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Blog 5: Political Blog

I don’t frequent political blogs, as most of them offer pointed, one sided opinions on issues about which I care little. However, there is one vlog that I follow on YouTube that has political leanings, though it isn’t strictly about politics. That vlog is Penn Point.

The vlog is self produced by illusionist and self-proclaimed libertarian Penn Jillette. I follow this vlog for three primary reasons. First, Jillette is funny, and since journalists have taken to covering the news poorly and primarily with emotion (as we discussed in the previous blog), if I’m going to be gathering information from an industry that is widely regarded as a joke in the first place, it might as well be from a guy who gets paid to be funny.

Second, Jillette often states that he is clueless about the nuances of the political topics he covers and that he is speaking from a biased viewpoint, that being a libertarian viewpoint. He urges viewers to look up more information from sources who are more aptly equipped to explain politics, which is, ironically journalists most of the time. I appreciate a man who can admit he doesn’t know it all and urges people to research on their own.

Finally, because I enjoy Jillette’s Showtime smash Bullshit! I find that having him explain things of a political nature automatically sparks skepticism in me concerning what his opinions are and, if I believe what he is saying is off the wall or too libertarian, I will go off and research an issue myself from a different viewpoint. So, Penn Point makes me more active in a subject I have little interest in in the first place, which I think is good.

In addition to this, Jillette offers a libertarian viewpoint on some issues. Though I do not identify as a libertarian, some of his points are interesting and resonate with me and serve as an alternative to the typical “left vs. right” viewpoint on nearly everything. Jillette’s vlog also makes me question some of my own beliefs that don’t allign with this libertarian viewpoint, which is something I welcome and enjoy. Jillette also takes shots at both right wing conservatives and left wing “hippies,” the latter of which is a joy to watch for me. Because most of the political blogs I StumbleUpon are typically written with a self-righteous, left wing slant and most right wing blogs are written by ultra-conservative religious people, having a different viewpoint on politics is refreshing, but most importantly, funny. Jillette’s vlog tends to challenge the status quo in a way that isn’t so much “down with the man” (as I find most liberal leaning blogs are) but in a way that questions (albeit bluntly and often obscenely) the more popular opinions on things like health care and gun control, for instance.

Perhaps most importantly, though, is that Jillette doesn’t take himself too seriously on the whole. Most blogs I StumbleUpon write on issues as though they are making some sort of difference in terms of solving the issue when they’re doing little more than pontificating on a pet cause. While there are situations where Jillette does speak seriously (for example, on free speech or the shooting in Arizona [note, this link is a two parter and has profanity]) which, if I’m intrigued, leads me to research further on the issue at hand, most of the time, Jillette is just a funny guy who spouts off on things that bother him in libertarian terms. And since he states that he’s got a libertarian bias and that people should never take his word for granted, I find him to be more honest than most bloggers out there, which leaves a soft spot in my heart for his vlog.

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  1. March 8, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    Good job. But you say you don’t normally like political blogs because they are full of “one sided opinions,” though you like this vlog because is has a “biased viewpoint” (a Libertarian viewpoint).

    So, is it that you don’t like opinionated blogs or that you don’t like opinionated blogs that don’t share your opinion?

  2. jpullega
    March 8, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    I should have been more clear. I don’t like political blogs because they are one sided opinions that often don’t bluntly admit that they frame everything as such, but rather imply that their viewpoint is the correct viewpoint and anyone who disagrees is wrong or a bad person. I like this vlog because it does the opposite, i.e. states its bias, readily admits that it can be wrong and doesn’t expect the reader/viewer to agree or buy into the opinion stated. In short, he’s honest and upfront about his bias and doesn’t pretend to be objective or absolute in his opinion. Instead of having to wade through the undertones and subtle biases and wonder “what’s the agenda here?” the agenda is put forth early and often, allowing a reader/viewer like me to more fully understand his point.

    I love opinionated blogs and I can live with opinions that I don’t share to a point, but I can’t stand blogs that present opinions as fact with no sense of irony or tongue-in-cheek comedy. Penn Point tends not to do that and for all its boasting and obscenity, allows for the possibility that he might be wrong or misinformed and I appreciate that type of self awareness.

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