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Topic: All the "ethical" threads in here
Message: Posted by: Lawrence O (Jun 10, 2010 01:45PM)
Is it not ironic that the ones who are, by nature, professional (or amateur) liars are the ones who speak the most about "ethics" and similar considerations in their art.

We invent (in-venire means come into, or discover meaning take the cover off) and want to appear as creators: just another big lie.

All of this seems to me to be pure wishful commercial protection by the ones who "borrowed" a lot themselves and have very little ground in their claim for being protected. Can an actor protect his interpretation of Hamlet or Cyrano de Bergerac?
Message: Posted by: dmueller (Jun 10, 2010 02:40PM)
I have been in semi lurker mode lately: reading much and typing little. But this strikes a chord with me.

In many ways the commercialization of magic seems detrimental to the code of ethics we claim to uphold. And I do not mean simply in the internet age, but further back than that. With the exception of new materials for props, how much genuinely new magic is there?

Ricky Jay in his "History Lesson" makes a comment that "Anthropologists love the idea of independent invention", but it seems like it is a budding magicians nightmare.

I will use a personal example. I have spent a good deal of time playing around with IT. I have purchased very little in the way of actual teaching materials for the subject, due to major financial constraints. In the course of my brain storming, I came up with a method that I fell in love with. I discussed my new found idea with a fellow magician and was informed that what I was doing is almost exactly like the Steve Fearson hook up. I have not had a chance to verify this myself, but will take my friends word for it. Before I developed my method I had heard of Mr Fearson, but never even watched a demo of his stuff.

Now for the part that gets troublesome. There are those who espouse the belief that since I have been made aware of the similarities between the two methods, I should stop doing it the way that I developed until I have bought Mr Fearson's DVD. I know it would be unethical of me to produce my own DVD teaching this method, but what about performance? Am I not entitled to the thoughts that come from my creative/problem solving side?
Message: Posted by: meilechl (Jun 10, 2010 04:40PM)
Why would it be unethical of you to teach this method? If you've come up with this on your own, it's yours.
Message: Posted by: dmueller (Jun 10, 2010 05:14PM)
Because it is a method already being marketed. That is a matter of personal opinion and just the kind of person I am. That and I am not out to make money off of my magic. I perform for the sake of performing, typically for small gatherings of friends and family.

Another enigmatic part of this equation is burden of proof. Often times this burden is laid at the feet of the "copycat" to prove that their method was not gleaned through nefarious efforts. While in the rest of the civilized world the burden of proof lands on the accuser instead of the accused.
Message: Posted by: Steve_Mollett (Jun 10, 2010 07:08PM)
Kellar flat out stole Maskelyne's levitation and walked off whistling, and we're worrying about the ethics of 'parallel development.'.
Message: Posted by: Magic Spank (Jun 10, 2010 07:22PM)
[quote]
On 2010-06-10 15:40, dmueller wrote:

Now for the part that gets troublesome. There are those who espouse the belief that since I have been made aware of the similarities between the two methods, I should stop doing it the way that I developed until I have bought Mr Fearson's DVD. I know it would be unethical of me to produce my own DVD teaching this method, but what about performance? Am I not entitled to the thoughts that come from my creative/problem solving side?
[/quote]


Sure you can do what you want with it. But as far as selling a DVD goes, Fearson is recognized worldwide and has won numerous awards for his work. That's a big part of why people will buy his stuff. It's more than just the methods, it's the reputation he's built using them, and the time he's spent demontrating the value of those methods. Truth is though, he probably could have built the reputation with other methods.

Of course you can make a DVD, but to sell it you'd have to make yourself marketable as well.

So in response to the original poster, Laurence. The majority of people you may be referring to may have a lot more invested than simply claiming to have invented this or that. You might say the invention is not the only thing they have going for them necessarily, or you probably wouldn't have heard of them in the first place.

Maybe I'm off track here, but those are my thoughts :)
Message: Posted by: dmueller (Jun 10, 2010 07:47PM)
Magic Spank,

Thanks for your input on the DVD aspect of the scenario presented above, but might I inquire as to your thoughts on performance. Should I continue using the method I developed independently or should I cease performance because there is a DVD available that teaches the method that I have not purchased?
Message: Posted by: Magic Spank (Jun 10, 2010 07:58PM)
I think you should investigate further so you know if the method is in fact the same or not.

People are quick to discredit new methods. And they like to look like experts :)
Message: Posted by: dmueller (Jun 10, 2010 08:09PM)
For the sake of exposition, lets assume that I have shown multiple people, and the consensus is that it is the same method.
Message: Posted by: Magic Spank (Jun 10, 2010 08:12PM)
Well then you've independently created the same method. I can't imagine any issues performing it, other than magicians telling you it's already been done.

