Bullsh**, Penn & Teller's

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by dan fritzen, Apr 2, 2004.

  1. dan fritzen

    dan fritzen Second Unit

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    Anyone watch this show, they are hilarious and they are not afraid to call anyone on the show a fraud or bad person. They roasted P.E.T.A. last night and it was great. Did anyone know over 2/3rds of the animals PETA liberated where euthennized by PETA? They also gave money to a ALF member who burned down a colorado ski resort.

    This show is great, if anyone likes Michael Moore you will love this show, the first season is out on DVD and I recommend it.

    Oops, can someone move this to the TV show area, my bad.
     
  2. Brian Thibodeau

    Brian Thibodeau Supporting Actor

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  3. TedT

    TedT Second Unit

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    Penn & Teller actually kind of make sense. Unlike Moore.
     
  4. Mike Williams

    Mike Williams Screenwriter

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    I absolutely cannot stand Michael Moore. I do like Penn & Teller.
     
  5. Bill Wheatley

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    I was rolling at the end when they said that no animals were harmed in the making of this episode... well except for the chickens we ate, and our sexy leather outfits, most of the food is catered and they serve some meat, and they went on and on... hilarous.

    I also liked how after each overweight anti-PETA guests introduced themselves Penn would add, "meat eater."

    This is one unbelieveably funny show. I'm suprised I don't hear more about it. I make sure never to miss it.
     
  6. dan fritzen

    dan fritzen Second Unit

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    What truly makes this show great is that they have no advertisers to piss off. I love that they called the chiropracters and others outright frauds on TV, that is so libelous (potentially) that I give them kudos for having the gonads to say that on air.
     
  7. Jon B NY

    Jon B NY Stunt Coordinator

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    When does this show air? And is it actually called "Bull****"? Tivo didn't seem to find it.
     
  8. dan fritzen

    dan fritzen Second Unit

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    It is on Thursdays at 9pm central time.
     
  9. Paul McElligott

    Paul McElligott Cinematographer

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    Real Name:
    Paul McElligott
    On Tivo, it's called "Bull....!"
     
  10. Jon B NY

    Jon B NY Stunt Coordinator

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    Hmmm...I'm starting to think it's on a channel I don't get. Showtime perhaps? grr.
     
  11. RickGr

    RickGr Second Unit

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    Sounds like a lot of you missed the first season.
     
  12. Brian Thibodeau

    Brian Thibodeau Supporting Actor

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    It is on Showtime Thursdays. Rebroadcast lat Friday night as well.

    Caught that PETA episode last Friday night. Strong stuff (particularly the Peta reel of livestock abuse), but made a some very valid points. A lot of the Peta-terrorism links have been made before, but never so cleverly.
     
  13. dan fritzen

    dan fritzen Second Unit

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    Who else made this link? If it was a big expose I would think it would have really hurt PETA.

    To think the whole reason for getting PETA inductees is those videos which are cruel to animals but that is a fallacy since what is shown on those videos is illegal anyway.

    Did anyone catch the Environmenatalist episode, showing someone saying 20 or 30 years ago, that the way we are going the world will be destroyed in 10 years, it was funny to see.

    Everyone thinks recycling is clean, but it can be worse than making the original product.
     
  14. Brian Thibodeau

    Brian Thibodeau Supporting Actor

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    I have an issue of The Atlantic from a few years back that made reference to the Peta-Terrorism links, as well as an episode of 20/20 or Dateline or 48 Hours or one of those network news shows from the early-to-mid-90's that also made a connection. I can't remember the show as I ended up with it on tape entirely by accident, having meant to tape something on another channel at the same time. But I watched it anyways and it dealt with animal rights and activists who go too far etc. I kept it just as a reminder (were I ever to watch it again) that corruption can run in even the most seemingly benevolent of organizations. I know this is probably too vague a defense, but I'm on a break at work at the moment and don't relish the idea of going home to dig through years of junk just to find these pieces.

    it did remind me of a situation up here in Canada many years ago in which the Right To Life organization, which advertised in my college paper no less (!), was linked to terroristic attacks on abortion clinics and doctors, etc. They came out with the same attitude attributed to PETA on BULLSHIT: "We don't condemn violence. We don't condone violence. But we understand violence."

    Frightening stuff.

    And if BULLSHIT was really making a big revelation in this arena (or many of the others they investigate), wouldn't their findings, despite the cynical nature of their show, make it into at least some portion of the mainstream press or explode beyond the boundaries of their little TV show? Somehow I think much of what they uncover simply reinforces what their audience, and perhaps some percentage of the North American population, already suspects to be the case, but chooses to ignore because ultimately we're led to feel unempowered to do anything about it (unless we have Showtime TV shows of course).

