Penn & Teller: Repercussions?

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John LeBlanc
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Re: Penn & Teller: Repercussions?

Postby John LeBlanc » January 25th, 2003, 7:35 am

Originally posted by Steve Bryant:
Yes! The underlying message of Dogma was pro-God, not anti-God. If this so-called arbiter of taste had actually seen the movie and if he had an iota of intelligence, he might have gotten that message. Otherwise he treads on breaking the commandment against bearing false witness. As MANY bible belt religious leaders routinely do against the Harry Potter books, characterizing them as satanic. And indeed as some bible belt religious leaders do against all magicians, period.
As I've said before, the only thing wrong with real Christianity is that so few people have ever really tried it.

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Re: Penn & Teller: Repercussions?

Postby Kendrix » January 25th, 2003, 2:01 pm

Payne; I took my entire office staff to see Andre Kole's show. I explained to them that he had invented many of the illusions that were subsequently used by David Copperfield. Six out of nine people hated the show and felt uncomfortable with his religious overtones. These were folks in their 20's and 30's. He really didn't offend/disturb me. It just reinforced in my mind how much better a performer DC was with the same material.
As far as P&T 's performance at the roast of "AJ", it sounds like a frat. house schtick with very little thought except on how to get undeserved attention.

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Re: Penn & Teller: Repercussions?

Postby Brian Morton » January 25th, 2003, 4:50 pm

And just to note: some reviewers "get" the idea behind the new P&T show...

The Miami Herald's Glenn Garvin on P&T, "Bulls@#%!"

brian :cool:

Guest

Re: Penn & Teller: Repercussions?

Postby Guest » January 25th, 2003, 8:34 pm

First of all, I don't agree or disagree with the idea behind, nor do I endorse or explicitly not endorse P&T's new show. In other words, I understand where they're coming from, and what they want to do. I also disagree with a lot of how they're going about it. So I can't really say that I fall on one side of the line or the other.

That being understood, here is a slightly expanded version of the comments I posted to another forum about the show:

Well, for starters, it didn't expose Van Praagh or Edward. It just said that they were frauds, discussed techniques they might be using, showed Van Praagh's questionable release, and interviewed two guys who make it their life to prove these guys as fraud who made some undocumented claims about what happened at a Van Praagh taping (I won't mention how much the evil part of me would like to see those guys taken to court over the release, which they presumably had to sign to get into the taping). Oh, and a couple people who acknowleged being skeptics said that what Edward said at the seminar they were at was "general". There was no evidence provided, so it was only attempted exposure, they didn't really expose anything on those two.

The only person they actually exposed was Altea, who they caught red-handed. Well, that, and Mark Edward exposed himself, for whatever that's worth.

So, I have mixed feelings. I think they were dead on in busting Altea, who was stupid enough to get caught (although she probably deserves it). The stuff on Edward and Van Praagh didn't prove anything, and I have a big problem with those who make huge claims, particularly of fraudulent activities, but who can't provide the evidence to back it up.

I also don't dig Penn being an expert on how communication with the dead would work if it really existed. Hell, these folks are (supposedly) communicating across from another realm. Some days I can barely understand what my mom's telling me when we're talking over cellphones, and she's only a 4 hour drive away. The folks Edward and Van Praagh claim to talk to are an eternity away; I'd expect things to be a little fuzzy. So the fact that the details don't come through clearly doesn't prove or disprove anything.

We don't know what real communication with the dead is like, if it does exist. Who's to say that the real thing doesn't look similar to what really good fake readers can do?

Also, FWIW, on one of his recent appearances on Larry King Live, John Edward gave a very logical explanation of how he communicates with the dead/how others might (visual, aural, tactile, etc.) and why that may cause things to not make perfect sense all the time. If he is faking, he's definitely got a very well thought out line of BS to back it up.

I don't know that I believe he can really talk to the dead, but I'm also not so presumptious to declare as a fact that he doesn't. I haven't seen solid proof either way. Lots of "he could be" or "I'm certain he is", but very little, "in this tape, you can clearly see him caught in the act of...."

