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Penn & Teller: Bullshjt! - 2/21/03

Old 02-21-03, 11:27 PM
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Penn & Teller: Bullshjt! - 2/21/03

Another drop-down funny episode. I liked the baby thing more than the second-hand smoke thing. While they definitely have a point with a lack of proof that second-hand smoke will definitively cause lung cancer, I believe it's reasonable to expect that breathing such chemicals on a regular basis does increase many health risks over a lifetime. But even if that's 100% inaccurate, they didn't really address the nuisance level. I liked the intro joke with the music annoyance, but they didn't touch on that further. Second-hand smoke isn't just a mild annoyance but a lasting nuisance as the smell remains in your hair and clothes and in my case is a severe irritant to the eyes and causes a fairly intense allergic reaction. I can certainly see the point against legislating behavior, but aren't there noise pollution laws? And I question the difference between blowing smoke in someone's face and urinating on him. If I walk up to someone and urinate on him in a public restaurant, will he get lung cancer? Nope. Should I therefore be allowed to do it whenever I like? Whether you agree or disagree, my point is that I think these are valid questions, and I wish they would have taken a full episode to address more than the simple lung cancer debate.

The baby stuff was pretty funny, but I find the best parts of the show are the short bits with Penn & Teller, particularly when they're clearly mocking the bullshjtters they're exposing on the show. I love their comedy, but I don't feel like they've done as good a job "exposing" people as they did in the premiere episode. Still, I love what they're trying to do and find it immensely entertaining. I just hope they can find enough topics to keep the show going strong. Considering how full of crap most people are, I'm sure it won't be too hard.

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Old 02-22-03, 12:16 AM
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What was the baby thing? And can anyone recap the end of the world episode? I wish I got Showtime

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Old 02-22-03, 01:10 AM
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The second half of tonight's episode was dedicated to products that make your baby smarter. They had some silly word-recognition video that allegedly taught kids to read from an early age and debunked the Mozart effect of playing classical music at an early age to increase intelligence by interviewing the man who actually conducted the original experiments who claimed that a) they were conducted on adults and b) if any effect could actually be argued (difficult at best), it was absurdly temporary (15 minutes). They also concocted a fake baby method called Triangle something and suggested teaching your child to burp by burping in front of him and helping to "understand" your child by wearing a diaper yourself while in his presence.

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Old 02-22-03, 11:10 PM
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Just watched this for the first time. As a smoker living in Florida which just recently had the no smoking in restaurants and bars law passed (goes into effect in June, although some places have already done away with the smoking section), it really hit home. I absolutely loved it.

The second part about the parenting thing was hillarious as well. I don't have any kids of my own, but have been around so many in my lifetime (between nieces and nephews, and for many years my mother was a nanny), it blows my mind how freaking clueless some people are when it comes to simply caring for a child.
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Old 02-22-03, 11:20 PM
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Yeah, I liked the message they gave about having kids. Love them, read to them, and care for them. Oh, and teach them to dislocate their shoulder to get out of a straight-jacket.

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Old 02-23-03, 01:04 AM
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I found the second hand smoking bit quite disingenuous, for precisely the reasons das cited. Whether or not you can link second hand smoke to the big C is irrelevant... it is to many people, myself included, an extreme irritant. Would I be allowed to walk around a public place with a burning tree limb or an incense wand? Doubtful. This was by far the weakest of the Bullshiznit!s so far, but I'm still keeping my DirecTivo Season Pass.
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Old 02-23-03, 01:14 AM
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You know it would be pretty funny to bring a very large burning tree limb with you to a bar and shake the ash into a tray. In fact, I've oft supported the concept of "Vanity Smoking." Since coworkers seem to have free reign of wasting work time smoking, (this isn't everywhere, of course, but where I work, it's a big problem) I want to take up Vanity Smoking. I'd like to take a large object, a tree limb, a rubber tire, an American flag (I would never do this even to make a point), whatever and stand 6 inches outside the main entrance and fan the irritating fumes into the faces of passersby and into the lobby of the building as the door open and I refuse to move a reasonable distance from the doors. I think I'd also urinate on them when I felt like it and maybe take a dump on the sidewalk next to the cigarette butts.

Ah ... if only I didn't care about keeping my job.

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Old 02-23-03, 01:24 AM
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Originally posted by Numanoid
I found the second hand smoking bit quite disingenuous, for precisely the reasons das cited. Whether or not you can link second hand smoke to the big C is irrelevant... it is to many people, myself included, an extreme irritant. Would I be allowed to walk around a public place with a burning tree limb or an incense wand? Doubtful. This was by far the weakest of the Bullshiznit!s so far, but I'm still keeping my DirecTivo Season Pass.


