Why do people shower Penn and Teller with praise?

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Father Time:
I like Grisham or at least the tiny amount of his stories I read.

I read a ton of praise about him so I flipped to a random spot in one of his books and started reading. It was a story about the death penalty told by one of the characters. It was interesting and talked about the large amount of money they wasted trying to kill the guy.

He is good. I am somewhat of a lit snob and Grisham is definitely a newsstand author (newsstand paperbacks tending to be rubbish) but he has no pretensions to being a great writer. I would say he is probably best described as a "storyteller" for the simplicity of his writing style.

You may have picked up one of the books I believe I read about that case in. He has two about the death penalty that I am aware of. One was "The Innocent Man" which is a nonfiction account of what happened to a man on deathrow falsely accused and convicted of murder. The second was "The Confession" which I believe was partly inspired by the first being about a man falsely accused and convicted of murder except that in this one we follow a pastor who received confession from the real killer and is trying to stop the execution. I am assuming you picked up the later. The former is much more of a treatment of the law, the system, and the abuse of process which leads to false arrests and convictions. A good read if you are interested.

TheStatutoryApe:

Father Time:
I like Grisham or at least the tiny amount of his stories I read.

I read a ton of praise about him so I flipped to a random spot in one of his books and started reading. It was a story about the death penalty told by one of the characters. It was interesting and talked about the large amount of money they wasted trying to kill the guy.

He is good. I am somewhat of a lit snob and Grisham is definitely a newsstand author (newsstand paperbacks tending to be rubbish) but he has no pretensions to being a great writer. I would say he is probably best described as a "storyteller" for the simplicity of his writing style.

You may have picked up one of the books I believe I read about that case in. He has two about the death penalty that I am aware of. One was "The Innocent Man" which is a nonfiction account of what happened to a man on deathrow falsely accused and convicted of murder. The second was "The Confession" which I believe was partly inspired by the first being about a man falsely accused and convicted of murder except that in this one we follow a pastor who received confession from the real killer and is trying to stop the execution. I am assuming you picked up the later. The former is much more of a treatment of the law, the system, and the abuse of process which leads to false arrests and convictions. A good read if you are interested.

It was the Confession, and thanks I'll look into the innocent man.

Since we're on the subject have you seen Penn and Teller's episode on the death penalty?

I thought it was a great show.

Father Time:
It was the Confession, and thanks I'll look into the innocent man.

Since we're on the subject have you seen Penn and Teller's episode on the death penalty?

I thought it was a great show.

I'll have to look that up. I have only seen some youtube clips from the Penn & Teller show; Alcoholics Anonymous, GM Foods, and I think part of the one about the Second Amendment.

May as well actually discuss the OP huh?
I think that most people probably like Penn & Teller because they reinforce the beliefs that they already hold. On top of that they do so in a manner which appears intelligent and convincing leaving most of us who tend to not take the time to really do any research to found our opinions on feeling as though there are smart people out there who agree with us and know what they are talking about. We might relate it to Crichton's novel State of Fear which was actually legitimized by Senator Jim Inhofe (It was also a crap novel as far as the writing was concerned, and from an author I have tended to like, so fairly disappointing).

At any rate, the AA episode slammed Alcoholics Anonymous as being a thinly veiled religious recruitment tool and cited statistics that allegedly show it has no redeeming value for treatment purposes. A quick google scholar search shows that AA attendance has been correlated with increased success in clinical treatment programs. At the same time I do share their distrust and skepticism regarding AA.

The GM Foods episode did a good job of debunking the more outlandish myths surrounding GM foods but I do not remember them discussing any of the more sane criticisms of GM foods nor the rather insidious legal asshattery from corporations like Monsanto. I suppose that treating all of these topics might be a bit beyond their scope for a single episode and debunking crackpots is always good work so not bad there.

One way or another at least they are informing people and hopefully inspiring some of them to learn more.

keiskay:
i can say the same for any group despised by the public though.

There we go. And that's why it takes guts to be out in the open about it.

And Atheists are despised more than Mormons.