You could easily solve that problem by cancelling all your performances for magicians!
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Jun 11, 2010 11:32AM)
[quote]
On 2010-06-10 14:45, Lawrence O wrote:
Is it not ironic that the ones who are, by nature, professional (or amateur) liars are the ones who speak the most about "ethics" and similar considerations in their art

We invent (in-venire means come into, or discover meaning take the cover off) and want to appear as creators: just another big lie.

All of this seems to me to be pure wishful commercial protection by the ones who "borrowed" a lot themselves and have very little ground in their claim for being protected. Can an actor protect his interpretation of Hamlet or Cyrano de Bergerac?
[/quote]
Would you care to defend that hypothesis, Lawrence? Who are these professional and amateur liars? I think the lack of ethics in magic is obvious and deplorable, and I am not aware that I am lying.

As to "commercial protection" what is wrong with that, especially in a time when general apathy allows almost anything to go unchallenged? Further, I am not sure actors have the same challenges. Would any professional actor try to "borrow" the nuances of Cary Grant? Would any comedian worth the title imitate Steve Martin?

Interested in your reasoning, if you will...

Regards,

Jim
Message: Posted by: funsway (Jun 20, 2010 09:50AM)
Liar? some of my favorite effects are where you tell the truth and no one believes it.
Message: Posted by: Magic Spank (Jun 20, 2010 08:52PM)
[quote]
On 2010-06-20 10:50, funsway wrote:
Liar? some of my favorite effects are where you tell the truth and no one believes it.
[/quote]

Why don't I believe you?

:)
Message: Posted by: Servante (Jun 20, 2010 09:22PM)
I think by "liars" Lawrence means the act of doing magic is the act of "lying," because it's not really a miracle.
As it happens, I make my living in show business (I started with magic and vent as a kid, and still do it for selected groups), and have heard the argument before that actors are "liars." But a liar is someone who tries to present falsehood as truth. Audiences know that actors aren't the people they play...else the ticket buyers would jump up on the stage and stop the villain; and they know magicians aren't doing real miracles, or they wouldn't waste their time onstage and would, instead, have religions built around them.

The fundamental difference, of course, is any audience's willing suspension of disbelief.

As for not truly "inventing," and protecting our commercial income, well...I am reminded of Sir Isaac Newton's quote, "If I have seen farther it is by standing on the shoulders of giants."
Like most arts and crafts, magicians learn from their progenitors and, it is hoped, improve upon what they learn and pass it on into the future.

Sometimes it may be hard to know who created what..and when. Sometimes an idea's time comes and it is invented in many places. The television, for instance, seems to have been invented by many men in many nations all in roughly the same time frame. The airplane came about in much the same way.

I "invented" a cigarette palm move once upon a time when I was very young. Showed it to a few other magicians who claimed never to have seen it before...but then, as I grew older, it was pointed out to me that it is an old move, with a name of its own.

Perhaps it is.

Sometimes it's just really difficult to know who owns what, isn't it?
You simply must, as Jiminy Cricket says, let your conscience be your guide. :)

-Philip
Message: Posted by: Servante (Jun 20, 2010 09:23PM)
My, how I do go on.
Message: Posted by: Pakar Ilusi (Jun 21, 2010 07:44AM)
[quote]
On 2010-06-20 22:23, Servante wrote:
My, how I do go on.
[/quote]

And I hope you never stop.

Nice post.

:online:
Message: Posted by: Servante (Jun 21, 2010 09:54AM)
Thank you, Pakar. As Mark Twain said, I can live on a compliment like that for two weeks with no other provisions in sight. :)

-Philip
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Jun 21, 2010 12:15PM)
I think more deceptive than liar.
Message: Posted by: Servante (Jun 21, 2010 01:04PM)
Exactly. Because the magician enters into a contract with the audience. They know it's not "real," but, to borrow a term from Stanislavsky, it must be "true." Don't take your audience for fools. Don't "cheat" by having the lights go out or turning your back...be "true." Don't violate the contract.

When your target knows that they are being well deceived, they are well entertained.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Jun 27, 2010 08:34AM)
Now add a little more understanding of Mr Newton as a person and the "truth" of his works might resonate more among this group.
Message: Posted by: Servante (Jun 27, 2010 10:57AM)
Yes, Jonathan, I know about Newton. I think the quote still has value.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Jun 27, 2010 11:37AM)
[quote]
On 2010-06-27 11:57, Servante wrote:
Yes, Jonathan, I know about Newton. I think the quote still has value.
[/quote]

IMHO it's not as bad as citing the Clarke quote. I agree about the quote being of value and likely honest though not quite at face value. He's the alchemist who turned gold into copper. Gotta thank him for Swift though, I guess. Can't wait till folks figure out the context of "the necronomicon".

BTW, do you happen to have a citation for the Seneca quote about luck being where preparation meets opportunity?
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Jun 27, 2010 11:59AM)
http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Who_said_luck_is_when_opportunity_meets_preparation