    Tell me something, is that environmentalist episode part of season two or season one? I'm waiting to receive my Season 1 DVD set, and since I've only seen 9 of the 13 episodes, it'd be cool if that one's in the set.
     
  15. dan fritzen

    dan fritzen Second Unit

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    It is part of Season 1, maybe the last episode.

    Interesting point. I do not remember any shows about this link before and I consider myself an avid media watcher. Of course with news if you skip a day you don't get to go back unless you have a newspaper or magazine.
     
  16. Brian Thibodeau

    Brian Thibodeau Supporting Actor

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    Thanks for the tip, Dan. Can't wait to get the box.

    True as it's said about missing the news for a day.

    Up here in Canada we have a magazine called Frank. It's a bi-weekly rag that digs the dirt and prints the rumours about Canadian politics, business, media, education, religion, medicine, etc. A core group of people put the issues together, but they are well-fed their information from within the organizations they roast, including sources within rival political parties, tipsters in newsrooms whose stories get spiked for fear of reprisal, etc. They occasionally get threatened with lawsuits and print retractions, but so many of their stories go unchallenged one tends to suspect that the subjects CAN'T sue because the "rumours" and "gossip" are actually true and could result in MORE unwanted bad press from the MAINSTREAM media.

    I've subscribed to this magazine for over 10 years now, as do many of the people likely to appear within its pages, and I can't no longer count the number of times stories Frank breaks becomes major news stories in the mainstream press.

    For example, our government up here is embroiled in a very sleazy "sponsorship" scandal with strong, provable ties to various ministers, as well as our new Prime Minister. This thing is huge. It's ugly. It's dirty. It's made many of us lose faith in the system. And it's all but guaranteed the current ruling party won't win a majority of seats in the upcoming election. Which is actually a good thing...

    And of course, Frank magazine was reporting all of it long before it hit the mainstream press. It was eye-opening, but frustrating because you just prayed at some point the mainstream media would pick up on it. Naturally, close ties with politicians kept them from reporting much until our Auditor-General went public with a damning report on the whole stinking affair. Only THEN did the majority of Canadians find out just how corrupt many of our elected officials really are. Of course, with a magazine that freely prints speculation and gossip (in a humourous way), Frank is often viewed as little more than a muckraker. It's just sad how often they're proven right.

    Americans have a similar publication, but the name of it eludes me at the moment. To your added benefit, you also have BULLSHIT!
     
  17. TedT

    TedT Second Unit

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    I think it's really funny how P&T do the exact same editing tricks that they accuse the other side of doing to prove their point.

    I've only seen one disk so far, but they have a habit of only showing ONE person on the "wrong" side, who is just a normal person who believes something (editing it to make them appear to be as stupid as possible), then they get their scientists or officials to support their "right" side.

    They also heavily skew things to show their point of view. Example: on the babies watching the TV that flashed words for spelling and all that. They only had TWO kids in that experiment. They should have tested thousands and shown that data to prove their point. Anyone can get ONE or TWO people to support their point of view.

    Don't even get me started on the secondhand smoke issue!

    Still, it's entertaining. You don't have to believe P&T's bullshit either. They're completely one sided (and I DO agree with P&T about 75% of the time), but it's fun. If they weren't so one-sided, they wouldn't have a show!
     
  18. Rob Gardiner

    Rob Gardiner Cinematographer

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    This is a brilliant show and I love it but P&T do spread their own bullshit from time to time.

    BOTTLED WATER VS. TAP WATER

    In this episode they quote an expert from the National Resources Defense Council, who tells us that the EPA has hundreds of employees regulating tap water, while the FDA has only one employee regulating bottled water. This implies that tap water is always safe, and bottled water is not. However, I visited the NRDC's site and found a very different story! Nothing stated in the episode was false, but P&T left out SO MUCH relevant info as to paint an entirely misleading picture.

    Here is the NRDC's drinking water home page. Remember that this is PENN & TELLER'S OWN SOURCE. Notice that all the articles are about the dangers of tap water. A few tidbits left out of the episode:


    The NRDC finished a scientific study of the drinking water in 19 US cities. Cities with pre-World War I water pipes tend to have the poorest water quality. So the real message (the one that Penn & Teller neglected to mention) was that tap water quality varies tremendously from city to city.

    Later in the episode, P&T's NRDC expert goes on to state that many states do not regulate their bottled water at all, which is true. But what does that statement imply? That some states DO regulate bottled water. Again, the website features far more complete information than was given in the episode. So the true story is that bottled water quality varies tremendously from state to state.