The key word is public. If I own a bar, why shouldn't I be allowed to say that smoking is or isn't allowed?
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Old 02-23-03, 01:57 AM
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I agree that in private places, go ahead, allow smoking if you'd like. It's just really annoying when I'm waiting at the bus stop and someone lights up. I don't care so much about the health risk, since I'd be inhaling so little, but it is annoying, and I hate the smell. It would be like me going into an elevator and passing gas.
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Old 02-23-03, 10:47 AM
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Re: Penn & Teller: Bullshjt! - 2/21/03

Originally posted by das Monkey
Another drop-down funny episode. I liked the baby thing more than the second-hand smoke thing. While they definitely have a point with a lack of proof that second-hand smoke will definitively cause lung cancer, I believe it's reasonable to expect that breathing such chemicals on a regular basis does increase many health risks over a lifetime. But even if that's 100% inaccurate, they didn't really address the nuisance level. I liked the intro joke with the music annoyance, but they didn't touch on that further. Second-hand smoke isn't just a mild annoyance but a lasting nuisance as the smell remains in your hair and clothes and in my case is a severe irritant to the eyes and causes a fairly intense allergic reaction. I can certainly see the point against legislating behavior, but aren't there noise pollution laws? And I question the difference between blowing smoke in someone's face and urinating on him. If I walk up to someone and urinate on him in a public restaurant, will he get lung cancer? Nope. Should I therefore be allowed to do it whenever I like? Whether you agree or disagree, my point is that I think these are valid questions, and I wish they would have taken a full episode to address more than the simple lung cancer debate.
...
das
I'm waiting to see a bar or restaurant where the owner says, "Come on in, we allow our patrons to urinate on each other, with or without their permission." ( ) Obviously, you cannot walk into a restaurant and urinate on someone. And just as obviously, owners would not allow it in their establishments. It's not a policy they have to post or publicize because it's not something people normally do. But if an owner wanted to have an establishment where people could do this, it would be his or her right. No one would be forced to patronize the place.

The analogy with noise pollution doesn't work because in that case it is people being subjected to a nuisance against their will. In a club, for example, the noise can be as loud as the owner wants as long as it doesn't spill out of the club. Those who do not want to hear noise at that level need only stay away.

I thought this was one of their best segments because it addressed both the science and the freedom issue and was not really as easy a target as those they have taken on up to now. Also, while I love seeing them attack the paranormal/supernatural stuff, I'm delighted to see them branching out into other areas of bull****. Maybe we'll even see them taking on "human caused" global warming some day.

And just for the record, I am a lifetime nonsmoker who is highly annoyed by the smell and other physically irritating aspects of tobacco smoke. But like Penn & Teller, I care about freedom and I know it's not my right to force others to conform to my personal preferences.

I'll add a plug for Elizabeth Whelan (who appeared on the show) and her American Council on Science and Health (ACSH). This is a great organization that separates real science from bull**** all the time and is under constant attack from the health nazis and environmentalists.

American Council on Science and Health

Last edited by movielib; 02-23-03 at 11:45 AM.
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Old 02-23-03, 10:55 AM
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Originally posted by Numanoid
Whether or not you can link second hand smoke to the big C is irrelevant...
Actually its just about the exact opposite of irrelevant. It's the only reason these bans can pass or even come up for a vote. The whole legal reason legistlators can make these laws is because they claim that second hand smoke is hurtful to the workers in the establishments. Thats why the 'pro-banning' guy hardly ever argued the nuiscance factor. He always focused on the health factor.

The real reason these laws are coming up is because its popular. Most people don't smoke or own restaurants and would rather not have to deal with smoke when they go out.

I agree with P&T, second hand smoke hasn't really been proven to be a cancer causer (I think there are other studies that indicate kids that grow up in smoking households have more of a likliehood of having asthma though). That being said I'll always support these laws. It simply makes dining out and drinking that much more enjoyable for me. Its not fair, but lifes not fair in lots of ways.
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Old 02-23-03, 11:09 AM
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Originally posted by CharlesC
...
That being said I'll always support these laws. It simply makes dining out and drinking that much more enjoyable for me. Its not fair, but lifes not fair in lots of ways.
There's a difference between life not being fair because that's just the way of things and life not being fair because someone is violating the rights of other people. That is why I'll always oppose these laws.

Not to mention that in supporting these laws you are extending an engraved invitation to others to violate your rights when they feel it is beneficial to them. All they have to say is, "Hey, life's not fair" since you've forfeited any principled argument you may have had.

The fact that so many people are willing to use the law as a club with which to violate the rights of others for their own perceived benefit (and thus forfeit their right to use any principled argument to the contrary when it is done to them) is one of the reasons there's a neverending assault on individual rights in America today.

Last edited by movielib; 02-23-03 at 06:29 PM.
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Old 02-23-03, 03:10 PM
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Just for clarification, I'm not advocating the legistlation of behavior; I just wanted them to take a full episode and address the very things we're discussing in this thread. They could have easily filled an entire episode with anti-smoking related discussion.

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Old 02-23-03, 05:06 PM
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Originally posted by das Monkey
Just for clarification, I'm not advocating the legistlation of behavior; I just wanted them to take a full episode and address the very things we're discussing in this thread. They could have easily filled an entire episode with anti-smoking related discussion.

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While I think they did a very good job in 15 minutes, I agree they could have done better if they had used the whole episode.
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Old 02-23-03, 08:41 PM
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Originally posted by movielib
...because someone is violating the rights of other people. That is why I'll always oppose these laws.
That's the part that irritates me the most about this debate..."Smoker's Rights". Where is it written in the constitution that you have a right to smoke? There is NO SUCH RIGHT. There is, however, a right to bear arms in the Constitution. Yet, we have laws saying you can't just bring a firearm into a bar or restaurant. Hmmmm.

