It’s finally here! The long expected episode of Penn & Teller: Bullshit!, in which the boys take on the anti-vaccine movement in their usual inimitable fashion, will premiere tonight on Showtime at 10 PM. It’s even the eighth season finale, which is appropriate. If there’s a form of “bullshit” other than the irrationality that is the anti-vaccine movment that represents a threat to public health more profound, I have a hard time thinking of it, and it’s hard to believe that Penn and Teller did nearly eight seasons of their show without taking it on.
Here’s a preview:
Unfortunately, anyone who’s read this blog regularly will recognize much of the stuff that Carl (the guy in the clip) says as typical anti-vaccine fare: that doctors are only in it for the money and keep us sick on purpose to make money (through vaccines, among other things, of course), that the pharmaceutical companies control everything, etc. My favorite line, of course, is “Thank God for the Internet.” I can see why cranks would say that and have no doubt that Jenny McCarthy, J.B. Handley, Jake Crosby, Kim Stagliano, Barbara Fisher, Dan Olmsted, Mark Blaxill, and the rest of the anti-vaccine crew we’ve come to know but not love here probably get down on their knees each and every morning before they start spewing their misinformation and thank God for the Internet. No doubt after they see this episode the anti-vaccine movement will howl that they aren’t that irrational, but, you know what? They are. They really are. They may be smart. They may even be rational in most areas of their lives. But when it comes to vaccines…it’s all too often sheer craziness.
Unfortunately, I don’t have Showtime as part of my cable package. (It seems as though I have every premium channel but Showtime. And Cinemax, too, I guess.) I’m actually half tempted to call the cable company and add Showtime for the month just to see this episode, but I’ll probably restrain myself. I’ll see the show eventually, either through some site that streams it or, if I have to, I might even resort to BitTorrent, although I hate to do that for anything other than non-U.S. shows (like Mitchell and Webb, for instance) that I can’t get any other way or have to wait months or years before they make it to our shores.
In the meantime feel free to come back to this post after tonight’s airing and let me know how well (or badly) Penn and Teller handled the issue.