Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Why Penn and Teller Won't Cover Islam or Scientology on Their TV Show


Mark Frauenfelder
Jun 28, 2010
Boing Boing

In this excerpt from a Las Vegas Weekly interview, Penn Jillette explains why he won't cover Islam or Scientology on his TV show, Bullshit!

Let’s talk about your TV show Bullshit! Will you ever run out of theories to debunk and people to expose?

If you build a kingdom on bullshit, you're not in danger of running out of it. Our producer says that Teller and I can take any subject in the news and do a credible show on it. Sure, we like to have a villain, something to call "bullshit" on, but if we don't, we can depart from that model.

Are there any groups you won't go after?

We haven't tackled Scientology because Showtime doesn't want us to. Maybe they have deals with individual Scientologists —- I'm not sure. And we haven't tackled Islam because we have families.

Meaning, you won’t attack Islam because you’re afraid it’ll attack back ...

Right, and I think the worst thing you can say about a group in a free society is that you’re afraid to talk about it—I can’t think of anything more horrific. [...]

You do go after Christians, though ...

Teller and I have been brutal to Christians, and their response shows that they’re good fucking Americans who believe in freedom of speech. We attack them all the time, and we still get letters that say, “We appreciate your passion. Sincerely yours, in Christ.” Christians come to our show at the Rio and give us Bibles all the time. They’re incredibly kind to us. Sure, there are a couple of them who live in garages, give themselves titles and send out death threats to me and Bill Maher and Trey Parker. But the vast majority are polite, open-minded people, and I respect them for that.
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