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South Park blasting the “History” Channel
Posted: 10 November 2011 09:43 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Have you ever flipped through channels, and thought: “Oh yeah, I forgot there was a channel for History called the ‘History Channel’” then tuned it in, only to find that the subject is UFOs or ghosts or “ancient astronauts”, which reminds you why you had blocked it’s existence out of your memory for the last year and a half?

Well, I don’t often get a chance to watch South Park, but last night I caught it, and they served the “History” Channel just right.  The episode was “History Channel Thanksgiving”, with the History Channel taking the usual story of the Pilgrims and Native-Americans, and mixing in the extra-terrestrial aliens.

One critic found the episode too much to follow, but I though the absurdity spinning out of control was a much deserved cowpie thrown in the face of that so called “History Channel”.

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Posted: 11 November 2011 04:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I didn’t see the episode but that sounds great. So many of these once-decent cable channels have really become shameless purveyors of garbage. At least there’s still Mythbusters ...

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Posted: 11 November 2011 06:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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dougsmith - 11 November 2011 04:49 AM

I didn’t see the episode but that sounds great. So many of these once-decent cable channels have really become shameless purveyors of garbage. At least there’s still Mythbusters ...

  I’ve gotta see that one; South Park is great at that type of mockery.

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Posted: 12 November 2011 06:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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At least there’s still Mythbusters ...

Penn and Teller have a show running on Discovery called “Penn and Teller Tell A Lie” It consists of several claims and stories which happen to be true, and one which is completely bogus and they challange the viewer to see if they can spot which it is.

Since it requires the viewer to actually do some thinking for themselves, it’s a huge breath of frsh air.

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Posted: 12 November 2011 09:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I remember when I first got a satellite dish, I thought I’d be watching the History channel, the Discovery Channel or the Learning channel practically all the time.  It didn’t take long to cure me of this belief.  Most of the stuff was so superficial and boring.  And then all the paranormal garbage they started showing.  Every now and then they actually have something worth watching, like Engineering an Empire or Life Without People… oh yeah and Penn and Teller’s new program that EOC mentioned.

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Posted: 12 November 2011 09:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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And then all the paranormal garbage they started showing.

That was what turned me off as well. If they were simply presenting it as folklore, I wouldn’t have a problem with it but they don’t.

They present it all as if it were a proven fact.

That’s a problem in it’s own right.

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Posted: 13 November 2011 03:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Equal Opportunity Curmudgeon - 12 November 2011 09:22 PM

And then all the paranormal garbage they started showing.

That was what turned me off as well. If they were simply presenting it as folklore, I wouldn’t have a problem with it but they don’t.

They present it all as if it were a proven fact.

That’s a problem in it’s own right.

Yup, total absurdity.  The new Penn and Teller show sounds good, but I hate to say it, it may not last too long in that channels current climate.

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Posted: 13 November 2011 07:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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mid atlantic - 13 November 2011 03:53 AM

The new Penn and Teller show sounds good, but I hate to say it, it may not last too long in that channels current climate.

Not sure I entirely agree ... it comes on after Mythbusters, which is a very solid part of their current climate. (And one of the very few truly skeptical shows on TV). It may be that another hour of skeptical programming is too much for them, though. I’d like to see Penn and Teller but it comes on too late for me, and I don’t have a DVR.

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Posted: 15 November 2011 11:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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I used to love the History Channel… then it seemed to decline sharply in quality. The older programming on Rome and Greece and… WWII and Hitler… is what got me interested in history. The new stuff…. keeps giving more things in history to look up every time a person who’s watched a episode starts to regurgitate what was on the program.

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Posted: 15 November 2011 07:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Man-o-man that History Channel… I saw a show a few weeks ago… they put Joe Nickel and a Area 51 fan on an even platform and put them to the test downer, the only thing that was really tested was Joe’s good attitude about not debunking and being open-minded and friendly.  They built a weather balloon-like device and crashed it to see if the debris field looked similar to the photos of the debris that was recovered near Area 51.  Joe called the test invalid in the middle of the show, it would only have a vague result.  So in the end the balloon falls and scatters, Joe calmly explains that because the test wasn’t designed to have a clear yes or no answer, the answer is vague and hard to interpret, and so inconclusive.  The Area 51 fan just repeated what he’d been saying through-out the episode, that the photos showed no cord, the debris field did show the cord that held all the parts together, so therefore the space aliens did visit Area 51.  No-one changed their minds, but at least Joe delivered a couple of good educational lines.  smile

The History channel is 80% bad, that ought to be one of the good ones, but you know how history is.  rolleyes  Anthropology documentaries about ancient Egypt and Rome are safer, that is as long as the anthropologists aren’t trying to measure the heads of black people and modern hunter-gathers to try to prove that they have lower intelligence than Europeans because they have smaller brains!  rolleyes  Beware skeptics.

