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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Right or Wrong? » » TV specials and ethical dilemma (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Paul
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Keep batting Chris, I can basically sit on the sidelines because you are doing a great job and I agree with you 100%.

Yes, magic can and will adapt, but that doesn't help the worker who suddenly goes out to work and finds people explaining loudly how part of his act was accomplished because they just saw it on TV. It can and does affect working performers now.

Yes, Annemann did complain about it, and rightly so, in the Jinx in the thirties. It can and does hurt individual performers and magic as a whole by trivializing it and giving the impression no skill is required it is all simple store bought gimmicks anyone can do.

And if anyone thinks things aren't any different now than in Annemann's day with regard to exposure I think they aren't taking a good look around.

Oh, sorry Chris, I didn't mean to interupt.

Paul Smile
filmyak
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__________________
this thread was started by a gentleman musing about what he would do if asked to work on such an expose. I am thrilled that he felt he would decline, even though he knew that there would always be somebody else waiting in the wings...I would go farther in suggesting that he should consider not working for the producer under any circumstances.
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Chris, I'm the guy who started this, and I've been reading with great interest everyone's replies.

First I have to reiterate that I have not been asked to cut one of these shows, nor do I have any idea if more are being made. I currently work for another producer who is partners with the "revealed" series producers on OTHER shows that I do not currently work on.

I'm standing by my original statement that I believe I'd turn down cutting those shows. Then again, if the actors go on strike for 6 months AGAIN and I'm in danger of losing my home because all the work is gone (happened 2 years ago), I can't realistically say my ethics would be as much in the forefront. Just being honest. Sometimes pro magicians have to take that $50 bday party as someone mentioned a few posts back, and sometime editors have to work on infomercials or shows we despise just to make ends meet.

That said, I also restate that my editing a show or not has ZERO effect on the show getting made. At this point, even the producer could decline (not that I think he would) and Fox would hire someone else to make it. And if Fox turned it down? Then WB, or Paramount, or maybe even one of the big 3 networks would probably pick up the slack. It's the nasty nature of TV. Ratings really do rule, and ethics be ***ed. (Hey. ABC is doing a show where families fight over wills, for goodness sake!)

And back to the exposed Psychics show... anyone catch the recent South Park episode where they skewer... ah, what's that loser's name... the guy on TV who says he talks to dead people. Oh yeah, John Edwards.

And yes, he is a loser (or as the cartoon called him *off color language warning* the Biggest Douche in the Universe). I DO believe these kinds of psychics, who claim it is all real, use their powers for... well, if not evil, at least for bad karma. They dupe people, they lie to them, they use and manipulate their victims. And IMHO, the line between that and entertaining mentalism isn't thin, it's large, clear and basically immovable. One seeks to entertain under the guise of being an illusion, one seeks to take advantage of people's naivete to the "psychic's" advantage while under the guise of being utterly real. In fact, were these charlatans to start or end a reading by claiming none of the information was really true, they'd be out of business. A professional mentalist, on the other hand, can admit to being an illusionist with great pride.

Will exposing these scams hurt mentalists? I have no idea. I don't work on the show and I don't know what they are focusing on. Back to Peter's TT example, I think you can show people psychic surgery is accomplished with a TT without ruining the effect of the hundreds of other TT illusions out there. I don't think many audiences are savvy enough to take techniques used in one discipline and tranpose them onto an apparently altogether different discipline. With enough smoke and mirrors (or misdirection and patter), the technique can be made to appear totally different. Least that's, once again, my $.02.

(And a final PS - sorry, there is no way I could avoid working for that producer on other shows. That's like a professional travelling magician saying they won't work in 30 of the U.S. states because they have disagreable seatbelt laws. Not to be trite, but paying the bills on legitimate shows is something I have to do, even if I dislike the rest of the company's stable. It just ain't that big a town.)
christopher carter
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Filmyak,

As I said, I don't think I am in a position to pass judgement on a situation I can only marginally understand. I am glad you aren't in a position where you would have to decide whether to work on an exposure show, but your attitude toward it now seems pretty realistic, as well as one I support. I don't think the fact that others would step in to take your place should have any weight in the moral decision being pondered, though. The decision would be yours alone to make, and what others might do shouldn't be relevant.

It is arguable whether your feelings about Edward and psychics should play a role in whatever decision you might make, again speaking hypothetically, in a psychic expose sort of show. I could see a person with your viewpoint coming to the conclusion that a greater good would be served by exposure, or that the damage to the legitimate entertainer would be a sort of necessary "collateral" damage in 'fighting a good fight.' This is not a conclusion I would agree with, but it seems a logical sort of debate one could hold inside his head.

Your analogy with the thumbtip psychic surgery is an interesting one, since that method is not in fact how 'psychic surgeons' are documented to operate. As such, it is a bizarre and completely unneccessary exposure by Randi. If I had been on the board on any magical organization he belonged to, I would have attempted to censure him for it.

Getting into the whole "exposing psychics" notion is another can of worms althogether. I've expounded on it extensively in 'Penny for Your Thoughts,' and it would probably get too tedious to go into that here. I'll simply reiterate, the skeptical press does a great job of getting it wrong when it comes to 'exposing' methods supposedly used by certain 'psychics,' but they do a great job of exposing methods used almost exclusively by mentalists.

You've posted an interesting and lively topic, but its probably getting beyond the perameters of comfortable, friendly debate when we start bringing in the psychics.

