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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Food for thought » » Politics and Magic? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

KornbergMagic
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One rarely hears about magic dealing with political issues, or at least that is my general impression.

We've all heard about Robert-Houdin using the light/heavy chest to fend off revolution in Algeria, or that Houdini was popular because he represented the new immigrant breaking out of the establishment's jails. But other than those examples, I'm not really aware of magic mixing much with politics.

Am I right or wrong on this one?
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Bill Palmer
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In some of the back issues of the Jinx and the Phoenix there were some political tricks.

They are generally avoided on the Café because political and religious references other than in the gospel forum are generally against the rules.

You can script anything to have a political message if you wish (to alienate half of your audience).
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jimtron
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I'm not sure if this is what you had in mind, but Jeb Bush recently "unleashed" his "mystical warrior" friend at a swearing in ceremony the other day. Here is an article about it.
Jonathan Townsend
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Is that Chang or "Chug!" ?
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Skip Way
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Political commentary has a way of polarizing your audience for or against you...and it takes the smallest little thing sometimes. I use political humor in my adult and family shows...but it is always generic in nature ["That's how Congress speaks..."] or balanced [Pick on both sides openly]. For this reason, I will not put political decals or emblems on my showmobile or wardrobe. I will not perform at fundraisers or rallies for either party free of charge. My best clients live in the over-the-top liberal town of Chapel Hill, NC...and they can sniff out and tree a conservative at a hundred paces!

There are countless actors, actresses and businesses that I boycott because I disagree with their "in-your-face" "Listen-to-me-because-I'm-a-star" B.S. support for one political cause or another. For them, it's a minor thing. For a local performer...it can be the death of your business.

Skip
How you leave others feeling after an Experience with you becomes your Trademark.

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Payne
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Penn and Teller have several "political" and "societal commentary" pieces in their show.
"America's Foremost Satirical Magician" -- Jeff McBride.
Skip Way
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Quote:
On 2005-09-22 11:15, Payne wrote:
Penn and Teller have several "political" and "societal commentary" pieces in their show.

Yup...and I love them for it. But, they keep it pretty generic by ridiculing the entire system, not one party over an another...generally. Political humor and satirical commentary, when well done, unify us through laughter. When done poorly, they polarize us into defensive and offensive groups...which is harmful to a business' success. No?

Skip
How you leave others feeling after an Experience with you becomes your Trademark.

Magic Youth Raleigh - RaleighMagicClub.org
oagwood
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I think it is ok if you only make fun of hippies. Other than that it could be taboo.

oliver
drwilson
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Unless you want to alienate people, ask yourself what Will Rodgers or Mark Twain would say. As Skip suggests, that kind of lay-it-on-both sides approach is OK. Look at how the Capital Steps do it.

Yours,

Paul
Vandy Grift
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Exactly. I was thinking about Will Rodgers. With Will Rogers it was always a kind of us (normal folks) against them (Politicans). He did make some specific comments but generally he would just joke about the Institution as a whole.
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Patrick Differ
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Sex, politics, and religion are always such touchy subjects! That's why I love them so!

What about a bipartisan approach? It's just a thought.
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Oh no, no, said the little Fly, to ask me is in vain,
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Vandy Grift
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I think you hve to look at the comedy and remember why you are presenting it. If you simply want to grind an axe and make partisan political statements, you're going to alienate people as Skip says. If you straddle the fence and make sure there is enough shots taken at both sides it could be done. It's tricky but do-able. Most folks would stay away from it because you really can "push some buttons" when you delve into politics.
"Get a life dude." -some guy in a magic forum
Frank Tougas
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Genni magazine ran an article a year or so back about a famous magician who actually wrote a book of magic tricks intended to be used as a manual for the CIA (or similar) on the art of assasination. They had a chapter or two included in the magazine.

I am at work and don't have time to look it up, but I am sure there are some astute readers out there who have a little better organized system for keeping their magazines that could point you in the right direction. Otherwise contact Genii magazine direct for the reference.

As far as fundraising and partying, both political parties have invited magicians to inagural balls, to the White House for special performances etc. In fact George Bush appeared at the most recent Republican convention by way of an illusion - the crossed panels.

Frank Tougas
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Paul Sherman
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The magician was John Mulholland. The issue was April 2001.

Good article.
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some youtube videos
Joe Russell
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I agree. Only if its about hippies
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Shnarker
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This reminds me of when I took a magic class. One of the students performed a routine, with the scripting essentially knocking my candidate and beliefs. The presentation was clean technically. However, I was not thrilled. The actual lesson I learned was if I wasn't pleased about that, there is a darn good chance others would not be pleased either. Why ruin a good performance with that? The audience, in my view, will long remember you for your commentary, and not your talent.
There is so much divisiveness (sp?) politically in the US. I personally use my performance time to take people to another place. We have plenty of talking heads to contend with. I won't be one of them.
Lee Darrow
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Watch it, you guys. Remember, Abby Hoffmann wound up on Wall Street and Jane Fonda was married to Ted Turner! Some of those old hippies are part of the Establishment - and the rest of us old hippies have a term for them:


SELLOUTS!!!!!


:lol:

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<BR>"Because NICE Matters!"
landmark
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Whether politics should mix with magic depends on who your audience is, doesn't it? And how you wish to be perceived.

Also, one more classic intermingling of politics and magic from Steinmeyer's terrific Hiding the Elephant:

"When Selbit introduced the Sawing [a lady in half] in 1921, one of his earliest publicity stunts was to offer Christabel Pankhurst twenty pounds a week to serve as a permanent sawing block for his illusion. Christable and Sylvia Pankhurst, together with their mother, Emmeline, had been leaders in the British woman's suffrage movement."

Jack Shalom
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