FWIW,
Andy

Guest

Re: Penn & Teller: Repercussions?

Postby Guest » January 25th, 2003, 10:07 pm

Originally posted by Andy Leviss:
I have a big problem with those who make huge claims, particularly of fraudulent activities, but who can't provide the evidence to back it up.
I don't think the answer to the problem, however, lies in giving greater credence to people who claim they can talk to the dead than to people who point out that cold reading -- embellished whenever possible with hot tips (as established when John Hockenberry nailed John Edward on network TV) -- is an age-old tool of shameless flim-flammery.

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Re: Penn & Teller: Repercussions?

Postby John LeBlanc » January 26th, 2003, 8:59 am

Originally posted by Ralph Bonheim:
Originally posted by Andy Leviss:
[b]I have a big problem with those who make huge claims, particularly of fraudulent activities, but who can't provide the evidence to back it up.
I have a big problem with people who have less of a problem with people who claim they can talk to the dead than with people who point out that cold reading -- embellished whenever possible with hot tips (as established when John Hockenberry nailed John Edward on network TV) -- is an age-old tool of shameless flim-flammery.[/b]
Ralph, you cannot save people from their own stupidity or gullibility. You cannot shame people into not believing. You cannot use logic to disprove something that is, at its core, illogical.

Tilting at windmills, however well meaning, is still tilting at windmills.

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David Alexander
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Re: Penn & Teller: Repercussions?

Postby David Alexander » January 26th, 2003, 11:11 am

John LeBlanc wrote:

Ralph, you cannot save people from their own stupidity or gullibility. You cannot shame people into not believing. You cannot use logic to disprove something that is, at its core, illogical.

Tilting at windmills, however well meaning, is still tilting at windmills.
________________
Ah, wisdom floats up from Texas. Well and succinctly said, John.

I have been a Humanist probably as long as Penn Jillette has been out of diapers. I have also been involved in the skeptical community since the early 1980s, on the original board of directors of the Southern California Skeptics. I participated in investigations with James Randi and conducted several of my own. I've written several magazine articles, contributed information to books Randi wrote, helped edit the newsletter of the S.C. Skeptics, and provided advice to Michael Shermer when he started Skeptic magazine. I remain on their editorial board.

Through those years of experience, I learned that public education on subjects examined by skeptics does not happen by ridicule, ad hominem attacks or arguments from authority.

You don't make fools of people, insult them and their institutions and then, graciously, point out in detail where they were stupid, ignorant, or just plain idiotic. That approach doesn't work and never has.

Unfortunately, thoughtful, incisive, intelligent examinations of these subjects with the information presented so that insights can be engendered fall into the definition of "bad television" currently proffered by the 20- and 30-somethings who run broadcasting. Their objective is always to attract a large audience so that advertising time may be sold at a profit. They have no interest in public education, public benefit, public anything except selling beer and detergent and laxatives.

P & T's television incarnation is emblematic of the current crop of "humiliation television," and they are well within their millieu - bluster, flash, endless crapping on the rubes, froth without substance - Penn Jillette is the John McLauchlan of the skeptical community.

Regardless of any other claims, P&T's Showtime offering has only two functions: televison face time for P & T and a continued paycheck. Any claim that it adds to public education or discourse on the subjects they "examine" is nonsense.

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Re: Penn & Teller: Repercussions?

Postby Jon Racherbaumer » January 26th, 2003, 12:00 pm

Well said, David A and John L.

Perhaps others will take note, using these posts as a basic guide and template...although, for the most part, the commentary on this Forum has been elevated above the usual bulletin-board brawling.

Onward...

Guest

Re: Penn & Teller: Repercussions?

Postby Guest » January 26th, 2003, 12:18 pm

David, I very much agree and do not mean to defend P&T's approach. People seeking methodologic rigor should consult CSICOP. I was responding to how Andy attacked P&T's "huge claims" and yet paid great deference to Edwards's and van Praagh's far more extraordinary claims.

Skeptics and humanists are as capable as anyone of being close-minded boors, as Penn Jillette seems intent on proving.

