Betsy Speicher

Penn & Teller - Bullsh*t

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13 posts in this topic

My first reaction was to give it a 10 because when it's good, it's phenomenally good. However, some of the shows have been mediocre. My more general issue is that most of their arguments are emotional rather than reasoned. That said, their kick-butt, take-no-prisoners approach to hot issues in the culture made me put a Tivo Season Pass on their show. Also, my wife and I are going to see their Vegas act next week :P

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My first reaction was to give it a 10 because when it's good, it's phenomenally good. However, some of the shows have been mediocre. My more general issue is that most of their arguments are emotional rather than reasoned. That said, their kick-butt, take-no-prisoners approach to hot issues in the culture made me put a Tivo Season Pass on their show. Also, my wife and I are going to see their Vegas act next week :P

I agree, Penn and Teller do use a bit too much emotionalism. I remember their ‘Endangered Species’ episode, which was otherwise very logical, featuring a handicapped women who couldn’t build a house she desperately needed because of the EPA.

Many of the episodes are also somewhat mediocre. ‘The Bible’ episode just historically debunked some of the stories of the bible, without dealing with its philosophical content (I should also mention that many Christians do not take the Bible literally.)

Thought the episodes that are exceptional make the series worthwhile (that’s why I gave it a ten.) The ‘recycling’ episode is particularly good. And most episodes are at least entertaining, even the one about ‘hair’.

I like Penn and Teller because I so rarely see people like that: Confidant, interesting, happy, and with good ideas. They are certainly refreshing in a media dominated by Michael Moores and Ann Coulters.

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My first reaction was to give it a 10 because when it's good, it's phenomenally good. However, some of the shows have been mediocre. My more general issue is that most of their arguments are emotional rather than reasoned. That said, their kick-butt, take-no-prisoners approach to hot issues in the culture made me put a Tivo Season Pass on their show. Also, my wife and I are going to see their Vegas act next week :P

I agree, Penn and Teller do use a bit too much emotionalism. I remember their ‘Endangered Species’ episode, which was otherwise very logical, featuring a handicapped women who couldn’t build a house she desperately needed because of the EPA.

Having never seen the show myself, I'd be interested in a better example of emotionalism, which refers to using emotion per se as an argument, which I do not see in this example. Here the argument was that the EPA (which should not exist) violated this woman's rights. A situation that evokes emotion is not necessarily emotionalism.

The fact that the featured victim of the EPA was disabled helps to amplify the point that rights-violations are unjust, because the injury was inflicted by government initiation of force on a person who was already so obviously injured. In this way Penn and Teller turn the tables on statists, who commonly use the plight of the disabled as an excuse to rationalize the power of government to initiate force against its own citizens. So it was a clever approach to show that the disabled are also citizens with rights that can be violated, and offering an example of such a case -- rather than showing the disabled only as the beneficiaries of benefits extorted from others by the same immorality. This kind of case blasts the pretense and hypocrisy of statists.

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Having never seen the show myself, I'd be interested in a better example of emotionalism

The show is a mixture of emotionalism and reason. The emotionalism comes from Penn Gillette's ranting and antics. The show attempts to be entertaining (which it is!) and in the process the rational arguments get lost. I can't list a specific episode, but if you watch it you'll see what I mean.

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For reference Ayn Rand received a direct mention in the latest episode of Penn and Teller: BS

The episode is about anger management, Penn is making references to people who's anger has produced inspiration. The direct quote is:

"Ayn Rand was enraged by Communists and people who tried to tear down heroes, so she wrote Atlas Shrugged."

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Having never seen the show myself, I'd be interested in a better example of emotionalism

The show is a mixture of emotionalism and reason. The emotionalism comes from Penn Gillette's ranting and antics. The show attempts to be entertaining (which it is!) and in the process the rational arguments get lost. I can't list a specific episode, but if you watch it you'll see what I mean.

I love this show. For most episodes I can't really find any 'emotions-as-arguements' since they're pretty good about facts. The only episode that I've ever seen where they just seem to state their opinion is in the Death Penalty episode. In that episode, their whole arguement seems to be that its not good to kill a human being. While I don't necessarily object :P they don't defend that idea with any reason, they just keep showing Teller being strung up.

I think the reason for this is that 'is killing humans bad?' is necessarily an ethical/philosophical question, and the show is not philosophical so they couldn't answer with anything more than an image.

But other than that complaint, its a 10 :P

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For reference Ayn Rand received a direct mention in the latest episode of Penn and Teller: BS

The episode is about anger management, Penn is making references to people who's anger has produced inspiration. The direct quote is:

"Ayn Rand was enraged by Communists and people who tried to tear down heroes, so she wrote Atlas Shrugged."

When Penn still had a radio show, he and his co-host had a favorite books section. Featured was “Atlas Shrugged”!

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Homer: I'm not normally a religious man, but if you're up there, save me Superman!

Marge: Homer, for the last time, that's not God. It's just a waffle that got stuck to the ceiling.

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If I remember correctly, on the "Americans With Disabilities Act" they had a guest from the Objectivist Center on. I can't remember his name, and he didn't get on for long, but he was there.

Penn and Teller is a good and convincing show. They usually have a very good point and make good arguments. I also enjoy the humor and antics of the two. I also find it kind of amusing how Teller tries his hardest to have a naked woman on each and every episode. I give it ten, for being hilarious, informative, and utterly decadent.

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My son just gave me the first three seasons of the show for X-mas. I laughed myself silly on many of the episodes. I highly recommend watching. They use fact and reason in their bashings; just do not expect them to make highly philosophical analyses.

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I just saw the one on "Diversification" in collages. It was wonderful to hear their opinion of some disgusting sleazy academics that make the villains in AS look clean. A good show, even if it is a bit vulgar, because they speak unequivocally in the name of reason.

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Although not perfect and perhaps over-sensationalistic, I think Penn and Teller are flat out heroic in their show Bullshit! :huh:

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