TheStatutoryApe:

I think that most people probably like Penn & Teller because they reinforce the beliefs that they already hold.

They've gotten me to change stances on issues (albeit issues I didn't have a strong opinion about). They've also done episodes on scams and general crap I haven't given much thought to (see Death Inc.).
If you want an example of a good episode that didn't get very political, see their one on Polygraphs.

TheStatutoryApe:
I do not remember them discussing any of the more sane criticisms of GM foods nor the rather insidious legal asshattery from corporations like Monsanto.

Which criticisms do you have in mind?

Monsanto acting like jerks is a blight against Monsanto, not GM foods in general.

Anyway the Death Penalty one was interesting but they get a lot more opinionated in that than they normally do.


keiskay:
also popular atheist in tv and movies.
kevin bacon
angelina jolie
keanu reeves
woody allen
james cameron
george clooney
jamie hyneman
kubrick
seth macfarlane
peter laurie
john malkovich
brad pitt
daniel radcliffe
ian mckellen
and the list goes on for a bit, so penn and teller being openly atheist has nothing to do with their popularity. its more due to the fact that they have been entertainers for quite awhile. heck they were popular before showing off their atheist side.

That wasn't a very good argument, seeing as how Stanley Kubrick is dead, and that Peter Laurie doesn't seem to exist, other than as a former London Mayor who's been dead for a good 150 years, and Ian McKellen is british.

Father Time:
Which criticisms do you have in mind?

Its a long discussion to have but an example would be a weakening of crops through lack of genetic diversity. And its not as though I do not believe that there are good answers to such issues only that they are more legitimate questions about GM foods that should be answered by proponents.

Monsanto acting like jerks is a blight against Monsanto, not GM foods in general.

I support the technology of GM foods but some of the manner in which it has actually been implemented has bothered me and that is yet another whole conversation. But really the ability of said technology to be useful and do the good that it has the potential to do is rather dependent upon the manner in which it is implemented.

Anyway the Death Penalty one was interesting but they get a lot more opinionated in that than they normally do.
[youtubesnip]
[youtubesnip]

A bit too dramatic and opinionated for my taste but not bad. The best argument, in my opinion, is the practical/pragmatic argument but they do not seem to have spent much time on it. I was slightly surprised they did not point out that the Electric Chair was introduced as a means of execution as part of a campaign by Edison to undermine its competition and attempt to maintain a monopoly on electric service. The results were morbidly funny. The idea was to make alternating current look dangerous, as something you don't want in your home, if this is what they use to kill people but the first execution by electric chair was botched and took multiple attempts seemingly showing that even when they tried to kill someone it didn't work.

Penn and Teller are comedic magicians. They should stick to what they're good at.

They have a funny stage act (although it does get old), but really their politic isn't something I put much value in. Seriously, why do people think any star's opinion matters?

Mortai Gravesend:

Redd the Sock:
I find this wrong and am willing to pay more in taxes to fit my morality and the rest of you should feel this way too, it's just wrong if you do it to me.

What, you're saying that you think that the death penalty is cheaper?

To me it's the logic behind the cost. I'm not entirely sure that a person up for life should get any less legal oversight that someone up for death just because we may be able to go back and say "My Bad, you're free to go" at some point. I have a problem with saying that just because the punishment is less severe that we should be less judicous in determining guilt or innocence. And since I do belevie equal effort should be given either way, it comes down to the cost of the execution: something which teenagers can do with a bottle of sleeping pills versus years of room and board.

And it isn't that I entirely disagree with the position they gave, just that on their show they've made points about how wrong it is to put the proverbial gun to their head and take their money in taxes for something they don't agree on, somehow turning around and not caring that many of us don't want the taxes we didn't want to pay in the first place to go to something we don't beleive in just because they feel the alternative we want is wrong, even if it does cost more.

LilithSlave:

keiskay:
i can say the same for any group despised by the public though.

There we go. And that's why it takes guts to be out in the open about it.