(I have edited my prior post to remove, I hope, any flavor of ad hominem nastiness.)

Guest

Re: Penn & Teller: Repercussions?

Postby Guest » January 26th, 2003, 4:12 pm

(as established when John Hockenberry nailed John Edward on network TV)
I missed this...what happened?

Guest

Re: Penn & Teller: Repercussions?

Postby Guest » January 26th, 2003, 4:13 pm

(as established when John Hockenberry nailed John Edward on network TV)
I missed this...what happened?

Guest

Re: Penn & Teller: Repercussions?

Postby Guest » January 26th, 2003, 5:18 pm

Click here.

It's an article from the November 2001 Skeptical Inquirer. See the section under the heading "Very Hot."

Guest

Re: Penn & Teller: Repercussions?

Postby Guest » January 26th, 2003, 7:29 pm

Well, I did not, my self, see the thing at the Superbowl, but all of the people who I've talke to who have have said it was fine.

Guest

Re: Penn & Teller: Repercussions?

Postby Guest » January 26th, 2003, 9:55 pm

Originally posted by Ralph Bonheim:
David, I very much agree and do not mean to defend P&T's approach. People seeking methodologic rigor should consult CSICOP. I was responding to how Andy attacked P&T's "huge claims" and yet paid great deference to Edwards's and van Praagh's far more extraordinary claims.

Skeptics and humanists are as capable as anyone of being close-minded boors, as Penn Jillette seems intent on proving.

(I have edited my prior post to remove, I hope, any flavor of ad hominem nastiness.)
Well, I didn't see your original post, so I don't know what you said. That aside, I don't see how you misread that from my post, because I thought I made it clear that I don't give credence to either side over the other. In fact, I went out of my way to explicitly state that before I made any specific comment about the show.

I've seen no solid proof that these folks really do talk to the dead, and in the cases I've mentioned, no solid proof that they don't. So, as I said, I won't judge either way.

--A

P.S.-If you really want to get into it, an argument could be made, by believers, that even the red-handed catch of Altea on this show doesn't prove that she can't talk to the dead. It just proves that she took out some insurance in the case of a "big tv appearance", not bothering to think that she might be caught. It's that old "you can't ever prove the certainty of a negative" thing rearing it's head once again.

Again, to make it abundantly clear, I am not saying I feel this way. I am just saying that I could see some making that argument. It's called playing the Devil's advocate :)

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Re: Penn & Teller: Repercussions?

Postby Mark Jensen » January 27th, 2003, 12:03 am

In case you missed it, P&T were on for the Superbowl prediction and gee whiz, got it right on. It was a real pickle. (And for those who may have forgot, DC did the prediction bit for the superbowl last year).

In response to:
4. The leader of the Catholic League was also the guy who announced protests against the movie "Dogma" before it had even been released, much less before anyone actually saw it.

Does this mean that a person should have to experience a creative work before having an opinion of it? Are a consensus of reliable reports not sufficient? I wouldn't have to see "Behind the Green Door" to know that I wouldn't like my kids to see it -- judging something by its reputation or by second-hand reports may not be 100% accurate, but it can be good enough.
I'm sorry, but this is a major peeve of mine. It is one thing to use reviews to determine if you want to go see a movie or purchase a product. (I'm all for using reviews to help you make a decision to read a book or go to a movie).

But to protest a movie or a book that you have not seen or read based solely on other peoples opinions and agendas is about as mindless :confused: as someone can get. This is the same additude that has led to book burnings, etc in the past.

But then, this is just my opinion...

Mark

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Re: Penn & Teller: Repercussions?

Postby Ian Kendall » January 27th, 2003, 3:03 am

Hmmm. It's refreshing to read such an interesting thread.

As children, most of us will have believed in Santa Clause. We believe this because our parents, media and Coke adverts tell us he exists. As the years pile on, however, the wisdom we are aquiring allows us to examine the facts and we see that Santa cannot exist. It's a hard lesson to learn (Daddy lied to me) but it is the price of the loss of ignorance/innocence (delete as desired). Like it or not, we apply our knowledge to the story, and see that the story has to be false. Then, when our children become parents, they get to perpetrate the myth for another generation.

