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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Food for thought » » Corporate law and my use of magic - Any tips? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Chris Becker
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Hi, I mentioned recently that I'm actually a law student and don't work for money often. Sometimes, however, I find ways to use my magic to complement my legal work...

I have this great professor in Corporate Law who is extremely critical of how the law changes the world and brings out the bad in us. Basically, one idea of his is how we are all subject to "capture" through big corporations, don't make free choices, and therefore everything goes downhill. Well, that's as simplified as it can possibly be and exaggerated but you get the idea.

Every year, in class, he apparently performs this card trick where he has one student choose a card that he then reveals. To demonstrate "capture", he then explains that the student was actually a stooge, ha ha.

When he held his initial lecture on "corporate law is an illusion" early in the semester, talking about "secret magicians" (Big Money), "misdirection" (marketing) and other stuff, I told him after class that I am a magician and so we agreed on the following plot today:

Two days from now, when he does his card trick and finishes with the explanation, I will raise my hand and "complain" about the silly example he uses of corporate "capture". Isn't the whole point of his lecture that the consumers DON'T know that they are influenced? I find his example very polemic and badly chosen to illustrate his idea of corporate law. We will then get into a pretty aggressive argument about how he in my eyes presents his theory the wrong way and at one point he will get really mad and ask me if I could do it any better.

Well, basically I will start off with a short sequence of cigarette manipulation (he's particularly critical of the tobacco industry) and that I will demonstrate how they influence us and change the way we perceive the world. I will than have one spectator (I'm thinking of this beautiful girl in the first row) choose a card and have her tear on corner off (Intercessor). The card will be (bill) switched into cigarette (flash) paper, illustrating how even a freely chosen card is changed into something that's much better for Big Tobacco. Predictably, all evidence then vanishes in a flame!

Next, we will have a free (magician's) choice of one of six folded pieces of paper. The one she ends up with says "Do you want to have lunch tomorrow?" ... No wait, it will say "Oranges", while all other say "Cigarettes". Funnily enough I will happen to have brought 3 oranges along. One of them has a big black cross on it. My professor, representing the independent auditor Arthur Andersen, will coincidentally choose the one with the cross (that's a joke about Enron!). In it, we will find the card, restored for all but one corner. Naturally, the original corner fits on the card.

What do you think? Any hints, gags, suggestions?

-Christof
- - -
<BR>Cards don't cheat people. People cheat people.
Marco S.
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I suggest you two have a beer first. lol
Bill Palmer
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Make the whole demonstration as direct as possible. For example, why use three oranges? Use two. Let the girl in the front row "choose" the orange. I'll give you the exact script for this. I'm going to PM you some gags and bits of business for the orange thing.
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Chris Becker
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Thanks, Bill! PMed you on this ...

Marco ... Thanks for your idea, too, although we both don't drink, so I'll stick with lunch or dinner ;-)
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<BR>Cards don't cheat people. People cheat people.
Bill Palmer
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You are welcome.
"The Swatter"

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My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

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CasualSoul
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Sounds pretty cool. I love "in your face" magic that challenges people's preconceptions. Incorporating a mentalism effect that relies on the power of suggestion might make an interesting demonstration.
"Open their mind by performing the impossible"
Chris Becker
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Hey, thanks. Yeah, I thought about mentalism. Unfortunately, I just don't know enough about that field to be as creative as with sleight of hand-stuff. Don't have my Swami on me and other than that I'm somewhat lost.

I've also replaced the cigarette manip at the beginning, which seemed too forced, with a coin and jumbo coin sequence in the middle, where I'll ramble on about the hidden channels through which money flows without the public knowing. Of course, the bad, evil corporations end up with (jumbo) big money in the end.

Does all this already fall under gospel magic? ;-)

Btw, the whole thing got postponed to Friday, but I'll let you know how it goes.

-Christof


Posted: Apr 14, 2006 7:49pm
----------------------------------------------
Hi,

Just wanted to provide a short report on what happened in class today...

It was indeed very funny, the prof. did his trick and I intervened in a very obnoxious way. A friend even pushed from the side and whispered I couldn't say these things, that they are very inappropriate. So the prof. and I got into this huge fight, talking back and forth about how I think he really doesn't do a good job about conveying his main ideas.

In the end, he just said: Well, Christof, if you think you can do it better, the classroom is all yours. At this point, the class was all silent as the students thought he really had the last word and I had gotten myself into big trouble. I then said, well, sure, I'll give it a try...

Everything went well, except - how embarrassing! - the magician's choice! It was so simple: I had 6 folded pieces of paper and still managed to mix them up, so I ended up with the one saying "oranges" among the 5 that were eliminated. HOWEVER, I managed to find a way out. Remember, how the main theme of the routine was how corporations influence our choices. So I basically just said that sometimes they use really evil methods to accomplish this goal. While holding the paper I wanted her to choose, I asked her to hand me the (wrong) one she was holding. I briefly misdirected her to the other side ("Does your friend still hold onto the corner?") and switched the papers. Obviously, this could be seen by everybody but the girl, and in conjunction with "evil methods employed by corporations", the whole classrom roared in laughter when she opened her piece.

Anyways, apart from this problem, the whole act went fine. Again, I realized that my coin routine gets one of the strongest reactions. It involves sleeving and quite a few sleights, ending in jumbo coin productions. I enjoy this a lot. The card in orange at the ended totally floored them. I did this maybe three times before, great effect!

Thanks for everybody who PM'd on this and otherwise offered advice.