And Atheists are despised more than Mormons.

hmm 54% of Christians despise Mormons. 55% of secular people despise mormons. these are both based on 2 separate studies done in the same year. while 43% of americans (a study based in a college campus in Alabama so we both can see why its not to be trusted 100%) supposedly hate atheist. and since 77% of Americans are Christians that 54% averages out to 41% give or take a small amount since 7-10 million of those Christians are Mormon (not even 1%). so basically they are despied fairly equally. so neither of us were truly right, and please dont try to say 2-3% is a huge difference its not, considering i also left out the secular hatred of Mormons which cant be accurately done otherwise it would put mormons at 48-50% of the american population despising them.

Elcarsh:

keiskay:
also popular atheist in tv and movies.
kevin bacon
angelina jolie
keanu reeves
woody allen
james cameron
george clooney
jamie hyneman
kubrick
seth macfarlane
peter laurie
john malkovich
brad pitt
daniel radcliffe
ian mckellen
and the list goes on for a bit, so penn and teller being openly atheist has nothing to do with their popularity. its more due to the fact that they have been entertainers for quite awhile. heck they were popular before showing off their atheist side.

That wasn't a very good argument, seeing as how Stanley Kubrick is dead, and that Peter Laurie doesn't seem to exist, other than as a former London Mayor who's been dead for a good 150 years, and Ian McKellen is british.

hmm yes stanley kubrick one of the most influental and still important icons in Hollywood despite him being dead. i mistakenly put peter laurie when it should of been Hugh laurie my bad i dont much care for the show house. ian mckellen is considered by many americans to be one of the greatest actors alive. so what exactly does your argument refute about mine? absolutely nothing so your argument against mine is really weak.

Redd the Sock:

Mortai Gravesend:

Redd the Sock:
I find this wrong and am willing to pay more in taxes to fit my morality and the rest of you should feel this way too, it's just wrong if you do it to me.

What, you're saying that you think that the death penalty is cheaper?

To me it's the logic behind the cost. I'm not entirely sure that a person up for life should get any less legal oversight that someone up for death just because we may be able to go back and say "My Bad, you're free to go" at some point. I have a problem with saying that just because the punishment is less severe that we should be less judicous in determining guilt or innocence. And since I do belevie equal effort should be given either way, it comes down to the cost of the execution: something which teenagers can do with a bottle of sleeping pills versus years of room and board.

And it isn't that I entirely disagree with the position they gave, just that on their show they've made points about how wrong it is to put the proverbial gun to their head and take their money in taxes for something they don't agree on, somehow turning around and not caring that many of us don't want the taxes we didn't want to pay in the first place to go to something we don't beleive in just because they feel the alternative we want is wrong, even if it does cost more.

You're arguing what should be, and not what is. Yes, it would be cheaper, but the reality is that we do give more effort for that exact reason. It's too easy. Hell, why not just execute them on the spot in the middle of the act? I don't know why you would think that it's not worth extra effort when it comes to life or death. It's irreversible. You kill an innocent, you're a murderer in my eyes. And that's all of us- we're paying for this crap, we're condoning this crap. I'm all for killing the guilty, but when you have 1 person found innocent for every 8 or 9 executed, that's still too many. One can be considered too many, but it's government so i don't really expect perfection

If you and I were framed for something, you're damn sure you'd want to have these many appeals in place.

And really, what would be cheaper than this would be not having about 7 million (2009 numbers) in prison or parole, etc. That's about 3% of the nation. Crime prevention in any of the dozens of ways from education to birth control to equality in demographics in funding (Some high-schools in LA don't even teach math past Alegbra... where I went we had AP calculus if i'm not mistaken).

Not to mention things such as Three Strikes laws. Shoplifted three times? Go play with the murderers then!

That, or make prison less about punishment and more about reform. I only read a little about this, but I know some countries try for reform over punishment, and their repeat offenders are much lower than in America (not to mention that you lump drug users, thieves, and other non-violent criminals with gang members, murderers, and other violent criminals. Tends to not work out well I i may make an assumption). Of course, I will concede that we have people that do not deserve redemption, however.

