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Penn and Teller are Bullshit! - Really long posts about nothing.

Apr. 17th, 2011

01:15 pm - Penn and Teller are Bullshit!

I've been a fan of Penn and Teller for a while, although more and more I've been unimpressed by them because they tend to use the misdirection and rhetoric that politicians use. Normally there were a few things I would disagree with in an episode, but I would still enjoy it overall, but the ratio has been getting worse and worse.

I caught the Penn and Teller Bullshit! episode on Martial Arts. The whole premise was that it's much cheaper to just hand over your wallet then spend a number of years and thousands of dollars on colored belts.

Now it is true that Martial Art schools are money-generating ventures, and that the crap of breaking multiple boards or cinder blocks is just publicity hounding, but aside from that, I was disagreeing with more than I agreed with. I sort of want to dissect this in detail, but I've got too much to do, no time to blog.

I suppose the biggest thing that got me is when they were going on about how you never read stories about how a black belt stopped a mugging, or a rape, or high school bullying. The reality is that people who can defend themselves, don't end up in the news because opportunists pick easier targets. And I've certainly heard of problems being stopped by people who have the knowledge to kick ass, which gives them the self-confidence to step in and de-escalate problems. There are entire career fields based on this.

And then there was the way that Penn talked down people who were willing to mop floors at their school for free, because we pay them AND serve them. But he also mentioned that people could use all the martial art knowledge for evil as well, the Cobra Kai dojo was mentioned. I don't hear about people robbing banks with their BlackBelts either, because a big part of any martial group I've been with is a moral compass or a belief in something greater than oneself. Whether it was school sports (Wrestling is considered a martial art) or Karate, or the Military... part of the training also includes forms of indoctrination about how we only use such training when we need to. And it's always about being the 'good guy' and giving back to the community.

Granted, the weird Chi lady that they had was certainly a "people of Walmart" type kook, but having seen how they trashed martial arts, I'm not so sure that SHE was as cooky as they made her out to be.


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Date:April 17th, 2011 09:45 pm (UTC)
I will admit that in America, it is much more about the ability to fight or win. Heck, I like that I move better, fit in my pants better, and there is certainly mild bragging rights if one does achieve Black Belt. Although as soon as one stops hitting the school, a lot of that starts to slip away.

I was also thinking that I've wasted more than one evening perusing through youtube or liveleak links watching some random jackass get roundhouse'd in the head by an alert student reacting to active jackassery. So I'm not sure why the rather resourceful Penn and Teller couldn't find such incidents, other than the simple fact that it went against the trash-talking they were doing.
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