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Thursday, May 11, 2006

Broadcasting Bulls**t

One of the great tragedies, in my mind, of the CRTC’s protectionist broadcasting rules, which keep U.S. networks out of the country, is the inability for Canadians to legally subscribe to Showtime (not to mention HBO, Trio, and several dozen other superlative channels) and therefore miss out one one of my alltime favourite shows, Penn and Teller’s “Bulls**t.” (Some of you may not even be able to click through to Showtime’s website, which I’ve found in the past actually blocks Canadians using certain ISPs).

Over the years, I’ve watched with delight  (there are ways to get it on the net, if you're savvy) as the two illusionists (who are staunch libertarians) exposed all the BS behind second-hand smoke risks, the environmental movement, PETA, safety fascists, recycling and the war on drugs. As the title suggests, and because it’s on cable, the show is filled with expletives, so sensitive ears should avoid it. Penn Jillette is so unabashed about his disdain for certain interviewees, calling them the most insulting names, that part of the fun is just trying to figure out how the producers get anyone to agree to cooperate anymore. Still, they manage it, and the research and analysis is better than what you’ll find on most news-magazine shows. (Between you and me, I’ll admit the show was my inspiration for the “Say it Ain’t So” section of the Western Standard, when we were creating the magazine back in 2003).

Last week, the Penn and Teller took on the BS behind the delays at Ground Zero, and why what is arguably now America’s most meaningful memorial is still nothing but a big hole in the ground: a great look at political and bureaucratic stupidity. Now, thanks to occasional Shotgunner, Damian Penney, you can get a glimpse of a segment from an earlier show, (again: STRONG language warning) which takes the snot out of the permeating 9/11 conspiracy theories that accuse Bush or the Jews of orchestrating the attacks. As Penn explains, “It’s important to nip this bulls**t paranoid fantasy before it takes root in the national conscience and Oliver Stone makes a s**tty movie about it.” Of course, since we don’t get Showtime in Canada, kooks  here  needn't worry.

Posted by Kevin Libin on May 11, 2006 | Permalink


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Hey Kevin. Thanks for putting me onto this. I'll download the show from iTunes US Music store when available. Showtime offers shows there but not BS just yet. I'm sure soon though; they keep adding stuff it seems every week. 24 just became available. Last year I had to order season 4 from a British supplier and change my DVD format in order to view (I couldn't wait until the North American release). This year, I'll just download all the episodes later this month for $1.99 a show. The CRTC killed about ten minutes of one of this year's earlier episodes. Haven't sworn like that since I crushed my thumb. Still waiting to hear re the Kyle Broflovski arrangement. Why don't we make it 10 schools. That Islamofascist trade just keeps getting better and better.

Posted by: Rodger Beals | 2006-05-11 4:19:04 PM

IPTV couldn't come soon enough for me.

Posted by: potato | 2006-05-11 6:44:24 PM

I had enough of cable, and purchased a Direct-TV system. HDTV at it's finest! And no CBC. (I know, I know CRTC, I'm going to burn in hell...)So I never miss the Penn and Teller show. The funniest was the global warming show. They set up at some enviromental protest/party and made fools of them all. It made me wonder if these people, and others like them, were to see how stupid they look and sound, would it change even a little of how they act?

Posted by: Bruce | 2006-05-11 6:53:24 PM

Nothing there

Posted by: Neil | 2006-05-12 1:46:41 AM

The lack of availability of Showtime, TNT, Fx, and other U.S. channels on Canadian cable and satellite is galling, but it's not all the fault of the CRTC (much as I would like it to be).

Canadian channels, in many cases, have bought and paid for the right to rebroadcast certain foreign content. Their rights are exclusive, and as part of the deal channels like Showtime are not allowed to offer themselves directly to Canadians which would circumvent the contracts they have signed with Canadian carriers.

So it's more a private enterprise, trade, contractual, lawyerly, reason than it is a government censorship reason.