In the end, though, how many people are on death row? It's apparently 3251 (http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/death-row-inmates-state-and-size-death-row-year Way to go California for having almost as many as the next state, by the way.) This number is so minute. Killing these people right now would save so little in prison budgets when we have millions of other inmates. There's really no point in the death penalty if it's this expensive and even remotely inaccurate in its punishments.

Frostwhisper21:
That and the Constitution refers to actual practical ideas

Like institutionalised slavery.

Anyway (and on topic), BS was full of crap. I like Penn and Teller because they're entertaining, but I am horribly saddened when people post them as though they're some sort of persuasive argument. They are about as honest as Michael Moore. the main difference is they're entertaining, but entertainment should not equal credibility.

Zachary Amaranth:

Frostwhisper21:
That and the Constitution refers to actual practical ideas

Like institutionalised slavery.

Anyway (and on topic), BS was full of crap. I like Penn and Teller because they're entertaining, but I am horribly saddened when people post them as though they're some sort of persuasive argument. They are about as honest as Michael Moore. the main difference is they're entertaining, but entertainment should not equal credibility.

Depending on your translation the bible has guides on how "servants" must behave with their "masters". Practical wasn't the best choice of words though. Real, maybe? Non-spiritual?

And yeah.. it'd be better to just pick up a book or read the statistics by oneself instead of basing it off a show who's priority is entertainment. It's like saying you're politically basing yourself off the Colbert Report.

TheStatutoryApe:

Father Time:
Which criticisms do you have in mind?

Its a long discussion to have but an example would be a weakening of crops through lack of genetic diversity. And its not as though I do not believe that there are good answers to such issues only that they are more legitimate questions about GM foods that should be answered by proponents.

Monsanto acting like jerks is a blight against Monsanto, not GM foods in general.

I support the technology of GM foods but some of the manner in which it has actually been implemented has bothered me and that is yet another whole conversation. But really the ability of said technology to be useful and do the good that it has the potential to do is rather dependent upon the manner in which it is implemented.

Fair points.

A bit too dramatic and opinionated for my taste but not bad.

It was the most opinionated out of all of them IMO (and probably 2nd most dramatic). I know I keep suggesting episodes but if you want them at their best try the war on drugs episode (they got nominated for a writing award for that episode).

I was slightly surprised they did not point out that the Electric Chair was introduced as a means of execution as part of a campaign by Edison to undermine its competition and attempt to maintain a monopoly on electric service. The results were morbidly funny. The idea was to make alternating current look dangerous, as something you don't want in your home, if this is what they use to kill people but the first execution by electric chair was botched and took multiple attempts seemingly showing that even when they tried to kill someone it didn't work.

That's funny, in a dark kind of way.

Zachary Amaranth:
They are about as honest as Michael Moore.

I haven't seen them take people out of context.

Hardcore_gamer:
and nonsense anti-smoking laws

Yes, because of course, there exists such a thing as a right to harm and harass other people with your addiction. For this same reason, it's not a crime if a heroin addicts commit shoplifting or a robbery, or if you assault someone while drunk.

[/sarcasm mode]

It's more than a little ironic you, en passant, do the same as the people you complain about.

Blablahb:

Hardcore_gamer:
and nonsense anti-smoking laws

Yes, because of course, there exists such a thing as a right to harm and harass other people with your addiction. For this same reason, it's not a crime if a heroin addicts commit shoplifting or a robbery, or if you assault someone while drunk.

[/sarcasm mode]

It's more than a little ironic you, en passant, do the same as the people you complain about.

Do you even know what laws he's talking about?

They went off on banning smoking in bars, even if the bar owner wants to allow smoking.

Polarity27:

Father Time:
Also I like Penn and Teller because sometimes they bring up point I never thought of.

Here's a good example. I hate to drag up Rapeplay again.

Oh and it is his old vlog and not his show so he rambles a bit.