It seems strange to me, then, that people do not apply the same level of logical analysis to religion. How many Christians believe in a benign bearded all knowing being who can be all places at once and rewards good behaviour but punishes bad behaviour, and how many _don't_ belive in Santa?

In the interests of disclosure, I was brought up in a protestant home and was confirmed when I was 13. A couple of years after that I had a conversation with the minister at school to ask some questions I had. When he could not answer any of them I began to examine all religions from a logical perspective and came to an enlightening discovery;

There is no Sanity Clause.

Anyway, I'm sure I've annoyed a few people with this, so I'll shut up now.

Take care, Ian

P.S. If any of the skeptics have missed it so far, I strongly recommend 'Secret Origins of the Bible' from the society.

Guest

Re: Penn & Teller: Repercussions?

Postby Guest » January 27th, 2003, 3:25 am

Andy, I read your post correctly. My point was that extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. The claim that John Edward talks to the dead is far more extraordinary than the claim that he's a fraud.

In that context, in the absence of airtight evidence that Edward does or doesn't speak to the dead, far greater weight should be given to the proposition that he doesn't.

You take pains to be "fair," but in so doing, you indulge in a myth of equivalent plausibility. I don't dispute that P&T engaged in anything more than name-calling (although I haven't seen their show). But in the absence of extraordinary proof, the name-callers have, and deserve, the upper hand.

My original post began in a slightly more curmudgeonly fashion (you can read it as quoted by others).

Guest

Re: Penn & Teller: Repercussions?

Postby Guest » January 27th, 2003, 5:59 am

What's all the concern about alleged psychics talking to the dead?

Hell, anybody can talk to the dead!

The REAL magic would be if the dead talked back!
:D

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Re: Penn & Teller: Repercussions?

Postby Scott » January 27th, 2003, 6:30 am

Santa Clause may have been invented in the USA, but soley in name. My understanding of "Father Christmas" was that he was a real person. St.Nicholas indeed, at a church in York, England. Seems he would take bits of gold and place them in stockings left in windows to dry, hence the creation of the "stocking" concept, along with the "St. Nick". So, Santa Clause is based on a factual person.

Unless of course, I've been douped again! If that's the case, then I suppose there is no Easter Bunny either????!???!?? :confused:

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Re: Penn & Teller: Repercussions?

Postby pduffie » January 27th, 2003, 7:13 am

"extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof"?

I fear Carl Sagan was smoking too much weed when he coined that one. There's no such thing as "extraordinary proof." A claim is either proven or it's not.

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Re: Penn & Teller: Repercussions?

Postby Guest » January 27th, 2003, 8:12 am

Originally posted by Peter Duffie:
"extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof"?

I fear Carl Sagan was smoking too much weed when he coined that one. There's no such thing as "extraordinary proof." A claim is either proven or it's not.
That may be true in mathematics, but elsewhere, such as investigation of claims of the paranormal, the best anyone can hope for is proof beyond reasonable doubt. Larry King's standards of reasonable doubt are not the same as James Randi's.

Feel free to substitute "exceptionally rigorous confirmation" for "extraordinary proof."

(BTW, Carl Sagan was smarter stoned than 99% of the rest of us straight.)

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Re: Penn & Teller: Repercussions?

Postby Lisa Cousins » January 27th, 2003, 9:46 am

One of the effects I recently adapted for seance use is the "Out To Lunch" principle, which was drawn to my attention by David Acer as "Mail Fraud." A spectator addresses a blank postcard to himself and rests his hand on top of it; a spirit is conjured; a message from the spirit is discovered on the postcard. When I presented this, the message from the spirit read:

"It is Love that makes death intolerable."

The minister at my father-in-law's funeral made this statement, and although fifteen years have gone by, I have never forgotten it. My point in selecting it as a "message from a spirit" is that, yes, what we're doing here is having some good, spooky fun - but the underlying impulse that makes human beings yearn for contact with the dead is very clean, very honest, very beautiful, and nothing to be ashamed of at all.