--Chris
Peter Marucci
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Chris,
But secrets ARE of maginal importance!
Of no more importance than basic props.
To think otherwise is to rely on the trick to carry the performer, rather than the other way 'round.
Scene from a magic shop:
(The proprietor has just shown a prop to a newbie.)
Newbie: "But what does it do?"
Proprietor: "It doesn't do anything; you have to do that!"

Smile
^"I just do what I'm told!"
christopher carter
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Peter,

I must be misunderstanding what you mean by secrets, or vice-versa, because it sure seems to me that some logical extensions of what your are saying are that a) it doesn't matter whether people are fooled, b)your audience could know the workings of any of your tricks, and still think you are a great magician, and c)exposure of magical methods to the general public is perfectly acceptible. Whatever you mean, well just have to agree to disagree, since we're obviously not going to change each other's minds


Question: In your example, how is the magician going to create a marvelous presentation of the magical box trick if he doesn't know the secret to the magical box?

--Chris
filmyak
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You've posted an interesting and lively topic, but its probably getting beyond the perameters of comfortable, friendly debate when we start bringing in the psychics.
--------------------------------------------------

Chris,
you're right. There are many points of view with legitimate arguments on both sides. And as someone who started in the skeptic community and then started in the magic community (and fairly recently, at that) I was not aware that many of the skeptics interpretations in debunking psychics were incorrect.

But I've also not gone down the mentalist road yet, though I will probably start learning some of that in the near future and see how performing it fits my personality. But as someone who, so far, knows very few of the mentalist techniques employed today, I am still amazed when i see them performed. Even after knowing the basics of what fake psychics do.

And forget getting ugly when we start bringing in the pyschics... wanna see a real bloodbath? Try sending in the clowns!

(oooooh, cheap humor! bad barbara streisand jokes! is there nothing sacred left in the world?!)
Smile
Paul
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Pinky said;
"By explaining why exposure is bad and making "amateur" magicians understand WHY this is wrong, we reduce the chances of this happening again (and at the same time explain why undercutting is bad to)."

If people listened to what was right and wrong and stuck by it, our prisons would be empty. Knowing things are wrong doesn't stop people doing them.

WAM does still exist Dave, but it hasn't been capable of having any affect on Fox as this new show in the works proves.Hopefully they are still working behind the scenes rather than jumping up and down and giving these shows more publicity.

IceRaven typed;
!One question. How exactly do we go about finding those who have exposed secrets? From what I understand it isn't just one person, it's several."

It's no secret the masked magician was Valentino, he did several shows, the street magic masked exposer was someone as yet unidentified. But there are others who expose without masks.And don't forget, there are many who expose simply by poor performance!

Paul.
Pinky
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Paul,

Like I said, reduce the chances of it happening. Just because you fix the dice, doesn't mean they'll roll that way all the time, but one can always hope. Right?

You'll still get occasions where circumstances get in the way (or where someone's brain just doesn't work right. These are the two common reasons for jailtime, but I degress). If you're left with no other choice but to steal a loaf of bread...you steal a loaf of bread. Its not right, but you do it to survive. As filmyak stated, hopefully none of us will ever be in a situation where we have little to no choice in the matter.

By educating the people we are in direct contact with, we fix the dice and hedge the bet. Nothing more.

But atleast its something.

-Dave Cross
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Paul
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re;
By educating the people we are in direct contact with...

I think every basic book on magic discusses not revealing the secrets Smile

Paul.
Pinky
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True. But not everyone reads that part of the book. Most people jump to the effects looking to learn "the next newest thing".

Its all about common sense, but if sense was so common, why doesn't everyone have it?

By speaking up (as we've been doing here), we help in driving the point home.
Dave Cross

"The problem with being better than everyone else is that people tend to think you're pretentious."
Pakar Ilusi
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We should stop selling our secrets if we are to keep them.

But then there would be no more Magic Shops...

And therein lies the problem.

We Magicians want to have our cake and eat it too... Smile
"Dreams aren't a matter of Chance but a matter of Choice." -DC-
gaddy
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I'm sure, despite all the anti-fake psychic hyperbole, the moment they expose the thought transmitter everyone here is going to cry and whine.

Exposing "certain" tricks is ok, I guess...

PS to the original poster, can't you just simply choose to not do this specific program and maintain a professional relationship with this particular producer?
*due to The Magic Cafe's editorial policies, words on this site attributed to me cannot necessarily be held to be my own.*
filmyak
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Guys, this topic is 9 years old. Literally.
gaddy
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Quote:
On 2011-01-24 19:16, filmyak wrote:
Guys, this topic is 9 years old. Literally.
haha! Didn't catch that fact at first!
*due to The Magic Cafe's editorial policies, words on this site attributed to me cannot necessarily be held to be my own.*
Jack Baines
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Quote:
I perform mostly for college students, and hardly a day goes by where I don't hear one or more explain to his friends how something he saw on one of those Fox specials was done.


But their still turning up to the show, so what are you losing? Have you considered the possibility that less people would have shown up had there interest in magic through these shows not been roused?

Quote:
After the first expose show, an illusion team I was acquainted with had several shows cancelled because, according to the colleges who cancelled, now all the students would know how the tricks were done.


That's the fault of whichever idiot with the power to cancel a show decided to use that power. Probably someone who thinks of magic as a bit of a joke anyway.
Jack Baines
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Oops, didn't realise how old the thread was either.
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