I got about halfway through it before I wanted to punch the screen. He completely misunderstands rape culture. He makes a specious comparison to murder mysteries. He doesn't get the women's group's argument at all. He jumps right to prosecution, as if there's no space for saying "yes this legally exists but it's fucking reprehensible and contributes to a general environment where rape is minimized, laughed about, misunderstood, and yes, in certain ways, normalized" without jumping right to "they made this game, throw the fuckers in jail".

In short, typical fucking male privilege, and the reason why I can't stand him.

I feel like he was making a good counter-argument to the absolutely wrong point. His argument that not all men are potential rapists who can be tipped over the edge by a video game is a good one. When we see discussions about Slutwalk and blaming rape victims by saying they dressed provocatively or let themselves get drunk, these arguments all hinge on the notion that men are all opportunists that can be provoked by seeing a tiny bit of skin into using any vulnerability to take advantage of a woman. I've been in very close-knit communities where news of a rape led very quickly to fear and mistrust of anyone with a penis. These are wrong-headed notions and these notions need to be confronted.

But as you say, I don't think the RapeLay case is the time to confront them. To my mind when I hear talk about "normalizing" rape, it's not so much about the risk of turning all men into potential rapists as it is turning rape into something that is joked about and not taken seriously. And this does have real consequences, as it makes it harder for real victims of rape to get their attackers prosecuted. IIRC there was a famous case in Japan a few years ago where a university sports team (possibly rugby? I don't remember exactly) gang-raped a woman. And a man in a position of authority (it was a long time ago, I think he was either affiliated with the University or a prominent member of government) said words to the effect of, "This is just a normal thing for virile young men to do." Now I don't think his words are likely to cause a normal man to become a rapist. But could they hurt the victim's chances of getting justice? I'd bet on it.

And this gets to why I think Penn & Teller are so popular on the Internet, and also the reason I really can't stand them whenever they put on pretensions of tackling a serious topic. As with the RapeLay blog, too often they seem not interested in effecting a sincere solution to complex problems involving real people; instead they put their energy into making smug, pithy arguments that sound clever when examined superficially and make you feel clever when you quote them. It's a very sociopathic approach to punditry- it's not about helping people, it's about scoring points and trying to feel like everyone who disagrees with you is dumber than you. We see the exact same behavior in so many different places- Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh... Penn & Teller just dress the same approach up in clothes that make it attractive you young, snarky men on the Internet.

Plus, the guy really does have a stupid beard.

Father Time:
Do you even know what laws he's talking about?
They went off on banning smoking in bars, even if the bar owner wants to allow smoking.

Yes, those are exactly what I meant. The bar owner runs a public establishment, thus committing to various rules and regulations, which also involve providing an environment which is safe, and thus not filled with smoke.

Also those rules finally allowed anyone with respiratory problems/diseases to finally frequent a bar without suffocating. My wife never used to go to bars because her asthma plays up then, and I disliked it for the very same reason because my hair and clothes stank afterwards and my eyes got all irritated.

Neither can these rules ever be attacked, because like I pointed out, there's no such thing as a right to harm others with your addiction.

How would you like to get beat up and end in hospital by an agressive coke fiend next time you go out? You'd probably hate it if that happened. That's why you have doormen who refuse entry to anyone clearly under the influence, and throw them out for you if they cause problems anyway.
So why should a different addiction be treated any differently?

Blablahb:

Father Time:
Do you even know what laws he's talking about?
They went off on banning smoking in bars, even if the bar owner wants to allow smoking.

Yes, those are exactly what I meant. The bar owner runs a public establishment, thus committing to various rules and regulations, which also involve providing an environment which is safe, and thus not filled with smoke.

Also those rules finally allowed anyone with respiratory problems/diseases to finally frequent a bar without suffocating.

Don't be so dramatic, there were bars that banned smoking on their own before they were required to.

Blablahb:

Neither can these rules ever be attacked,

They've been attacked several times. I'm attacking them right now.

Blablahb:

because like I pointed out, there's no such thing as a right to harm others with your addiction.

No but there's a general right to decide what happens on your property. If you're entering a bar where smoking is explicitly allowed, you've given consent to be exposed to 2nd hand smoke.

Blablahb:

How would you like to get beat up and end in hospital by an agressive coke fiend next time you go out?