So when I see a guy like Penn shouting the "F" word into the faces of people who strive for this type of communion, I interpret it as a confession that "I have never loved anybody."

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Re: Penn & Teller: Repercussions?

Postby Guest » January 27th, 2003, 9:48 am

Hey now, let's not start giving Randi as an example of fair proof of anything--he certainly seems fairly biased in his conditions to me. He's not a skeptic, he's an adamant non-beleiver, which is an important difference, because it imparts as much bias in one direction as being a confirmed shuteye imparts in the other.

I could be wrong, and would love to be proven so, but I sincerely doubt that he'd ever admit to finding anything psychic even if he did find irrefutable proof.

--Andy, who really is a skeptic in the true meaning of the word

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Re: Penn & Teller: Repercussions?

Postby Guest » January 27th, 2003, 10:32 am

Lisa,

You obviously didn't see P&T's show. Penn went out of his way to empathize with people who missed and loved their dead relatives -- he even mentioned the recent loss of both his mother and his father and his deep abiding love for them. He was railing about the exploitation and debasement of those sentiments by these bulls**ters, that's all.

Guest

Re: Penn & Teller: Repercussions?

Postby Guest » January 27th, 2003, 10:35 am

Originally posted by Lisa Cousins:
So when I see a guy like Penn shouting the "F" word into the faces of people who strive for this type of communion, I interpret it as a confession that "I have never loved anybody."
Lisa, that's a beautiful quote (I mean the love thing).

I haven't seen the show. If Penn shouted obscenities at bereaved people seeking psychic counsel, that's indeed beyond the pale.

If by "people who strive..." you meant John Edward et al., I agree that hurling evidence beats hurling epithets. The article I cite above does the former.

Andy, enjoy your softer standards of evidence with my blessing.

This is veering into territory well covered in former John Edward "love him/hate him" threads.

To return to Paul Cummins's opening comments, the Vegas roast controversy appears to have had no impact on P&T's careers in the real world.

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Re: Penn & Teller: Repercussions?

Postby David Alexander » January 27th, 2003, 1:00 pm

With regard to the comments about Randi's approach to testing (and this is not written in his defense, merely for information).

Simply stated - the scientific method is the best methodology yet developed by humans to understand Natures processes with a high degree of certainty. We who are in the magic biz are well aware that we have the ability to shape the experiences of spectators into seeing what we want them to see, directing them into drawing erroneous conclusions of what they have seen - essentially, the antithesis of the scientific method. If we can cause people to conclude they've seen and experienced something they haven't, so can others for purposes other than entertainment.

A properly designed test eliminates human artifice and measures, tracks, or quantifies the natural process, should one be happening.

If what all the "psychics" are doing is a natural process then it should be demonstrable under test conditions: conditions that eliminate the possibility of human artifice. Unfortunately, experimenters are human beings and often find what theyre hoping to find as Steve Banachek clearly demonstrated all those years ago when he easily fooled a group of scientists who werent rigorous in their experimental protocol. Randi is rigorous in his protocol, thus the structure he uses may look biased when it is not.

It is also way too early to know if Penn and Teller's "performance art" in Las Vegas will hurt them or not. It depends on what others will do...and this is where my disappointment comes in. Absent the "junior high level" of the prank, I thought P & T were smarter than this.

Demanding to say whatever you want to say, whenever you want to say it is fine, but you have to understand there are consequences to one's actions.

It's fine not to care what people think, but to gratuitously give your enemies ammunition to use against you and to give over control of the battle to them, well, I think that's foolish. P&T can do nothing to mitigate the situation. It is up to the Catholic League and anyone else that doesn't like them, what they say, and what they stand for, to carry the battle or not. In the end, it's not a good position to be in.

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Re: Penn & Teller: Repercussions?

Postby Terry » January 27th, 2003, 1:39 pm

QUOTE]I could be wrong, and would love to be proven so, but I sincerely doubt that he'd ever admit to finding anything psychic even if he did find irrefutable proof. [/QUOTE]

Then one could wager that no one would be able to win the award. Even if true psychic ability existed, the "conditions" would constantly change to "disprove" anything.

