Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Tons More Bullshit...

Penn and Teller - Bullshit is a hell of a funny show that I regrettably don't get to see first-run because I'm too cheap to pay for Showtime. Luckily it very, very slowly comes out on DVD, and Season 5 finally made to stores last week. Now, the first couple of seasons dealt with pretty run of the mill asininity like aliens, ghosts, and ouija boards. More recent seasons have addressed somewhat more complex and controversial issues like gun control and the death penalty, which are interesting topics but don't quite as well in the rant format that the show uses. The progression of topics calls to mind my ancient post (Located here, but embarrassingly larval.) about how crazy woo-woo topics are like training for applying critical thinking skills to other areas of our lives.

The fifth season splits the difference, talking about exorcisms* and enemas in the same breath as patriotism, illegal immigration, and sweatshops. (There's also an episode solely dedicated to boobies). It's not the best season, but it's still worth having a look at, especially for the episodes on illegal immigration (thought-provoking) and exorcism (hilarious). Penn and Teller are also libertarians, which means they come down on my side of the fence as often as not, but also that they occasionally make kind of uncomfortable zero-sum arguments about corporate responsibility and the like. That being said, the show is still worth watching and, more importantly, discussing. Check it out.

Just to show you that Penn and Teller actually have something worthwhile to say, have a look at this clip:



*Look for the interview with Elizabeth Loftus in the exorcism episode. She and Katherine Ketcham wrote this awesome book that helped to turn the tide against the forces of stupidity during the height of the Satanic Panic.

2 comments:

Garret said...

On a side note, I need to collect "skippyisms", and "Jakisms"- although "Jakisms" sounds a little to much like what a teenage male with his Hustler magazine might do.
"embarrassingly larval" an expression of ones reluctance to cite early works, versus the more refined and practiced later works. I love it. I am starting to see all of my apologetics work as embarassingly larval.
Jaks colloquial Jesii, the intergallactic Christian revival movement is launched. Oh, THAT Jesus!?

JAK said...

I ran across some papers I wrote in High School, 20(ish) years ago.

Those were embarrassingly larval...

Let's find a term other than "Jakisms..." :-S