Because a guy randomly assaulting me is totally comparable to walking into a building knowing that people will be smoking inside. [/sarcasm]

And your reasoning can apply to an all out ban on smoking.

Katatori-kun:

But as you say, I don't think the RapeLay case is the time to confront them. To my mind when I hear talk about "normalizing" rape, it's not so much about the risk of turning all men into potential rapists as it is turning rape into something that is joked about and not taken seriously.

I sincerely doubt fiction does that. Look at all the video games, movies etc. that have murderers as the hero or allow you to commit murder. Murder is still taken very seriously. You can still get the death penalty for a bad enough murder.

Katatori-kun:

And this does have real consequences, as it makes it harder for real victims of rape to get their attackers prosecuted. IIRC there was a famous case in Japan a few years ago where a university sports team (possibly rugby? I don't remember exactly) gang-raped a woman. And a man in a position of authority (it was a long time ago, I think he was either affiliated with the University or a prominent member of government) said words to the effect of, "This is just a normal thing for virile young men to do."

You showed a case of rape not being taken seriously but failed to link that to fictional depictions of rape.

Katatori-kun:

And this gets to why I think Penn & Teller are so popular on the Internet, and also the reason I really can't stand them whenever they put on pretensions of tackling a serious topic. As with the RapeLay blog, too often they seem not interested in effecting a sincere solution to complex problems involving real people;

The Rapeplay issue does not involve real people, other than the developers of the game. Nobody has linked a specific case to Rapeplay. And how is "don't ban the game and don't blame it for rape" not a sincere solution?

Katatori-kun:

instead they put their energy into making smug, pithy arguments that sound clever when examined superficially and make you feel clever when you quote them. It's a very sociopathic approach to punditry

You think they purposely make arguments that sound clever but aren't? That would be an awesome way to troll libertarians and atheists (or anyone really). But they seem to honestly have those beliefs.

There's an old saying "never ascribe to malice that which can be explained by stupidity".

The rest is getting kind of vague. What is wrong with trying to "score points" if your goal is to persuade someone to join your side.

Hardcore_gamer:
For example, in the bible episode they talk about the idiocy of trying to decide what certain parts of the bible really mean thousands of years after it had been written creating the risk that the true meaning and context behind many parts may have been lost over time as a result, but at the same time dismiss exactly this same kind of criticism during the constitution episode where they them self's start to use the same arguments as the fundamentalists in the bible episode by arguing that the constitution should be taken literally word by word regardless of the original context.

Thoughts?

The founders not only spoke largely the same flipping language, with relatively clear paths as to how meanings have changed, but with the vast repository of their wirtings and actions we can understand directly what they were thinking. Whereas virtually nothing from the time either the new testament or the old testament actually happened is left, and what scraps we have were generally translated at least twice before they were actually written down anywhere, and are almost all hearsay. Any other silly observations?

SillyBear:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/aug/07/nhs-among-most-efficient-health-services

The NHS is proven to be both more effective and cheaper than the current system in the USA.

There's a reason the study starts at age 15, and it ain't because you do better prior to that age. Oddly enough that's when things like gang activity shoot through the roof. Then there's the fact that high risk activities like skydiving, rock climbing, and high school cheerleading(fun fact, high school cheerleading is the single most dangerous activity a girl can participate in) are actively encouraged and are much more active in the US. Ooooh, and the fact that different races have different mortality rates when it comes to old age, through a combination of things like cultural patterns and tendency for things like sickle cell.

Then it brushes away cancer survival rates in favor of the "less ambiguous" cancer mortality rates, even though cancer incidence rates vary wildly between the US and UK, which makes survival rates a MUCH better metric of quality and effectiveness of care. So great study you picked there.

Father Time:

I was slightly surprised they did not point out that the Electric Chair was introduced as a means of execution as part of a campaign by Edison to undermine its competition and attempt to maintain a monopoly on electric service. The results were morbidly funny. The idea was to make alternating current look dangerous, as something you don't want in your home, if this is what they use to kill people but the first execution by electric chair was botched and took multiple attempts seemingly showing that even when they tried to kill someone it didn't work.