This so called "testing" seems nothing more than an attempt to continue a mediocre career. Since Randi's "career" has been to copy Houdini, it fits that his last years be as a "debunker" since Houdini's last years were.

One of the fraudulant claims he should investigate is the "escape artist" who was advertised to do Houdini's milk can on several specials, who then manages to develop a bad back and puts it off onto someone else. Bad back or is it just a case no guts.

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Re: Penn & Teller: Repercussions?

Postby Brad Jeffers » January 27th, 2003, 1:49 pm

All I know, is that the P&T stunt can only have negative repercussions ... negative repercussions that may not be directly evident to us, or even to P&T themselves, but which may be there nontheless. It's the type of thing that can only do harm. I can think of nothing positive that this could evoke. Now to the subject of John Edwards ... this guy makes me sick! Although there is no way to prove his fraudulence, I know what he's doing - most of this forum knows what he's doing - and he knows what he's is doing! There should be laws against this sort of thing ... and aren't there?! Didn't Houdini testify before Congress about this very thing, in order that laws might be passed to prevent people from being taken by the likes of Edwards. Might there be an obscure law on the books, that could be used to prevent this sort of thing? Any lawyers out there with the answer?

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Re: Penn & Teller: Repercussions?

Postby Guest » January 27th, 2003, 3:19 pm

This so called "testing" seems nothing more than an attempt to continue a mediocre career. Since Randi's "career" has been to copy Houdini, it fits that his last years be as a "debunker" since Houdini's last years were.
This sounds like it belongs in that thread over in "Buzz" about why there's so much back-biting among magicians.

I wouldn't say Randi is copying Houdini so much as continuing a tradition of debunkery, which remains one of the most valuable services magicians can offer society. I applaud his longtime hounding of Uri Geller. (The fact that Geller is still at it is a sad and telling testament to the resilience of hoo-hah.)

Yes, I have issues with Randi's sometimes reflexively dismissive style (I have even bigger issues with his politics). But there's so much crap in need of cutting in this world; we need more, not fewer, people on the case. Remember Philippine "psychic surgeons"?

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Re: Penn & Teller: Repercussions?

Postby MaxNY » January 27th, 2003, 7:46 pm

Penn and Teller's repercussions? It's not clear to me, (or to those being "entertained") that Teller was even present. The career of a Dynamic Duo must exist with some form of balance. If he wasn't there, do you think Teller's steamed? Jeopardizing their careers?
---Just how far can the big guy go, before the little balding family man talks! I've heard of silent partners before, but this...That would be great if Teller suddenly went on the gossip shows and started "Tellering All". Who knows, their relationship might just have more secrets than Sig & Cig.
---I bet that Penn's most serious repercussions came from the silent majority.

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Re: Penn & Teller: Repercussions?

Postby Dustin Stinett » January 27th, 2003, 8:34 pm

Originally posted by Ralph Bonheim:
If Penn shouted obscenities at bereaved people seeking psychic counsel, that's indeed beyond the pale.
This thread's lines are blurring between this and its counterpart on the show itself. However, I feel it's extremely important to point out here that what Ralph said was not the case at all. All the colorful epithets were directed at the so-called "mediums." For those who have not seen the show, it is very important that the context of Penn's language be clarified:

P&T's logic for using the foul language is that if they called cheats, liars and frauds "cheats, liars and frauds," they open themselves to litigation. However, according to their logic, simply calling them "MF's" and the like precludes that possibility. Given the legal department available to them through ShowTime, it's probably true.

Dustin

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Re: Penn & Teller: Repercussions?

Postby Pete Biro » January 27th, 2003, 10:30 pm

I don't care who it is there is NO NEED to use the "F-Word" on television. It is shock humor at its worst, and a more thoughtful person would surely come up with a better word that more rightly makes the point. :mad: :mad: :mad:
Stay tooned.

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Re: Penn & Teller: Repercussions?

Postby David Alexander » January 27th, 2003, 11:50 pm

Terry Terrell wrote:
One of the fraudulant claims he [Randi] should investigate is the "escape artist" who was advertised to do Houdini's milk can on several specials, who then manages to develop a bad back and puts it off onto someone else. Bad back or is it just a case no guts.

