The Magic Café
Username:
Password:
[ Lost Password ]
  [ Forgot Username ]
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Helping hands » » Is it morally wrong to use stooges? (6 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

 Go to page 1~2 [Next]
bremenkid
View Profile
New user
17 Posts

Profile of bremenkid
I have been watching a magic show on TV with my father, and we started to talk about what magic is and where the boundary of magic lies.

First of all, I would like to give an example.
There's a guy who calls himself a mentalist. He throws a light object (maybe a boomerang or something) at a random direction towards the crowd. Somebody catches it, and that person randomly points out 5 people who stand up. These 5 people do rock papers scissors, and the final winner comes out on the stage, and the magician starts to read the person's mind. He knows what he's thinking about, what objects he is placing on the table and so on.

Now, IF the mentalist somehow controlled something and made HIS STOOGE come out on the stage in the end, and had everything already planned (e.g. what to say and what obj. to place on the table and so on), would it be morally wrong and would that be cheating on the spectators?

So, as a magician, I see no problem in it. Since magic is all about entertaining people and demonstrating the impossible, if they planned it so well and made the spectator not suspect ANYTHING at all, then I think we should consider that as magic as well. AND since stooges are part of the tool that magicians use to make the magic happen, it is not morally wrong or cheating on the spectators or anything.(this is what I think. + stooges have been used A LOT from the past)

What do you think about this?
I totally understand that if people find out that the entire effect was based on using the stooge, people most probably would criticize the magician, but why? Why is it so wrong to use a stooge to create an effect when it is okay to use other tools to create an effect? where does the problem lie?

Any comments are highly appreciated so please leave any comments!



+ oh, and two more things.
1. What do you think about camera tricks? If somebody made a building disappear using computer graphics or something, do you think that should be considered as magic as well?

2, What do you think about magic that doesn't involve surprises or impossible stuff?
I mean, in case of Arthur Benjamin's Mathemagic, or Marco Tempest's work are all amazing, wonderful, but it doesn't surprise people and they are also not demonstrating any impossible or anything. AND yet we call it MAGIC. WHY??? I actually love both of them, but I'm talking about their work being MAGIC or not. What do you think?




Even if you would only like to answer one of these, please do. I really want to hear everyone's opinion.

Thank you very much.
jugglestruck
View Profile
Inner circle
Wales
1038 Posts

Profile of jugglestruck
I could be wrong but I get the feeling that if audiences know stooges are being used they would be pretty miffed. I think they would feel they had been conned in a way that is just unfair.
msmagic1
View Profile
New user
51 Posts

Profile of msmagic1
I think you answer the question, by deciding what you are attempting to do. If it is indeed to "entertain", it doesn't really matter. If you (as in the case of a mentalist), convey the perception that you did something miraculous, and beyond the ability of others, then it would be wrong. Decide your intention, then the answer is easy.
thomasR
View Profile
Special user
593 Posts

Profile of thomasR
I don't think it's morally wrong. But I think it's the lazy way out. There is no challenge. I think it's more fun to see where things go with a truly random volunteer.
DavidThomas
View Profile
Loyal user
231 Posts

Profile of DavidThomas
We deceive for a living, if a stooge works, use it....just make sure it is natural and believable.
David Thomas
TheWorldofMagic.com
Magic Man 997
View Profile
New user
33 Posts

Profile of Magic Man 997
Quote:
On 2012-12-28 16:21, jugglestruck wrote:
I could be wrong but I get the feeling that if audiences know stooges are being used they would be pretty miffed. I think they would feel they had been conned in a way that is just unfair.

That is probably true but if the audience finds out the magician uses w***s, m*****s, etc.. they'd feel the same way but if you use stooges in a way the audience doesn't expect them they would be entertained and you've done your job. So to answer the original question the it's not wrong to use a stooge the problem is if the audience finds out what your doing (unless your a comedy magician and reveal/make it obvious your using a stooge then it's okay for them to know)

For camera tricks, in my opinion using after effects/post production editing should not be considered magic but a trick done in one take without using after effects is okay (db levitation, franz hararry's first car production)

things like mathemagic or solving a rubik's cube blindfolded are considered stunts not tricks because they are not impossible to do just extremely hard (in the minds of the spectator).

Marco Tempest does do magic it is impossible to pull something out of or put and object in a phone.