That's funny, in a dark kind of way.

The only reason AC is dangerous is becuse the idiots have it at around 60Hz. If it wasn't on multiple of 6, it would be much less dangerous to the human body, at least as far as stopping the heart goes.

Well, aside from them, only Cracked educates us with humor.

ravenshrike:

Hardcore_gamer:
For example, in the bible episode they talk about the idiocy of trying to decide what certain parts of the bible really mean thousands of years after it had been written creating the risk that the true meaning and context behind many parts may have been lost over time as a result, but at the same time dismiss exactly this same kind of criticism during the constitution episode where they them self's start to use the same arguments as the fundamentalists in the bible episode by arguing that the constitution should be taken literally word by word regardless of the original context.

Thoughts?

The founders not only spoke largely the same flipping language, with relatively clear paths as to how meanings have changed, but with the vast repository of their wirtings and actions we can understand directly what they were thinking. Whereas virtually nothing from the time either the new testament or the old testament actually happened is left, and what scraps we have were generally translated at least twice before they were actually written down anywhere, and are almost all hearsay. Any other silly observations?

I am not just talking about the translations and what the words them self's mean, but the historical context. A lot has changed since the constitution was written, but unlike most countries that change their constitution to reflect social changes America insists that the constitution has to remain the same and never be changed. This makes the constitution flawed for many of the same reason as the bible, as it doesn't take it into account that as history marches on and society changes the rule book has to change as well to reflect that.

Father Time:

Katatori-kun:

But as you say, I don't think the RapeLay case is the time to confront them. To my mind when I hear talk about "normalizing" rape, it's not so much about the risk of turning all men into potential rapists as it is turning rape into something that is joked about and not taken seriously.

I sincerely doubt fiction does that. Look at all the video games, movies etc. that have murderers as the hero or allow you to commit murder. Murder is still taken very seriously. You can still get the death penalty for a bad enough murder.

There is a big problem comparing a portrayal of rape to a portrayal of murder because it is possible to get over a rape. It's not possible to get over being murdered. And because of that, real murder is always going to be taken seriously.

You showed a case of rape not being taken seriously but failed to link that to fictional depictions of rape.

While that's true, a cursory look at Japanese pornography and even non-pornographic entertainment media shows that rape is taken very lightly there. I don't have a list of this politician's secret downloads, but having lived there I feel very comfortable claiming that Japanese entertainment (especially entertainment aimed at men) treats rape very lightly, and that this carries through into the general culture's notions of rape.

If you don't believe me that's your choice. But I've lived in Japan for several years, and while there are a lot of things I love about the country I'm really uncomfortable with some aspects of how sex gets treated there.

The Rapeplay issue does not involve real people, other than the developers of the game. Nobody has linked a specific case to Rapeplay. And how is "don't ban the game and don't blame it for rape" not a sincere solution?

Hooray for strawman arguments! You're showing here that you either don't understand the argument, or that you don't care to understand it. I never claimed that Rapelay causes rapes. But real people are involved, because real people have been raped and are subject to a culture that doesn't take rape seriously.

Katatori-kun:

instead they put their energy into making smug, pithy arguments that sound clever when examined superficially and make you feel clever when you quote them. It's a very sociopathic approach to punditry

...The rest is getting kind of vague. What is wrong with trying to "score points" if your goal is to persuade someone to join your side.

Because persuading someone to join your side is best done by sincere communication, rational arguments, sympathy and civility. Scoring points on the internet is a competitive process of trying to beat people who think differently from you. It's gamifying basic human contact, and people who engage in it rarely seek to understand what the people who disagree with them are saying.

Frostwhisper21:

snip

Speaking for myself, I can't say I'd be any happier to lose a decade of my life to a particularly harsh place and then have to reassimilate myself back into society.