-Christof

P.S.: And, yes, I have a date for Sunday brunch. Smile
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<BR>Cards don't cheat people. People cheat people.
Josh the Superfluous
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Christof, Thank you so much for the update. Around here I read more about peoples plans, and less about actions. That's very cool how elaborate the set up with the professor was. I always think of covering mistakes in a magic way; It was good that you were quick enough to come up with a theatrical out. Thanks for sharing this story.

You do realize in retrospect the value of Bill's above advice don't you. Smile
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LobowolfXXX
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What year are you, Christof? I'm wrapping up year 2 of law school at UCLA.
"Torture doesn't work" lol
Guess they forgot to tell Bill Buckley.

"...as we reason and love, we are able to hope. And hope enables us to resist those things that would enslave us."
CasualSoul
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Christof, that's awesome to hear that it went so well!
"Open their mind by performing the impossible"
RandyStewart
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Congrats on affecting your commrades as you did Christoff. These are the same people who play god-forsaken competition games during lunch hour right? (Referring to another post).

Two things impress me in regards to what you've done here. First, your presentation and skillfull demonstration using 'magic'. I'm sure you offered a good version of the effects. Second, although still a student of law, I think although willing to observe and play by the 'rules' and parameters, you exhibit a form of creative thinking, TO PROVE A POINT, not commonly found in many board certified attorneys. We've fired six over the years as a dead tree stump possessed more creative energy and apptitude than they. And, TO PROVE A POINT is exactly what we pay an attorney for. Well, to PROVE THE 'RIGHT' POINT. Hehehehe.

Although this occured in an academic setting, I'm reminded of the movie 'From The Hip' starring Judd Nelson as an attorney. He pulls off some very theatrical and visual stunts to prove his point. By the time Nelson was done, he'd have carried every juror across the fine line of 'Beyond a Reasonable Doubt' without a hitch.

Perhaps many of your commrades, whether they admit it or not, understood and even bought your example. Just as the jurors did for Nelson.

You know, I would of done much better in college had we been treated to such ice breakers or tools for teaching and learning. Perhaps I was just too immature for Jesuit Priests hour and two hour lectures.

Maybe Bob Sanders will pop in here and tell you how much he would agree with your Professor's point of view. As a former Professor, having been published, and heavy background in Marketing, Bob Sanders has commented on the ill use of such 'tricks' against your fellow, or as Corporate America sees him, 'common man'.

I think the plan taught them well and far better than the Professor could of achieved on his own.

Wow, you did really good come to think of it.
Chris Becker
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Thanks everyone for the kind words.

Randy: I actually think and always say that law is one of the most creative professions possible. My sister is a medical doctor, my other sister a mathematician and none of them has to be truly creative or has to think out of the box to do their work well. The whole point of being a lawyer, however, seems to be to think creatively.

In the past, I was teaching tax law at the law school for two years (in my home country). Funnily enough, I sometimes used magic in my class. Obviously, tax law lends itself to all kinds of analogies in coin magic. Although I didn't use magic to prove a point, such as an accounting principle (that would be fun though), it's good to have such ice breakers at hand.

I would love to learn more about Bob Sander's remarks on the marketing issue. Sounds like he's thinking along the same lines as my prof..

-Christof
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<BR>Cards don't cheat people. People cheat people.
tommy
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The criminal law courts are great theatre, where one can also pick up some great patter and it's free to watch.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

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Bob Sanders
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Christof,

You would know that a tax lawyer would do posting on April 15th! Was that a force?

Criminal court is one of the great stages for parlor magic. Remember the "shrinking glove" trick in the California court? I was doing the trick on the east coast and nobody caught on! After the trial, I used a red glove and still nobody made the connection. One of the things that makes criminal court even easier pickings is that the effect only has to temporarily hold to create a shadow of doubt. It doesn't even have to be thoroughly convincing!

My favorite with attorneys is "hide the evidence". Actually it is just the Princess Card Trick with some "Bobism patter". "Future Foretold" is another good one to use with lawyers. It is especially effective when no one has seen the next card.

Back in the 80s, I wrote my PhD. Dissertation on Marketing Professional Services: Doctors, Dentists, Lawyers and CPAs. Since it was the first one after the Bates vs. Arizona Bar case, I sold it. (I had already had a productive background in "Personality Marketing" for professional entertainers. Now I use those tools for elections.) As the story goes, I can't show you a copy but my kids live well.

I have done a few academic articles with remote pieces of it. The Abstracts for the Academy of Science and the Academy of Advertising (may want to try the Proceedings for the American Advertising Federation too) should have something still. In about 1987 or 1988, I gave a speech at LSU that might help you too, if they have a transcript of it. Rumor (correctly) has it that Michael Messing and I (both refugees from the professional entertainment personal management and booking agency industry) are supposed to be writing a twelve part series on agency and marketing for professional entertainers that is specifically geared to magicians. At this point our ambition still exceeds our accomplishments. Apparently The Magic Café keeps us busy. We’re having too much fun. We may need a lawyer that can do magic!

Thanks guys for remembering me. Old professors never die we just lose our class.

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander
Bob Sanders

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AmazedWiz@Yahoo.com
saxmangeoff
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Quote:
On 2006-04-15 16:45, tommy wrote:
The criminal law courts are great theatre.


Yeah, I always liked how it was really looking bad for the defendant at 10 minutes before the hour, but then Matlock found out the real killer and the jury decided "not quilty."

;)

Geoff
"You must practice your material until it becomes boring, then practice it until it becomes beautiful." -- Bill Palmer
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