~Tyler
jugglestruck
View Profile
Inner circle
Wales
1038 Posts

Profile of jugglestruck
I still stand by what I said, I feel using stooges crosses a line....
freefallillusion1
View Profile
Elite user
Cincinnati, OH
446 Posts

Profile of freefallillusion1
Quote:
On 2013-09-18 17:07, jugglestruck wrote:
I still stand by what I said, I feel using stooges crosses a line....


What you said is that the audience would be unhappy if they knew the magician was using stooges. As pointed out earlier, the audience would also be a bit put off if they found out that the magic was accomplished with a mirror, thread, or trained muskrat. We have all been there at one time or another and seen a magician blow a trick (or just possibly, done that ourselves...) and the spectator discovers how something was done. They're usually disappointed!

Here's my take- I think that anything goes, literally anything, as long as it can be done in front of real people. That has always been the line between magicians and film makers. Steven Spielberg can do amazing things on the screen. But, there's a reason why people still went to see David Copperfield all those years (and still do)- they can see amazing things happen live in front of their own eyes. So, if Criss Angel shows an effect where he puts a girl into a cage at the zoo, and turns her into a tiger under conditions that would really be impossible, is that crossing a line? I say no, because he can back it up by doing it live. Yes, there's one crucial piece left out on TV, but the audience would never notice that when performed live. In their eyes they would see the same thing that Criss claimed he could do on TV. What he did on TV was to YouTube-proof the effect so that no moron could expose it. Fine. BUT- if the same guy show an effect that could never be done live (levitating over trees on a golf course, levitating from building to building outdoors, the list is huge), then that's doing nothing different than Spielberg.
jugglestruck
View Profile
Inner circle
Wales
1038 Posts

Profile of jugglestruck
Quote:
On 2013-09-19 10:05, freefallillusion1 wrote:
As pointed out earlier, the audience would also be a bit put off if they found out that the magic was accomplished with a mirror, thread, or trained muskrat.


But they wouldn't be surprised - the audience knows it's not "real" magic and there is an explanation. If the explanation is stooges then they would be doubly disappointed.
landmark
View Profile
Inner circle
within a triangle
4575 Posts

Profile of landmark
The conjurer, unlike the stage actor in a play, is in the same frame as her audience. That is, it's "in front of the curtain." Thus the requirement that even if it's on tv, there needs to be some confidence in the mind of the audience that it *could* have been done live. So, stooges, yes it's still magic; camera tricks, no, it's then part of the film art and not Our Magic.

Just something I've been thinking about--the difference in frames--trying to formulate it for myself...not sure if this is quite clear.
"I use my five illusions to create the sense I'm useful to six."



You can read my daily blog at Musings, Memories, and Magic
jugglestruck
View Profile
Inner circle
Wales
1038 Posts

Profile of jugglestruck
I hear what you are saying but I would put both stooges and camera tricks in the same category.
RobertlewisIR
View Profile
Veteran user
Colorado
366 Posts

Profile of RobertlewisIR
Would I use a stooge? Probably not. I have more fun getting legitimate spectators. Is it morally wrong? No. Is it cheating the audience? Well, yeah, but so is literally everything a magician does. The whole point is to do the impossible, and since these things are impossible, we need to cheat. The audience is only cheated if they are not entertained, and if a stooge is the way to entertain the audience, go for it. But down that road lies the trap of detection. If you use a stooge, you might be in for a bit of trouble. If it's a one-time show, fine--whatever. But if it's part of your regular act, one of two things will happen. 1) Someone likes the show so much they come back the next day and see the same "audience volunteer," and the illusion is shattered. 2) You're smart enough to use a rotation of stooges, which multiplies both your expense and the number of potential sources of leaked information. That's why we generally don't use stooges as far as I'm concerned. Not because it's "morally wrong" but because a) it's not as fun, and b) it's asking to get caught.

As for camera tricks. Are they morally wrong? Probably not. Morality is a very personal and subjective thing. However, I do think there's an important distinction and I don't believe in camera tricks, and here is why. Several weeks ago, I went to the pictures and saw Godzilla (if you haven't, go see it--it's excellent). In that film, I saw giant monsters fight and level cities. That is what can be accomplished with camera tricks. I am a magician. I cannot do that in my show. The minute we start using camera tricks, we're just making movies. Movie magic is a different kind of magic, and finding someone's card isn't going to compete with Godzilla at the box office. What sets magic apart is that it can be done to a live audience. Don't get me wrong--I think magic on TV is great. But I think it needs to be done to a live audience, and with a disclaimer (which is the truth) that no camera trickery is used. Because the minute we lose that credibility that we can do it live, we're competing against Hollywood. Furthermore, if some magicians do it and get away with it, it's really just going to make things a bit harder for the rest of us, when audiences expect us to do things that cannot be done. Do I think that's going to be a serious problem? No. Last time I asked some non-magicians what they thought of a particular magic special (which shall not be named *cough*cough*), they suspected camera trickery. It doesn't hurt anyone else, but it earned the performer no respect from at least that part of the audience.
~Bob