I'm not a supporter of the death peanlity for that very reason, but I don't condem the idea of the death penality because our justice system is plagued by incompitance, political pressure and outright laziness. It's a sign our courts need to get it together because if people could wrongly be on death row despite all the extra oversight taken, how many people have been wrongfully convicted without the oversight? Too many by my book not even getting into excessive punishments for drug charges and repeat minor offenders.

I just don't like people saying that the death penalty costs more becuase of the unspoken line "because that's when we're forced to take our jobs of proving guilt or innocence seriously."

Katatori-kun:
While that's true, a cursory look at Japanese pornography and even non-pornographic entertainment media shows that rape is taken very lightly there. I don't have a list of this politician's secret downloads, but having lived there I feel very comfortable claiming that Japanese entertainment (especially entertainment aimed at men) treats rape very lightly, and that this carries through into the general culture's notions of rape.

If you don't believe me that's your choice. But I've lived in Japan for several years, and while there are a lot of things I love about the country I'm really uncomfortable with some aspects of how sex gets treated there.

But surely you yourself understand perfectly that you can't right away determine which causes what. Couldn't the preponderance of rape in pornography etc. in japan be a result of a lighter view of rape rather than the other way around?

Penn and Teller are intelligent snarky Anti liberals who liberals still appreciate becuase their reasoning behind their views are based on intelligent and honest beliefs and not BS like say a Glenn Beck or a Don imus. They clearly dont have an agenda they just have an opinion

Katatori-kun:

Father Time:

Katatori-kun:

But as you say, I don't think the RapeLay case is the time to confront them. To my mind when I hear talk about "normalizing" rape, it's not so much about the risk of turning all men into potential rapists as it is turning rape into something that is joked about and not taken seriously.

I sincerely doubt fiction does that. Look at all the video games, movies etc. that have murderers as the hero or allow you to commit murder. Murder is still taken very seriously. You can still get the death penalty for a bad enough murder.

There is a big problem comparing a portrayal of rape to a portrayal of murder because it is possible to get over a rape. It's not possible to get over being murdered. And because of that, real murder is always going to be taken seriously.

Ok fine. Let's try theft/scamming.

Let's see we got the Sting, and Ocean's 11 (and Robin Hood if that counts) and other heist movies where the thief is the hero. Theft is still taken seriously.

I'd say that theft is generally easier to get over than rape. Especially if you're rich or have insurance (or both).

feeqmatic:
Penn and Teller are intelligent snarky Anti liberals who liberals still appreciate becuase their reasoning behind their views are based on intelligent and honest beliefs and not BS like say a Glenn Beck or a Don imus. They clearly dont have an agenda they just have an opinion

They're not really anti-liberal or anti-conservative.

They've done episodes in favor of liberal views and episodes in favor of conservative views.

Father Time:
Ok fine. Let's try theft/scamming.

Let's see we got the Sting, and Ocean's 11 (and Robin Hood if that counts) and other heist movies where the thief is the hero. Theft is still taken seriously.

I'd say that theft is generally easier to get over than rape. Especially if you're rich or have insurance (or both).

You must come from a different world than I do. When I was in high school kids joked about "the 5 finger discount" all the time and IIRC some kids who came from wealthier families enjoyed a bit of shoplifting just for the thrill of it. It was not only considered acceptable, but it was downright cool to steal anything from hood ornaments to street signs to restaurant dinnerware. The Simpsons even made an episode laughing at stealing way back when most of the people on this forum were probably playing with blocks. I'd say theft is joked about in much the same way that rape is, with the only difference being that because of sex/power dynamics the victims of rape are less able to exact vengeance on their attackers than victims of theft.

Elcarsh:
But surely you yourself understand perfectly that you can't right away determine which causes what. Couldn't the preponderance of rape in pornography etc. in japan be a result of a lighter view of rape rather than the other way around?

I'd agree that we can't definitively say that the causality works one way. Like most social habits there is very likely some cyclical causality going on.

But then I never claimed that the causality was one-way. All I'm saying is that there is a larger point to this discussion than "Rapelay causes rapes!", and that Penn was so eager in his blog post to make a pithy comment in line with his ideology that he has missed the greater point of the argument.

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