“Penn and Teller Tell a Lie” is fun, its like a game show, I’ve gotten the right answer a couple of times, but was just guessing.  smile

Mythbusters is a little… well… Hollywood sensationalistic.  Do they have to blow something up during every episode?  But they are safe shows for the audience otherwise, at least they show a safety-minded attitude when they go Hollywood.  Adam Savage’s interview with POI was funny.  smile  The “Head Rush” spin-off is good too, Kari does her best impression of Mr. Wizard, and does a good job of it.  Its very convincing, she looks just like him.  LOL

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Posted: 15 November 2011 08:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Mythbusters is a little… well… Hollywood sensationalistic.  Do they have to blow something up during every episode?

Sensationalist? Perhaps. Do they have to blow something up? If it makes a point about how silly a given myth is, I don’t see why not.

Does it have mass appeal?

Yes, and that’s the key point. They don’t just casually debunk something, they show it. And if it’s plausible, they show it.

Like it or not, that’s what it’s going to take to get Joe Sixpack to take a real interest in science and critical inquiry. That may be offensive to the more academically inclined among us, but the reality is that if we’re going to “Make Our Case” to the public at large, we need to get out of the ivory towers and show that science is not only useful for seperating fact from fiction, but also that it can be fun!

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Posted: 15 November 2011 09:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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dougsmith - 13 November 2011 07:26 AM
mid atlantic - 13 November 2011 03:53 AM

The new Penn and Teller show sounds good, but I hate to say it, it may not last too long in that channels current climate.

Not sure I entirely agree ... it comes on after Mythbusters, which is a very solid part of their current climate. (And one of the very few truly skeptical shows on TV). It may be that another hour of skeptical programming is too much for them, though. I’d like to see Penn and Teller but it comes on too late for me, and I don’t have a DVR.

  Yeah, Mythbusters is a show with quite high ratings; one thing about P and T however, is that they seem to be kind of blunt and brutal in their scepticism-their show Bull**** got complaints and suffered a bit because viewers felt that they got too much joy out of debunking people’s deeply held beliefs. I hope that won’t happen with the new series, but I wouldn’t be suprised.

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Posted: 18 November 2011 09:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Equal Opportunity Curmudgeon - 15 November 2011 08:10 PM

Mythbusters is a little… well… Hollywood sensationalistic.  Do they have to blow something up during every episode?

Sensationalist? Perhaps. Do they have to blow something up? If it makes a point about how silly a given myth is, I don’t see why not.

Does it have mass appeal?

Yes, and that’s the key point. They don’t just casually debunk something, they show it. And if it’s plausible, they show it.

Like it or not, that’s what it’s going to take to get Joe Sixpack to take a real interest in science and critical inquiry. That may be offensive to the more academically inclined among us, but the reality is that if we’re going to “Make Our Case” to the public at large, we need to get out of the ivory towers and show that science is not only useful for seperating fact from fiction, but also that it can be fun!

I couldn’t agree with you more. This is precisely the kind of science shows we need more of. Most folks will not watch pure science shows. Most of the kind of programming that many of us here would soak up just doesn’t work on a mass scale.  But Mythbusters has a great formula that is both informative and entertaining. And by the way, I do find it entertaining. A bit corny at times, yes. But still fun to watch.

Same goes for Penn & Teller’s new show. I think it’s awesome. I love how he emphasizes that you can’t trust much of what you see on television. Everything about the show is brilliantly conceived and well executed, in my opinion.

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Posted: 18 November 2011 09:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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I agree Free. And one thing I like is that when they make a mistake (as Jamie did when discussing collisions), they admit it and move on to a “teaching moment”.

I participated in there experiment at the Rally to Restore Sanity - they measured the amount of ground disturbance we could cause by all jumping at the same time. (They did a poor job of timing it though) Still, they make science fun!

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Posted: 19 November 2011 11:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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But Mythbusters has a great formula that is both informative and entertaining. And by the way, I do find it entertaining. A bit corny at times, yes. But still fun to watch.

Corny can work well at times. If it holds somebody’s interest and gets the point across, then bring it on! wink

In the crucial respects, Mythbusters shows what science can be at it’s very best because it takes a proposition then puts it to the test to see what ACTUALLY happens.

I kinda like it when they blow things up as well!!!! cheese

Same goes for Penn & Teller’s new show. I think it’s awesome. I love how he emphasizes that you can’t trust much of what you see on television.

Since you can’t always trust what you see in real life, it stands to reason that what you think you see in television isn’t always what you really get.

Hell, I can show you some very convincing footage of an Imperial Star Destroyer doing it’s thing to some hapless rebels, but it’s all movie magic.

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Posted: 21 November 2011 10:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Despite much prejudice against them among the academic elite, I find cartoons to be a very effective way of observing and critisizing society.  Crankshaft, Funky Winkerbean, Doonsberry, Blondie etc. are the reasons I get the paper.  I have begun a small library of cartoons, my wife just got me for my birthday, “Doomed by Cartoon” by John Adler a study of how the cartoonist Thomas Nast of the New York Times brought down the Tweed Ring in NYC.  Haven’t had time to read it as yet. 

They work because they get a message out to the general public in a way that reading acadenic tomes and serious publications and magazines never will.

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