------------------

Well, I know more than a little about this episode and I will speak directly from experience.

My wife and I walked into the lobby of the Orpheum Theater in downtown Los Angeles to be part of the audience for the taping of a special that Randi had helped put together. Steve Banachek was doing a Buried Alive stunt at a remote location, Dean Gunnerson was doing something on stage, there would be a sance, a number of noted performers were working two hours of live to tape hosted by Bill Shatner. I found Randi in his wet suit laying on a gurney, attended by paramedics. He didnt look to be in good shape.

He told me that during the rehearsal of the Milk Can Escape he heard several pops in his back and felt a searing pain. (If you are privy to how the trick works, youll know how easily his back could be injured.) He was waiting until closer to air time and he was going have himself transported to the closest emergency room where he would have several injections of Novocain in his back so he could perform the trick.

A close friend was assisting Randi and I asked him to step away while I talked to Jim privately. I told him I thought he was out of his mind if that was his plan. I was insistent and really leaned on him, saying it was just an Fing television program, not worth the risk. Did he have the check? Yes! Well then, screw them if they want you to perform. Its not worth the risk. I pushed hard.

Fortunately, he listened to reason and had his assistant take Dean Gunnerson back stage to show him how to do the trick. Dean had about 90 minutes to work it up and he performed it flawlessly. Randi was brought on stage at the end on the gurney, which caused something of a stir and some unfounded speculation.

The next day Randi was diagnosed with two or three cracked vertebrae, fitted with a back brace and given specific orders about what he could and couldnt do. He stayed with us for a few days until he felt like traveling. He later sent his Milk Can Escape, something hed performed many times, to Dean, saying hed earned it.

That was my experience that day with Randiand I dont recall seeing Terry Terrell anywhere.

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Dustin Stinett
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Re: Penn & Teller: Repercussions?

Postby Dustin Stinett » January 28th, 2003, 12:16 am

Originally posted by Pete Biro:
I don't care who it is there is NO NEED to use the "F-Word" on television.
Pete,

I find it interesting that you singled out television as being an inappropriate venue for use of the 'F' word. It leaves room for the question: "Is there a time or place when you feel it is appropriate?" For example, the dramatic stage or film or the comedic stage or film--are any of these appropriate? If any of these could have even a brief moment of suitability, then logic will lead us to the next question: "When these moments find their way to the television, do we censor them even if doing so may have a significant impact on the subject matter?" On the other hand, if the word is never appropriate, do we stop at the 'F' word?

I love words: even the worst of them. It's my dream to one day have the talent to actually put them together in a cognitive manner. In the mean time I will stumble along this path and pray that none are taken away from me--I want them all available when I find my dream.

I cannot think of a single word in the English language that could never have at least one appropriate moment in some place and time. Even the vilest (usually racially charged) words have a time and place. It's all in the context. In my opinion, that word--context--should be the primary factor for determining the suitability of a word.

For my tastes, foul language works only when it is given a logical context. For example, George Carlin generally puts it in a context that makes sense (his infamous "list" and words with double meanings). Eddie Murphy uses it primarily for shock value, which is why, I believe, he is actually much funnier when he works clean. For dramatic purposes, few words have the power to evoke anger like this particular word does. It was made clear at the outset of P&T's show that this was the context in which Penn would be using the word. He wanted the strongest word imaginable to convey the complete contempt he feels for people who take advantage of vulnerable individuals for monetary gain. Did he overuse it? I think so: so much so that it actually started working against him--he took the edge off the word. But is there a more vile word to describe these people with the appropriate amount of vehemence? I guess I'm not thoughtful enough, because one hasn't come to my mind.

Dustin

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Re: Penn & Teller: Repercussions?