----------



Last night, I dreamed I ate the world's largest marshmallow. When I woke up, the pillow was gone.
AussieChris
View Profile
New user
Melbourne, Australia
6 Posts

Profile of AussieChris
I like this question and have been thinking about it for a while now. I do not like stooges, however I like magicians, entertainment, and an excited crowd.
Does it really matter if there is a stooge? Is the crowd entertained anyway? What is the goal? Was it achieved?

I'm coming to realise that it would be seen immoral to a fellow magician, or analyst. However, to anyone else it is entertaining and not sure how it's done, or they don't care.
Specially TV Magic... that's another world, and I've realised it is much easier to just not compare it to live entertainment. Just don't do it. Better to treat them separate.

"AND yet we call it MAGIC. WHY???"
Usually any magician entertaining a crowd is called magic. It just needs a bit of mystery, nothing more. Deeper down this means that tricks do not need to be supre impossible to entertain. Some keep searching for the most amazing tricks only later to realise that a simpler trick left the crowd more amazed Smile

Entertainers get further in this industry that just a Magician. Look at Criss A., the amount of crap he uses to entertain people through a DVD is stomach irritating, but in the end, the main goal is to entertain the viewer, nothing else should trump that. Yes, it's lying to the 10th degree. Is it immoral? no idea.
jugglestruck
View Profile
Inner circle
Wales
1038 Posts

Profile of jugglestruck
Nice 1st post AussieChris.
Terapin
View Profile
New user
91 Posts

Profile of Terapin
I honestly don't see why it's worse than a gaffed deck or a shell coin.
thethirteensteps
View Profile
New user
54 Posts

Profile of thethirteensteps
I think it's telling that this issue keeps on popping up. No one questions the morality of a double lift.
jugglestruck
View Profile
Inner circle
Wales
1038 Posts

Profile of jugglestruck
But people do question the morality of TV magicians using stooges in the crowds. I feel there is a great difference between the two.
silvercup
View Profile
Loyal user
223 Posts

Profile of silvercup
No it's not.
Steve_Mollett
View Profile
Inner circle
Eh, so I've made
3010 Posts

Profile of Steve_Mollett
As Doc Shiels once said, "Magic is what you can get away with--isn't it?!?"
Author of: GARROTE ESCAPES
The absurd is the essential concept and the first truth.
- Albert Camus
Dorian Rhodell
View Profile
Inner circle
San Francisco, CA.
1624 Posts

Profile of Dorian Rhodell
Stooges or "shills" have been used for so many things such as taking money, possessions, magic tricks, mind reading and even setting up jokes.

Eddie Fechter had great and VERY funny jokes, lines and bits of business using shills.
There are many stories about some of magic's finest (Dai Vernon, etc.) using shills to great effect. And if you listen to the stories from those who were there, none of them were offended. Why? Because it was all in jest and no one was hurt.
Is it immoral to use a shill? It depends upon how "legitimate" you want to be perceived.
You have to take into account your persona and how you interact with your audience.
When I perform, I quickly get them on my side. And when they're with me, I can get away with murder (note I do that without a shill!)
If you believe it to be immoral, maybe your gut is telling you something you should listen to.
If you don't believe it's immoral (like I do) as long as no one is hurt, then try it out and have some fun.
If you don't use a shill in some instances because you're too proud, then you are not using a tool that can be deadly.

Best,

Dorian Rhodell
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Helping hands » » Is it morally wrong to use stooges? (6 Likes)
 Go to page 1~2 [Next]
[ Top of Page ]
All content & postings Copyright © 2001-2018 Steve Brooks. All Rights Reserved.
This page was created in 0.16 seconds requiring 5 database queries.
The views and comments expressed on The Magic Café
are not necessarily those of The Magic Café, Steve Brooks, or Steve Brooks Magic.
> Privacy Statement <

ROTFL Billions and billions served! ROTFL