Since a bar/restaruant is a privately owned business, they should have the right to allow what they want, you argue. Well, can they open an opium den? How about a "Pot Smoker's Bar"? No? Why? I know. Because those things are illegal. And if a law is passed that says "No smoking" in such places, well, then that would be illegal too. Then where has your argument gone?

(Why do I feel like I'm talking to myself )
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Old 02-23-03, 09:31 PM
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Originally posted by Numanoid
That's the part that irritates me the most about this debate..."Smoker's Rights". Where is it written in the constitution that you have a right to smoke? There is NO SUCH RIGHT. There is, however, a right to bear arms in the Constitution. Yet, we have laws saying you can't just bring a firearm into a bar or restaurant. Hmmmm.

Since a bar/restaruant is a privately owned business, they should have the right to allow what they want, you argue. Well, can they open an opium den? How about a "Pot Smoker's Bar"? No? Why? I know. Because those things are illegal. And if a law is passed that says "No smoking" in such places, well, then that would be illegal too. Then where has your argument gone?

(Why do I feel like I'm talking to myself )
Yes, they do have the right to have an opium den or a pot smokers' bar because people have the right to live as they want as long as they do not interfere with the identical right of others to live as they want. To make such things illegal is to violate the rights of many people and to invite others to violate your rights (see my posts, above, especially my response to CharlesC).

Your argument does nothing to mine because my idea of what is permissable or not is rights-based and not based on whatever laws are passed according to whatever the whims of certain people are. Obviously you don't agree with that. So it's not so much that you are talking to yourself but that I (and people like me) and you (and people like you) are arguing past each other. We have different bases for our arguments.

And that will not change unless one of us changes our basis.
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Old 02-24-03, 11:31 AM
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Originally posted by movielib
There's a difference between life not being fair because that's just the way of things and life not being fair because someone is violating the rights of other people. That is why I'll always oppose these laws.
I respect your commitment to your values (morals?).


Not to mention that in supporting these laws you are extending an engraved invitation to others to violate your rights when they feel it is beneficial to them. All they have to say is, "Hey, life's not fair" since you've forfeited any principled argument you may have had.
I'm not a big fan of 'slippery slope' arguments. Its something I think Libetarians (and a lot of other groups too, to be fair) rely on far too often. The world is not black and white and taking away the smoking rights of a bar owner does not equate to taking away any of the other far more important rights that we enjoy as Americans. Before you respond, I know that you totally and completely disagree.


The fact that so many people are willing to use the law as a club with which to violate the rights of others for their own perceived benefit (and thus forfeit their right to use any principled argument to the contrary when it is done to them) is one of the reasons there's a neverending assault on individual rights in America today.
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Old 02-24-03, 11:40 AM
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Since this isn't the forum for political discussion, I'll just stick to namecalling. Absent any medical excuse, all you "annoyed" people can go to blazes. I think you're ugly, and I can't eat while looking at ugly people. Watch out, or I'll piss on you.
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Old 02-24-03, 12:02 PM
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It appears that the problem isn't as much that there's no medical justification, but that the justifcation has been blown out or proportion. I would be shocked (it's an OUTRAGE) if breathing second-hand smoke weren't an unreasonable health risk. Still, I'm not particularly in favor of building legislation around assumptions.

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Old 02-24-03, 12:09 PM
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Man, there's more urinating on people going on in here then in a typical episode of "The Shield"!
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Old 02-24-03, 12:37 PM
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Originally posted by CharlesC
I respect your commitment to your values (morals?).
Thanks.



I'm not a big fan of 'slippery slope' arguments. Its something I think Libetarians (and a lot of other groups too, to be fair) rely on far too often. The world is not black and white and taking away the smoking rights of a bar owner does not equate to taking away any of the other far more important rights that we enjoy as Americans. Before you respond, I know that you totally and completely disagree.
All I'd do is ask you to watch when people want to ban something or prevent people from doing something that doesn't violate anyone's rights.

You will always hear them say, well we ban A so why can't we ban B? We don't let people do A, why can't we stop them from doing B?

We're already near the bottom of that slope.

BTW, I agree that the right of the bar owner to have a smoking establishment is hardly the most important right in the world. But if one is going to be consistent and principled, it is certainly not trivial.

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Old 02-24-03, 12:42 PM
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I wonder if this will turn into a discussion between rights vs. privileges.

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Old 02-24-03, 02:15 PM
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I'm hoping they tackle brain cancer in cell phones and the devices you can buy to "prevent" it in a future episode.
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Old 02-24-03, 04:11 PM
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Originally posted by Aghama
I'm hoping they tackle brain cancer in cell phones and the devices you can buy to "prevent" it in a future episode.
That's a good idea. In fact, they could do a whole series on infomercial products, as well. You know, buy one of everything from the Popeil product line, and demonstrate how it REALLY works. That would be good fun. I can only begin to imagine the names they would come up with for poor Ron.
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