The real problem is that no Canadian carriers have offered to purchase the Penn and Teller show from Showtime for airing up here, and therefore no Canadians can legally see it on our soil.

Thankfully, there are ways around that for those who are curious, technically inclined, etc...

Posted by: Brent Taylor | 2006-05-12 6:16:33 AM

And don't forget the US version of the History Channel. Simply no comparison.

Posted by: Kathy Shaidle | 2006-05-12 7:14:36 AM

And I'm assuming no one here will mention what the "savvy" and "technically inclined" actually know how to do to find this show?

I'm not very technically inclined and would like to see some episodes. Any tips? (I don't even know what site lets you pay $1.99/episode)

Posted by: Angela | 2006-05-12 7:48:58 AM

While you're at it you people should watch the episodes on:

The Bible
Creationism (esp. since your leader Harper believes in it)
The Death Penalty
'Family Values'
The Boy Scouts

They take the snot out of intolerance and ignorance (so much of which is embraced by you ShotDumbers).

Posted by: Justin | 2006-05-12 7:50:11 AM

I am assuming he is talking about those among us who have, shall we say, found a way around having to pay a subscription service (of course which is not even offered in our wonderful "free" Canada, otherwise many would pay) to receive US satellite signals and programming, giving themselves true choice.

Posted by: deepblue | 2006-05-12 8:05:15 AM

Angela, At the iTunes Music Store (download of program is free and works for any format), TV supported shows cost $1.99 to download. There is nothing illegal about this. The show Kevin is recommending is not yet available but probably soon will be. Hope this helps.

Posted by: Rodger Beals | 2006-05-12 9:04:25 AM

Isn't it great how all of us would get banned from rabble.ca, but on the shotgun, we can drive Justin crazy by just ignoring his pointless comments?

Posted by: Angela | 2006-05-12 9:26:42 AM

Good point Angela, that truly is great!!

Posted by: Kevin | 2006-05-12 10:24:11 AM

You can download these shows -- and many others not available in Canada-- for free using file-sharing programs: limewire, edonkey, etc.
And, despite what the entertainment industry folks might tell you, downloading is not illegal. Yet.
And Justin is right -- the one on the Bible is pretty amusing. Of course, we can't reasonably expect the editor of WS to mention that particular episode, given the religious sensitivities of so many of its readers.

Posted by: truewest | 2006-05-12 11:06:31 AM


Have you forgotten the Danish cartoons already?

Posted by: Set you free | 2006-05-12 11:10:42 AM

Sorry, I had forgotten. (They were pretty forgetable.) But hey, if there's anything I've learned from you good folks, it's that making fun of Muslims and making fun of Christians are two completely different things.

Posted by: truewest | 2006-05-12 11:20:29 AM

Didn't catch the Bible one yet, but the Boy Scouts episode was good, and so was the 12-step/AA episode, which exposes the ineffectiveness of using religion to help alcoholics.

Posted by: Kevin Libin | 2006-05-12 11:41:31 AM

The more than one year delay to see episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm, which is by far funniest thing on TV, is a bit ridiculous. Season 5 is underway, apparently, but in Canada we're just now seeing season 4.

On the plus side, though, I feel protected from American programming.

Posted by: EBD | 2006-05-12 12:02:11 PM

"Isn't it great how all of us would get banned from rabble.ca, but on the shotgun, we can drive Justin crazy by just ignoring his pointless comments?"

Yeah good point Angela...oh wait...I guess by bringing my comments up like that you're not ignoring me.

Damn 'reality-based' facts!

YOu people are so owned.

Posted by: Justin... | 2006-05-12 12:30:12 PM

Bitmetv.org has lots of television programs, or so I hear...

Often uploaded within minutes of the show finishing.

Not advocating, just informing.

Posted by: Wonnkabe | 2006-05-12 5:13:41 PM

Perhaps Justin is one of those Leftie girls craving attention, that the Liberals pander to...

Posted by: lwestin | 2006-05-12 8:14:07 PM

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