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Topic: Magicians are weird
Message: Posted by: Steve Malco (Jun 25, 2019 01:37PM)
I was taking a walk with my SO earlier this evening while having a conversation about Extraterrestrials (we had only finished watching 'Bob Lazar: Area 51 & Flying Saucers' documentary on Netflix) and the thought occurred - How would I explain magic/sleight of hand to an Alien from outer space? I began speaking out loud as if I really was trying to communicate it to beings not of our planet and the more I spoke the more ridiculous magic/sleight of hand seemed even to myself in a comical way.

Think about it.

Musicians, Athletes, Ballet dancers, Painters, etc; practice thousands of hours over the course of many years to hone their abilities to become world class at what they do.

They show off their hard work and bask in the accolades, praises. monetary gain and ATTENTION. All but one of these professions need to be seen to be appreciated and for their hard work to be worth the effort.

Magicians? We also practice thousands of hours over many years to hone our abilities so they will NEVER be seen!

If you didn't know anything about sleight of hand and had this conversation with someone:

Magician: "I've been working on my bottom deal."

You: "What's a bottom deal?"

Magician: "It's a technique in which the bottom card from a deck of playing cards is dealt instead of the top card and I've dedicated the last 2 and a half years and 3000 hours developing it."

You: "Why?"

Magician: "So nobody can see me do it."

You would look at them like they were a Psycho and that's just one example of many. LOL!

We're practicing a very beautiful and very strange art. No?
Message: Posted by: GlennLawrence (Jun 26, 2019 01:27PM)
Magicians are weird for a lot more reasons than just that! That's OK, who wants to be "normal" and boring?
Message: Posted by: WitchDocChris (Jun 27, 2019 11:00AM)
Basketball players don't practice for thousands of hours to show you their form. They practice for thousands of hours to get the ball in the net.

Artists aren't showing you their brush technique - they're showing you the pictures they painted with those brush techniques.

Puppeteers work to minimize their visual/psychological presence when performing, because the desired end result is the puppets enacting a story.

Actors are not showing the process they use to inhabit a character, you're just seeing the character.

Focusing on the sleights is focusing on the tools, not the desired end result. No weirder than any other craftsman, I'd say.
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Aug 24, 2019 11:46AM)
Very well said, Chris! Some of these "Johnny come latelys", put their mouth in gear, before engaging their brain.

I think Steve and Josh, are JCLs!
Message: Posted by: AceOfShades (Aug 26, 2019 09:22PM)
A lot of the practice is not just doing things invisibly though. It's stagecraft, performance, character, scripting, perhaps marketing, etc. And sure you spend a lot of hours practicing sleights and methods that will never be seen but, as others have said, that's not really the point. The practice is for the sake of the experience you can provide others using said sleights, in isolation they are not particularly interesting apart from perhaps an exercise in juggling.

That being said, I definitely spend many hours practicing things that I never really plan on using, and it is weird. If it is for personal satisfaction, keeping my hands busy, or building dexterity I do not know. And I certainly struggle to explain that to others.
Message: Posted by: funsway (Aug 26, 2019 10:01PM)
To me it is natural and satisfying to spend hours creating new magic moves or effects in my head, role playing scenarios for different views and mentally using various sleights.
What is weird to me is folks chatting endlessly with strangers, playing video games during road trip or eating mac and cheese at a buffet.

I could not easily explain any of those activities to an alien. Magic would be easy, as any intelligence would enjoy astonishment.
Message: Posted by: Al Schneider (Aug 27, 2019 05:49AM)
This reminds me of a guy that said money is stupid.
You can walk into a store, get a loaf of bread and a carton of milk, give someone a piece of paper that has a five on it; and walk out of the store with milk and bread. It just doesn't make sense.
Message: Posted by: pabloinus (Aug 27, 2019 07:53AM)
Well, the $5 is the closest to bartering that we can get, and it is also magical, the only reason that you can buy something with a paper is because of the trick that make us believe that paper is actually worth a loaf of bread and carton of milk. :-)

If you think an alien was able to get to Earth, it means that their technology and compression of the laws of mathematics and physics is well beyond our understanding. Maybe he will smile when you make a coin travel from hand to hand, understanding that it is impossible or he will think that you have a Star Trek teleport in your finger ring and he will be amazed. Who knows

BTW I think it was Michio Kaku who said that for an alien that could travel to Earth, the intellectual, technology and way of seeing things would be so different as an ant at the side of a road looking at how a human build a road. Who knows two ...