Postby Guest » January 28th, 2003, 12:18 am

Originally posted by Dustin Stinett:
Originally posted by Ralph Bonheim:
[b]If Penn shouted obscenities at bereaved people seeking psychic counsel, that's indeed beyond the pale.
This thread's lines are blurring between this and its counterpart on the show itself. However, I feel it's extremely important to point out here that what Ralph said was not the case at all. All the colorful epithets were directed at the so-called "mediums."[/b]
Glad to know it; I was trying to understand who Lisa was referring to as "people striving to achieve such communion [with the dead]."

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Re: Penn & Teller: Repercussions?

Postby Guest » January 28th, 2003, 4:43 am

Dustin Stinett replies to Pete Biro: "I find it interesting that you (Biro) singled out television as being an inappropriate venue for use of the 'F' word. It leaves room for the question: Is there a time or place when you feel it is appropriate?"

Without putting words in Pete Biro's mouth, I would say "possibly".

For example, a stage play, a movie, or a live performance by George Carlin might present an appropriate set of circumstances.

Each of those venues requires that the audience go to them. Television, on the other hand, comes into your home, often uninvited, and often leaving the viewers with no opportunity to know in advance what they will get.

In that way, television is a unique medium.

There are many things that will not work on TV that will work elsewhere. And vice versa.

So "possibly" may be one answer, assuming there is ANY answer.

cheers,
Peter Marucci
showtimecol@aol.com

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Re: Penn & Teller: Repercussions?

Postby Guest » January 28th, 2003, 6:42 am

Peter Biro wrote:
I don't care who it is there is NO NEED to use the
"F-Word" on television. It is shock humor at its worst,
and a more thoughtful person would surely come up
with a better word that more rightly makes the point
-----------------------
I agree with Mr. Biro. However, I would say that the F word has its use. For example, when I hear anyone use it for ANY purpose other than describing an act of biological release I sense a limited vocabulary. Since all thinking other than that concerned with animal functions such as eating, sleeping, reproducing, and elimination relies on vocabulary, I further conclude that this limited-vocabulary individual is capable of minimal thinking capabilities. In which case he is not worth my attention. Am I a snob? Absolutely.

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Re: Penn & Teller: Repercussions?

Postby Guest » January 28th, 2003, 8:57 am

Pete Biro wrote:
I don't care who it is there is NO NEED to use the "F-Word" on television. It is shock humor at its worst, and a more thoughtful person would surely come up with a better word that more rightly makes the point.
Yes! How dare people denigrate that highest artistic medium. By the way, does anyone know when Joe Millionare is on?

Peter Marucci wrote:
Each of those venues requires that the audience go to them. Television, on the other hand, comes into your home, often uninvited, and often leaving the viewers with no opportunity to know in advance what they will get.
The television must be purchased, transported from store to home, unpacked, plugged in, hooked up, and turned on in order to come into your home. There's nothing passive or uninvited about the way that you end up watching T.V.

As far as advanced warning about the content of T.V. shows - it's illustrative of the sad state of society's tastes that television shows receive way more attention, reviews, previews, and commercials than any other artistic medium today. You have ample opportunity to educate yourself, in advance, about any show you could possibly watch on T.V.

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Re: Penn & Teller: Repercussions?

Postby Guest » January 28th, 2003, 9:57 am

Originally posted by Dustin Stinett:
[...]For my tastes, foul language works only when it is given a logical context. For example, George Carlin generally puts it in a context that makes sense (his infamous "list" and words with double meanings[...][/QB]
Yes, George Carlin's infamous list... which is a bit he stole... er, borrowed from the late Lenny Bruce.

(just thought I would contribute to the continuing digression of this thread)

Regards,
Thomas Wayne

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Pete Biro
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Re: Penn & Teller: Repercussions?

Postby Pete Biro » January 28th, 2003, 10:01 am

Briefly...

The TV set is on. The adult in the family likes magic and sees "Magicians P&T on..."

He is watching it, the kids walk in and start to watch...

Live Comedy Club (no kids allowed)

Live Theater with Carlin, etc., you know what to expect and you don't bring the kids.

Sadly... went to see Kangaroo Jack, took about 8 mentally retarded kids... what did the laugh the loudest at?

Camel's passing gas! :eek:

What do us old parents know?

Nuttin' honey! :p
Stay tooned.


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