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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Food for thought » » Is it right to "kill"? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Alex Linian
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"During my show, I fried my audience, then I killed them, then I destroyed them"

Should we be using these words when refering to our beloved spectators?

If in the next two weeks more than fifty people agree that we should get rid of these words from our vocabulary, I will start an underground movement against them.

If there are any other expressions you don't like, express them here.

Alex Linian
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I don't like the word "evolution," which implies a loving Creator didn't make us. This is part and parcel of disrespect for what humans are, and lead to the kind of language you object to, Alex. I want to gather great numbers of people to prevent the use of language which I object to, although such prevention should not be applied to my own language.

Will you stand behind my wish to get rid of someone else's right to expression and point of view, or will you instead object to my own attempt to force others to my beliefs?

I just think it ironic when someone objects to someone else being able to express themselves, without thinking of the consequences...
Partizan
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Alex, They are the words of ego.

A magician that uses them does not empathize with their audience but this does not mean they are wrong.
"You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus."
- Mark Twain
Pablo Leal
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"During my show, I fried my audience, then I killed them, then I destroyed them"??..... Who said that Alex?
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Jonathan Townsend
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It is tempting to describe one's audience as an animal which has moods and can require some handling.

My "favorite" audience management description comes from a long time working pro whose goal is to:

"Hit them in the head, tie them in a knot and get off"

If you know the sense of the words as used, it's not such a poor description of getting attention and interest by impressing them, making them laugh and finishing one's act while they like you.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
Skip Way
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Fry, Kill and Destroy...These are terms that date back to Vaudevillean days. They were "backstage" slang terms used to describe a performer's (primarily comics) effect on an audience often viewed as adversarial. An antagonistic relationship was regularly...and justly...presumed between performer and audience...and the terms simply evolved from this environment.

Since modern day comedians, variety artists and magicians have their roots in Vaudeville, the terms have become a part of our current lexicon. If you don't like the terms...don't use them. Kindly leave the rest of us...who understand and appreciate the inside humor of the terms...alone.

God save us from tongue-in-cheek crusaders,
Skip
How you leave others feeling after an Experience with you becomes your Trademark.

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drwilson
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There is a really excellent use of the language of warfare in the context of street performing in The Secret Art of Magic, one of the most refreshing books on the theory of magic in my library. You really ought to read this book, but just as one thought from it, consider that our act either kills or it dies.

Magic is war, waged on the minds of the audience. This does not mean that we do not respect our audience. They are at least as smart as we are, if not more so. We are often self-deluded, and self-delusion is one of our worst adversaries in deception.

Sun Tzu teaches us that success in warfare depends on overwhelming odds and generous terms. Overwhelming odds in this case means that our routines are very carefully planned, rehearsed, and audience-tested. Generous terms in this case means that we respect our worthy adversaries (the audience), and once we have defeated their minds, we generously welcome them into the enjoyable world of the fantasy entertainment that we have created. We do not snicker at them because we fooled them.

Yours,

Paul
Alex Linian
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Hey I don't know how I feel about these expressions...that's why I'm asking.
drwilson
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Perhaps we of the early twenty-first century do not like the language of warfare because the nature of warfare has changed since the time of Sun Tzu. In his day, they did not kill civilians by pushing buttons from a great distance away, and did not react to a powerful opponent by killing civilians in suicide attacks.

Yours,

Paul
Alex Linian
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Quote:
On 2005-11-15 05:10, Pablo Leal wrote:
"During my show, I fried my audience, then I killed them, then I destroyed them"??..... Who said that Alex?

Ok...I might have exagerated a little...i havn't heard anyone say exactly that, but they do say similar, not as harsh, things. They do use those words though.
Frank Simpson
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These terms, as noted above, are simply euphemisms. In certain context among performers, they have a completely different meaning. It is merely a form of shorthand. To say "I killed tonight" is shorthand for "my show went very well and the audience ate it up"....Oops! Ate it up... now am I in danger of accusing my audience of obesity?

