Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I almost forgot - Randi and Penn and Teller

I'm experiencing a Sinus Malfunction at the moment, so instead of writing something clever about my having taken over the Corrigendopedia, I began watching these videos I was going to post last month.

One thing led to another, and I've finally finished the post!

So, comedian/magician/skeptic duo, Penn and Teller are at The Amazing Meeting 3 with James 'The Amazing' Randi! (Hey, an exclamation point. Could I be excited?"
` Penn says that their skeptic show Bullshit "really springs from the heart and the energy from Randi, and we're just the vessels that carry it on".

Right. That must be the reason why they have proceeded to play a hilarious little trick on him. Randi is stumped in front of the world at last!

Poor Randi.

So, now we move onto the Q & A: Penn relates the story of pitching the idea of
Bullshit, with unfortunate timing after the terrorist attacks, telling those who are in charge to remember that when the psychic-charlatan John Edward was "pissing and dancing" on the graves of the 9/11 attack victims to cash in on people's grief, the world will be needing a show like Bullshit.
` They received several phone calls when John Edward indeed made this claim.

Here is even something I've always wondered about; why do they use the word 'Bullshit'? Because it sounds like an insult rather than a rational argument.
` "Who among us," Penn says, "can go to court to prove that you're not an asshole?"

From the small world of Shotime viewers at least, most of the letters were overwhelmingly positive, often starting with; 'I'm an atheist, thanks for not insulting my intelligence'.
` Wow! A percentage of the population really loved them! A new minority demographic, perhaps somewhat like when TV producers realized there were more than just white people?

Also, Teller talks about his experience recording (yes, recording) his part in The Simpsons. Yes, it really was him. But he really does love being thought of as silent!

Also mentioned is the fact that lot of Penn and Teller's crew seem to be doing penance for working on supernatural shows. Now when they interview the same people they had before, the footage is edited a bit differently!

The fourth video is missing! But, the fifth video is partly about why doing a Scientology episode might not be a good idea.
` Also, we are informed, some of the episodes are silly and mostly for fun because it helps them make money to do higher-quality episodes.

Penn explains his belief that it is the liberal religious people who set the framework for the nuts to be able to take religion literally. He is also troubled that the word 'fundamentalist' makes it okay to make fun of religious people and southern culture.

What is religion? A Unitarian Universalist in the audience speaks up and proceeds to discuss the 'sloppification' of the word religion. Penn makes some clarifications.

Does Penn prefer to preach to the choir? No. He explains it this way: "I believe that your job in the world is to tell the truth as you see it and if you start thinking that you can manipulate other people and speak to them in their terms, that always gets close to condescension, to me."

Teller notes that he has seen so many people who had become fans of the dignified skeptical movement after being introduced to it by him and Penn!

Penn may not have any superstitious belief, but surely he has political beliefs? Indeed.... "I believe that people are basically good, I believe the idea of personal property... how I make my political beliefs is very hard to lay out. ... My chances of being wrong about politics are so much higher than my chance being wrong about religion, and I was probably wrong about that, and I was wrong about secondhand smoke...."

And that's just a snippetto of that.

Ahhhh... it has come time for me to hit the hay. I must say, that was so much nicer than continuing to fry my brain.
` Actually, I would have done all this hours ago, but Lou Ryan was using this computer to watch a movie, so I went to make some tea, but there was no sugar, so I drove to the store to buy some... you get the idea.

Now it's time for bed! Good night, everyone! Hopefully my home-made sinus remedy works. If not, I may have to deal with a lovely blue nasal discharge for some time....

1 comment:

Kingcover said...

I'm going to have to view these vids tomorrow and write a better informed response to your post other than the semi nonsensical one that I am currently typing. As Arnold once said - "I'll be back!" .....