theories (YouTube link below; there's actually 3 parts on YouTube) and highlight the 9/11 truther dopes among others. Definitely check it out; profanity warning:

Posted by TBinSTL [TypeKey Profile Page] | August 22, 2007 2:03 AM

I've Tivo'd the entire series so far and love it. I do have to grit my teeth during some of their anti-religion bits but that is a small price to pay for the delight that is most of the show.
The one on "colonics" was a bit hard to watch too.

Posted by Lurkin_no_mo | August 22, 2007 2:07 AM

I used to love them, but then I saw the segment on religion. They're still good debunking things, but don't be debunking folks religious beliefs... unless those beliefs happen to involve cutting off the heads of infidels. Yea, historically, religion has been used to do a whole lot of bad... but I don't see a whole bunch of Catholics or Protestants blowing themselves up because Penn and Teller diz them.

Posted by OmegaPaladin | August 22, 2007 3:31 AM

I don't really like them. I've seen some clips, but I'm not much for professional skeptics. I also don't see any need to subsidize people who literally think my religion is BS.

Recycling is really good for metals, decent for glass and plastic, and barely useful for paper. (paper is degraded in the cycle - first cardboard, then newsprint or tissues, then only toilet paper) Check the prices for scrap, and you will see the difference.

Posted by Qwinn | August 22, 2007 7:08 AM

They seem to me to be on about the same plane as Christopher Hitchens... reasonable on most subjects, except for religion, which drives them into a frothing frenzy of hate. I consider both them and Hitchens to be utterly unwatchable when it concerns those subjects - and I say that as an agnostic.


Posted by Pho | August 22, 2007 9:13 AM

With the exception of those occasions where they go tripping happily down into anti-religion hate...

They do some really nice work.

My all time favorite though was when they sent that girl roaming around the environmentalist convention with a petition to ban DiHydrogen Monoxide... as a ... dangerous chemical, and had all the wacky lefty moonbat enviro-nuts signing up to ban water.

Followed close behind their support for rebuilding the WTC towers, using exactly the same plans as the old ones.

Followed close behind by... the bottled water episode where they had people speaking about the different boquet and flavor of several different "expensive" bottles of... water from the hose out back of the restaruant.

Posted by AmendmentX | August 22, 2007 10:15 AM

I've enjoyed Penn and Teller for years. However, I got a huge wake-up call when Penn and Teller were on a show where they were working for their favorite charity. The charity they chose to give their $10,000 to? The ACLU.

Posted by Paul A'Barge | August 22, 2007 10:20 AM

Penn & Teller's deconstruction of Mother Theresa

wow. Deconstructing Mother Theresa. Now, that's a badge of great courage.

How pathetic.

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