    I live in Seattle, which has pre WWI water pipes. The tap water here has a metallic taste. My first job in the city was at a pizza shop, and the manager told me to run the tap for at least one minute before using water for drinking or cooking because of the LEAD in the water. It also turns out that Washington State has much higher standards for bottled water than the FDA requires. It has been my habit to buy the big, ugly, but inexpensive bottles of water for drinking at home. It lacks the metallic taste, and does not cost more than gasoline (another bit of bullshit spread by P&T).

    So don't believe everything you see on TV. Do the research, inform yourself, and make a decision based on the facts.

    P&T also ignore the fact that people are willing to overpay for individually wrapped food items for the sake of convenience. I'm sure that motivates more bottled water sales than any "health" concerns.

    THE DANGERS OF SECOND HAND SMOKE

    I became suspicious immediately when they quoted a bartender who had worked in a smoky bar for 45 years without any health problems. This is anecdotal evidence and just two episodes earlier, (in the Alternative Medicine episode) P&T's expert says that as scientists, we must NEVER RELY on anecdotal evidence.

    Then they get to the meat of their argument. The American Cancer Society, The American Lung Association, and other health organizations all claim there are health risks associated with second hand smoke. P&T claim that their ONLY basis for this claim is a 1992 study by the EPA that was later debunked. However, I went to these organizations' websites and found that in fact they refer to MANY sources for this information. P&T claim that no study exists that has established any health risks to second hand smoke. This is a LIE and PURE BULLSHIT on P&T's part. The study that the health organizations seem to reference the most was "The Effects of Involuntary Smoking", by the Surgeon General in 1986. To my knowledge, this study has never been debunked. It may have been. But Penn & Teller claim that it doesn't even exist.

    I want to know why they didn't go all the way and claim that ALL cigarette smoke is harmless. Didn't the tobacco companies make that argument for decades?

    To claim second hand smoke is harmless defies all logic and reason. The smoke particles don't know if they are in the lungs of a smoker or a non-smoker.




    Still, I love the show and chalk this up as their attempt to "keep us on our toes".
     
  19. TedT

    TedT Second Unit

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    Yeah, they could've had ME on there for anecdotal evidence about secondhand smoke.

    I'm a strict non-smoker who hangs out in a lot of bars. I also go running. When there was smoking in the bars here in CA, I would have this really weird wheezing sound coming out of my lungs after the first mile or so of light running. (this was after running for 3 years on a consistance basis). About a month or two after the "no smoking in bars" rule took effect, the weird wheezing sound from my lungs disappeared, never to return.
     
  20. Brian Thibodeau

    Brian Thibodeau Supporting Actor

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    Anyone who takes BULLSHIT at face value and doesn't use it as motivation to learn more is as big a fool as any of the suckers they ply with snail masks, magnet mittens and phony infomercials.

    The two episodes Rob Gardiner cites were in fact the two which generated the most animated discussions between me and my girlfriend. As someone who took Statistics in University as part of her medical program, she knows full well (and often must attest to and swear by) the value and availability of such information and the research that goes into it, but less about how charity organizations, lobby groups, rights activists and smart-assed TV hosts could every be so sneaky as to spin the information to support their causes, or even why they'd do such a thing (as she asked me just last night!). On those two eps. in particular, her gut instinct told her that the information was being spun, and yet it's something they do in every episode, and now she practically expects it.

    If for nothing else, Itreasure a show like BULLSHIT! for at least trying to stir the pot, and having a major cable network on which to do it. Just because they use the same (in my opinion) transparent tricks they accuse their subjects of using DOESN'T in any way automatically mean the subjects AREN'T guilty of the tactics of which BULLSHIT! accuses them. It works both ways. It's just that within the mainstream media, few news outlets seem to have the balls to fling big gobs of mud and see what sticks.

    And while I agree the slant on some of these episodes are screamingly obvious, others put forth arguments, even small ones within episodes, that are fairly solid common sense (like the Fung Shui episode, the Armageddon episode,that bit I mentioned earlier about revisionist Nostradamu scholar John Hogue, etc.)

    Nevertheless, the smart viewer should always want to know more.

    (Thanks for those links, by the way Rob. Out of curiosity, I counted the “yes’s” and “no’s” on Appendix C regarding states that have programs to test bottle water. Nineteen do. Thirty-one don’t (I included Washington, which doesn’t know, and Virginia, which hasn’t tested in five years). So while the info in this particular case certainly LEANS towards the BULLSHIT! argument, it obviously doesn’t fully support it.)
     

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