I have never heard of or seen a performer go out and use this terminology directly to their audience. "Good evening ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the show. Tonight I hope to kill you, lay you in the aisles, and destroy you!"

Every industry has its own lingo. In show biz when you tell someone to "break a leg" you are not wishing them harm. In fact, quite the contrary. And in the world at large you can't even say that someone is gay without it meaning something other than the word's original meaning...
Alex Linian
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Yeah, probably

Anyways...
Whit Haydn
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If you don't kill them, slay them, bury them, etc., then you "die on stage."

These kinds of statements are descriptive of how it feels to be in front of a tough audience and either "win" or "lose." To "connect" with a crowd, or to "develop a rapport" does not at all describe the tension, the conflict, or the victory and the defeat of performing.

The stakes are very high to someone who makes his living by successfully surviving these "performances" one show at a time. To use the more neutral, "audience friendly" terms makes it sound like we had a "helpful" or "unhelpful" group therapy session.

In the same way, we can say "There is no such thing as a bad audience."

This is a great thought to take with you onto the stage, and helps you to have a positive attitude toward your work.

Once off stage, though, you can decide that that particular audience was "tough," "sucked," or was "dead on arrival."

There may be performers who can win over any audience, but maybe they didn't see the old Quincy episode where Don Rickles played a Borscht Belt comic in front of an audience of townies who believed falsely that he was a child molestor.

They sat and stared at him with undimmed hatred while he vainly tried to win them over. The impact of that experience forced the comic into a catatonic state. That was what I would call a bad audience, and not "our beloved spectators."

The character Don Rickles played so beautifully, was destroyed by the rejection of a single audience.

A similar experience was portrayed in Limelight by Charlie Chaplin. A great and famous comedian had a truly bad audience on one night, and his confidence was broken forever. He never performed again.

The stakes are high. The terms are more accurate in their application than most non-professionals ever realize.

There is nothing wrong with a performer arming himself with a warrior mantle when he steps before the blinding lights of the stage.
Josh Riel
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This begs the question: If the majority makes the rules, do the minority have to follow? If they do, what would your reaction be if, lets say, your point of view turned out to be in the minority?

Anyway, I usually use the term "Caused their intestines to rupture and eyes bleed" so this whole thing doesn't apply to me.
Magic is doing improbable things with odd items that, under normal circumstances, would be unnessecary and quite often undesirable.
George Ledo
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Fried... killed... destroyed... sounds like someone talking about a football game... Smile
That's our departed buddy Burt, aka The Great Burtini, doing his famous Cups and Mice routine
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Joe Russell
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I don't like the word "Muggle" as everyone knows, and I agree with Alex I think we should come up with some friendlier terms, "man, I blew the heads off those spectators with a sawed off shotgun" - not so friendly however I do like the word "fried" I use that some times. 1 vote for you Alex.
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Michael Baker
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WYYYS
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Jaz
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I prefer to not do harm by frying, killing or destroying but I do like to
blow them out of the water, freak'em out and leave them gaga. Smile
RandyStewart
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If you don't "kill" the "muggles" let me know who you are so I don't waste time or money on the show.

*Note to self and do it now!* Bookmark http://www.thesaurus.com
Bill Palmer
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It's important to get the order of the words right.

First you kill the audience, then you fry them, then you destroy them. It may take a bit of thought to understand why this is important.

It's like the fellow who was trying to instruct the pillagers.

"First, you rape. Then you kill. Then you steal. Then you burn the village."

So, why don't we substitute other words?

I really maimed the audience.

I poached them.

I pressure roasted them.

I seriously affected their senses of reality.

Really, this all boils down to YOUR preferences.

I don't generally call laymen "muggles." That's not because I find the term demeaning or derogatory. It's because I just don't usually use that term.

I don't generally jump offstage and say "I really FRIED that crowd. I KILLED tonight. I totally DESTROYED them." I don't find it useful.

But I'm not uncomfortable with those words.

And if ANYONE on this forum thinks he or she has the right to tell me I can't use them, then he or she is seriously wrong.

Don't you think you could find something better to do with your time? Like practice?
"The Swatter"

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My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

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