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Monday, April 17, 2006

Well, you know that Teller didn't say it 


CBS Radio talk KIFR (Free FM 106.9) San Francisco has fired a talk show host and two staffers after an on-air reward was offered to have fellow station talker/comedian Penn Jillette killed.

Local host John London, his producer Dennis Cruz and sports reporter Chris Townsend were suspended last Friday (4/7) and subsequently fired over weekend, according to the San Jose Mercury News, for spending two hours on April 5 complaining about Jillette’s Free FM syndicated show where he labeled Mother Teresa a fraud. At the beginning of his show the following day, London remarked, “$5,000 to the person that kills Penn Jillette. If he suffers, I’ll make it $7,000.”

Jillette’s remarks centered on a bit where claimed that Mother Teresa has set up refuges for dying people for her own “sexual kink” and “sexual kicks.” He also said, “Mother Teresa is a bad person” and called Paris Hilton “much too moral” to play the deceased nun in an upcoming movie....

“What I said may have been in bad taste,” London added. “But it wasn’t illegal, as they are claiming.”

A spokesperson for the station declined comment and told the paper, “It’s a personnel issue and we don’t comment on them.”

I couldn't find any public reaction from Penn, but there is a website "dedicated to keeping the Inferno alive!" But the webmasters have some suggestions:

Please don't call FreeFM and piss off Ken Kohl. I'm sure the boys at CBS in New York had a LOT more to do with the cancellation of the show than Ken did.

This may have an adverse affect, so please don't be negative toward the station. They'll learn their mistake in 4 months when FreeFM is boarding up its windows.

Now if you want to call in to Penn Jillette's show and piss HIM off, by all means, do so. That fat idiot deserves nothing less than being blacklisted from ClearChannel, Vegas, any entertainment medium, church, mosque, synagogue, and everything else where mass people gather.

It's important to note that London was fired for "promoting media violence." Ironically, Jillette believes (or at least believed) that media violence should be protected:

The recent calls by Attorney General Janet Reno and Sen. Paul Simon (D-Ill.) to limit and regulate media violence initially brought forth surprisingly few rebuttals from the entertainment industry....

Among the lonely dissenters was Penn Jillette, of the magic act Penn & Teller....

"Penn & Teller, although we tend to be political in our private lives-- political is a bit strong, I guess, but certainly we try to be aware of what' s going on in the world around us--we aren't very publicly political....As far as I'm concerned, we did not move into politics; Janet Reno moved into art. One of the things that Teller and I are obsessed with, one of the reasons that we're in magic, is the difference between fantasy and reality. That is the subject that, if you have a brain in your head, is always dealt with in magic. The smarter the tricks you're doing, the more that' s an important thing.

So we have always harped on the distinction between reality and illusion, and it really isn't a political issue. Janet Reno, during her confirmation hearings, said she would come down harder on porno, and lately she's talked about how violence on television has an effect on violence in the real world. This is damn near a textbook definition of voodoo....All of a sudden, she's smack dab in the middle of our lives. All of a sudden, we have this nut for an attorney general who's saying stuff that liberals seem to think is compassion and conservatives seem to think is common sense.

What she doesn't realize when she talks about getting rid of television violence--I'm giving her credit for being naive, as opposed to being more cynical about it--is that violence in the arts is not a celebration of pain and suffering, but rather a celebration of health and life. One of the ways that we can say "fuck you" to death, and "fuck you" to suffering, and channel that pain somewhere else, is that wonderful feeling we get by [experiencing all that vicariously]. At the end of [fictional violence], the victims are completely OK. It's the perfect insult to suffering and pain. We know that a rollercoaster ride doesn't make you go out and drive recklessly--the two are unrelated. You get that wonderful thrill, you get to the top and you're happy to be alive and all your senses tingle and then you're done, and you don't go out and drive your car recklessly and try to get the same thrill. Well, maybe French people do.

There's a wonderful quote from Tony Fltzpatrick, an "outsider" artist in Chicago. He also hosts a show on Comedy Central--it's a very strange combination to have an artist who's hanging in the Museum of Modern Art emceeing a comedy show--called Drive-ln Reviews, where he shows the goriest parts of movies. He says, "The family that watches slasher films together sure ain't out hurting somebody."

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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