I will be the first to admit that the comedy/magician act known as Penn & Teller is one of my favorites. These guys are hilarious and brilliant illusionists who never fail to wow the crowd with some pretty amazing feats of legerdemain. They are also a popular staple on YouTube, where you can find videos of their long-running and immensely popular Showtime program titled “Penn & Teller: Bullshit!“
In the series, Penn & Teller
…aim to debunk pseudoscientific ideas, paranormal beliefs, and popular fads and misconceptions, often from a libertarian point of view, the political philosophy espoused by both Penn and Teller. The show criticizes proponents of what they perceive as nonsense and dishonesty, often citing ulterior political or financial motives. The stated aim of the show is to apply critical thinking to misconceptions. As indicated by the show’s title, the program adheres to Penn & Teller’s characteristically blunt, aggressive presentation.
I received an interesting e-mail from a reader who is a fan of the series and wrote:
Peace, love, and money stolen from the poor. I have no time constraints (so take all the years required to watch 3 youtube videos). Ghandi, Mother Theresa, and the Dahli Lama. Two don’t follow Jesus (and have shady pasts) – one seems to have a shady past (Jesus). You’re obviously better than them, yeah? How do your fans feel about these figures?
So I watched the videos. I can’t speak for my “fans,” but in my humble opinion Penn seems awfully angry. However, I do agree with him about the salvific power of jazz.
As for shady pasts, who doesn’t have one? Just ask the Apostle Paul. As for future beatitude, only God knows so there isn’t much point in speculating.
I do know this much: there is no report that Mother Theresa, Mohandas Gandhi or the Dalai Lama ever cut off anyone’s head, hijacked an airliner and flown it into a skyscraper or stoned gays and adulterers.
I am rather thankful P&T spared Jesus of Nazareth the brunt of their scorn. Oh wait…they didn’t.
Then again, I did get a chuckle out of Amazing Jonathan’s quote at the end of the article:
“This was performance art,’ said Jonathan. “I know that Penn is a practicing atheist, and I agree with him that Christianity can be dangerous. Look at the Trade Center. That was done in the name of religion.”
It was done in the name of religion, alright…Islam – which former President Bush constantly assured us is “the religion of peace.”
Curiously enough, for all their devotion to exposing bullshit as bullshit, to my knowledge Penn & Teller have yet to do a hit piece on either Mohammed or Islam.
Penn explains: “…we haven’t tackled Islam because we have families.”
Now it’s my turn: Penn & Teller are full of hypocritical BULLSHIT.