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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Now that’s funny! » » Politically Incorrect Lines from Magic Books (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

R Gould
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This one caught my eye, from Gardner's Encyclopedia Of Impromptu Magic.

On page 344 he is describing a joke you can do with a book of matches:

"Sick joke: twist the matches so they point in all directions. Toss open folder on table and say, 'Made by the handicapped.' (Alternate line: made in Poland)."

Wow, Martin! Who knew you had it in you?

Any other politically incorrect / off-color lines in otherwise innocent-seeming magic books?

R Gould
Rory Diamond
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Sure, read Gene Anderson's "Newspaper Magic". Anderson advocates folding a newspaper into a pointed hood you place over your head, and crack jokes about being in the Ku Klux Klan (see page 22).He also advises "the curtains open revealing a Chinese (you) drowsily reading a newspaper and smoking an opium pipe."(see page 81). The bit goes on to the effect that the "Chinese" (not a gentleman from Asia, rather, a "Chinese") makes the opium pipe disappear when the police arrive. The opium pipe then reappears at the end of the sketch, to which Anderson writes " as the curtain falls he is hoppily (stereotypical Asian broken English for "happily") dreaming that he is a magician." The book was written in 1968. You would think that during the late 1960's, during the civil rights movement, you would not see this type of racial humor. What kills me is that in the copy I have, in it's eleventh printing in 1995, the material has still not been taken out.
Bridgewater
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"Magical Monologues" by George Schulte of Chicago, copyright 1919, contains these cringe-worthy lines:

"How is it done? I'll let you find the n----r in the woodpile."

And "This is Jewish money - it multiplies".

As regards Gene Anderson, his Klan reference in "Newspaper Magic" is hardly an endorsement of that organization. And if I recall, he advises (warns?) the performer to be wearing a big smile when he finishes the gag, leaving no doubt that it was only a gag.
As for making a China=opium connection in the 1960's, you've got to be kidding. I can recall seeing "Chink Cans" "Chink Panels" etc. in magic catalogues all the way up through the 1980's. Political correctness, for good or ill, really started gaining ground only in the late 1980's, indeed that is when I first recall hearing the term used.
"Don't run with those..."
BSutter
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Quote:
On 2008-06-02 23:15, Rory Diamond wrote:
Sure, read Gene Anderson's "Newspaper Magic". Anderson advocates folding a newspaper into a pointed hood you place over your head, and crack jokes about being in the Ku Klux Klan (see page 22).He also advises "the curtains open revealing a Chinese (you) drowsily reading a newspaper and smoking an opium pipe."(see page 81). The bit goes on to the effect that the "Chinese" (not a gentleman from Asia, rather, a "Chinese") makes the opium pipe disappear when the police arrive. The opium pipe then reappears at the end of the sketch, to which Anderson writes " as the curtain falls he is hoppily (stereotypical Asian broken English for "happily") dreaming that he is a magician." The book was written in 1968. You would think that during the late 1960's, during the civil rights movement, you would not see this type of racial humor. What kills me is that in the copy I have, in it's eleventh printing in 1995, the material has still not been taken out.

If you remember the 60's, you were not there. (This is a quote I heard / read somewhere).
Rory Diamond
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Well, if you think it is OK to go out and try that KKK bit be my guest. Same with the "Opium Smoking Chinese". Let me know what kind of reaction you get. As of the book's eleventh printing, apparently Mr. Anderson, or the publisher, seems to think this type of humor would still play today. I really don't think it played in the 60's, ethnic folk were just forced to put up with it. If you read the bio on actor/martial artist Bruce Lee, he went to great lengths in the 60's and 70's to present movie roles where he was not portrayed as a "coolie" or with horn rim glasses and buck teeth, and broken English (much like the Jerry Lewis character). It was not acceptable then either, but people like Gene Anderson did it anyway, to get the laugh at someone else's expense.
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