Personally I like magicians, they are kind of weird with their little things, finger here and not there, bend like this and not like that, but when you pass that, they are very entertaining folks. Go Magic
Message: Posted by: william_oconnell (Sep 29, 2019 07:09PM)
Penn and Teller were in a short film called "Invisible Thread" that was about trying to explain magic to aliens.


Then again, it's totally possible the aliens would have magic too. We don't really know how likely any given behavior/trait is to develop in a species as intelligent as humanity since so far we're the only example we've got.
Message: Posted by: Hare (Oct 8, 2019 11:32AM)
All artists practice behind the scenes for years, and it's only the result of their labors that are appreciated- the same as magic. All of the arts have "magic" that when created by an expert, seems simple, elegant, and mysteriously invisible in the labor involved. All are somehow magical It's in the way the lines appear on paper, the music wafts through the hall, the story the author tells comes alive, etc. Magician's are no different in this respect.

Magicians are rather original in other ways- in the amount of personal and immediate attention they receive, rather than focus on their art itself, for instance, and the solitary and egotistic nature of their work. Where actors and film makers "share the stage" and credit, and musicians, painters, and writers tend to have accolades laid upon their product, the magician sucks up the attention immediately themselves- rather than their paintings or novels representing their work and "taking the limelight", with magic, it's generally an individual, a sort of one man theatre of his or her own glammering across the stage or club or boardwalk.

In my opinion, that is where magic and magicians differ from a lot of the other arts.
Message: Posted by: Pop Haydn (Oct 17, 2019 05:22PM)
In "The Sociology of Knowledge" the authors point out that an anthropologist from a primitive Bantu tribe in Africa would ask very strange questions when studying American suburbia, i.e., "Where do the ghosts of your ancestors walk?"
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Nov 3, 2019 07:12PM)

Almost asked if this set comes with a fifth ball so you can do the trick out of the box. ;)
Message: Posted by: plungerman (Nov 14, 2019 04:51PM)
I used to have this same discussion as a juggler at conventions. We hide our skill as magicians and show it off as jugglers.
In all cases it is a matter of presenting a context in which our skills can be appreciated.

Mystery always takes more explaining than throwing and catching.

Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Nov 19, 2019 02:53PM)
What would those Bantu make of our cable stations offering classic TV episodes? Or of Bugs Bunny (hare)?
Message: Posted by: Pop Haydn (Nov 19, 2019 04:23PM)
F.B. Nightingale (Nightingale the Mystifier) wrote a book about his travels in the Orient with his magic show around 1915.

He visited a head hunter tribe in Borneo, and showed them magic and a silent movie. The members of the tribe had never seen a deck of cards, or any modern devices. He changed a card by sleight of hand, and the chief grabbed the card out of his hand. He examined it carefully, and tried to pry it open. He then held it up to the sun to see if he could see the missing card inside. Finally, he scratched his head and laughed and handed the card back to the magician. He published several photos of the experience.

The tribe settled down to watch the movie projected on a screen. It was a Chaplin film, and the audience had never seen buses, cars, brick buildings or almost anything in the film. It was like a surreal landscape to them. But whenever someone got a pie in the face, or fell down on their butts, the group would laugh and smile at each other.
Message: Posted by: Silversleights04 (Dec 5, 2019 10:30AM)
Magic and magicians are a curious breed... but so are jugglers when you think about it. They throw things up and catch them, but in patterns and high rates of speed... hmmm, most peculiar humans.

Fun side note: If you go by Max Maven's thinking in Kayfabe, pro-wrestlers and magicians actually have a great deal in common as performance artists. Both spend their time training and honing skills to present dual-realities of staged events (a secret presenting a false reality) in narrative formats that captivate audiences amazed at the hidden talents presented as apparent feats and astounding human abilities. Wrestling just happens to use more about the combat and uses the body as a physical medium, but they still have their props, characters, and costumes just the same. I would love to watch someone explain to aliens why we present apparent feats of astonishing violence as a narrative drama for entertainment, ages 10+! XD
Message: Posted by: countrymaven (Jan 8, 2020 09:06PM)
We as magicians are weird. Almost nobody else LOVES CREATING THE ILLUSION OF THE IMPOSSIBLE as much as we do. Some magicians love pursuing this so much they almost can't get routines together. They are pursuing too much material. But is sure is a good thing to be friends with a like minded magician. Who is weird like me.

As long as they can keep their ego under control, magicians are cool and weird.