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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The Good News! » » A Blatant Question (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Eric Caldwell
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Kentucky
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My friend asked me flat out if I stacked the deck for a trick I performed yesterday. Outside of saying, "I don't reveal secrets," what is there to say to such a blunt question?
Payne
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No
"America's Foremost Satirical Magician" -- Jeff McBride.
Wes Holly
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Or you can say "yes" with a smirk on your face that'll make him think you're lying when you're telling the truth. There's more than one way to conceal your secrets.
Happily Yours,
Wes Holly
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Baltimore, MD, USA
Eric Caldwell
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No is exactly what I said, because truth or lie, it doesn't affect anything else in his life. He knows I tricked him in some way; he doesn't need to know how. I've read posts lately about lying, just none that pertained to such a straightforward question, so I figured I would ask for the Christian opinion.
Ed_Millis
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If you're going to be a Christian magical entertainer, then you must learn to become the entertainer. That's a character you are playing as you entertain, and that character has his own life.

No, my character isn't going to do things that I as the "real person" won't do. But the "magician" character has secrets and does hide things. If you want to split hairs - yes, you're lying. But if you're going to that extent, then ALL magic is somehow lying, unless you flat-out tell them up front, "Don't look at my hand or you'll see the coin I'm hiding. I know I just said the card is going to change colors, but really it's three-sided." etc.

If you're going to get into the performance art of creating magical experiences for people, then learn to set your mind as the character of a magician. That's true for anyone in this art, but especially so for Christians.

Ed
ianhutch
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My reply is usually, "You may very well think that; I couldn't possibly comment." That applies whether it is a prepared, gaffed or otherwise set up deck. (It's a quote from a UK TV series 'House of Cards' about a seriously dodgy politician) No one has ever come back at it. If it's a less direct question such as the usual, 'How did you do that?' I just shrug my shoulders & say, 'These things happen!' as I'm not keen on the rather supercilious, 'Very well.'
ezequiel
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There's ajoke we use in Portugal:

You may ask him: "Can you Keep a secret?" and then respont to him: "So can I"...

Like this you will not be lying.
Dan Bernier
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I would have to disagree with the whole notion that lying is okay, as long as we are in character. First, let me say that I am my character. I don't put on a fake personality when I perform.

I do not reveal how I do my tricks and have been asked many times how I did something. I usually reply with, " I can't tell you that, it's a trade secret". The same can be implied if someone thinks or knows how the trick was done and asks you straight out if it was that way. There are so many truthful answers that can be said without giving away the trick.

"I can't tell you that, it's a trade secret"

"Do you really think that's how I did it? Interresting"

"If I answer you're question, will you keep it a secret? (the person responds yes) That's the same promise I made when someone showed me the secret. You can respect that can't you?"

"Now that you know a secret, you are bound by the magicians oath"

Or one of the classic responses that Eugene Burger uses when someone yells out they know how it's done.

I think there a several options we can use rather than resorting to lying to them, in character or not.

(just my opinion) Smile
"If you're going to walk in the rain, don't complain about getting wet!"
Ed_Millis
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I see your point, Dan. But I wonder if that's going to depend upon whether you're actually doing a gospel show as a Christian magician, or performing an entertainment show as a magician who is a Christian.

And where do you stop "the line"? Don't you want your audience to "believe" the impression that your puppets are speaking, if only to receive the maximum entertainment impact?

I introduce a mechanical chicken as "my assistant Marvin the Magnifi-chicken, who can sing, dance, and find your card!". I put on a hard hat and tool belt and talk about my first job in a spaghetti factory as I do Prof Nightmare. Did the card really turn over in my ID? And what about the coloring book?

Not trying to "argue you down"; I do want to understand you more. This is an issue non-Christians really don't have to think twice about, but it seems we might need to think more than twice - and I can't say that I have done that.

Ed
Dan Bernier
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Quote:
On 2011-03-01 12:29, Ed_Millis wrote:

And where do you stop "the line"? Don't you want your audience to "believe" the impression that your puppets are speaking, if only to receive the maximum entertainment impact?

Ed


I don't want my audience to believe that my puppet is actually speaking. I provide an imaginary enviroment for people to be entertained in. I may at times suspend their belief for a moment, but they can clearly see my mouth, or adam's apple moving if they did believe the puppet was actually talking. I know what you are getting at, but at no times am I trying to get them to believe that I am performing real magic. I have no problems with telling them it's all just tricks. It looks real, but it just goes to show you how easily their eyes can decieve them. I don't need to lie to them about me learning tricks and wanting to not tell them how the tricks are done.

With children it's always more easier to just say, "Can you keep a secret? So can I." Sometimes I use that line, sometimes I use other lines that may come to me on the moment, but I never once think that throughout my show I am ever lying to them. I am showing them some pretty cool tricks, but I am not lying about it. I never thought that lying was part of what I was doing.

Thanks for asking the question. I don't know if I am right about this, but it's how I feel about it though. Smile

P.S. By the way, his name is Buddy. He hates it when someone refers to him as a puppet.

He wanted me to let you know. Smile
"If you're going to walk in the rain, don't complain about getting wet!"
Dan Bernier
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Never mind, it's me he's ticked with.
"If you're going to walk in the rain, don't complain about getting wet!"
Ed_Millis
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Sorry if I got you in trouble with Buddy! 8>)
haroldross
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This is a great topic to discuss as Christian musicians.

As a pastor who uses illusions to illustrate spiritual lessons, I have made the decision to 'tell the truth' during the illusions. The integrity of the Christian is very important. When I do a card trick that uses a gaffed card or deck, I don't say that I have a normal deck of cards. It has given me a whole new challenge as a Christian magician. Even for my 'secular' shows, I will speak the truth.
Payne
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Quote:
On 2011-03-02 14:00, haroldross wrote:
This is a great topic to discuss as Christian musicians.

As a pastor who uses illusions to illustrate spiritual lessons, I have made the decision to 'tell the truth' during the illusions. The integrity of the Christian is very important. When I do a card trick that uses a gaffed card or deck, I don't say that I have a normal deck of cards. It has given me a whole new challenge as a Christian magician. Even for my 'secular' shows, I will speak the truth.


The late great Jerry Andrus made it a point to never lie during his presentations as well so his performances and writings would be good to study if you were interested in pursuing this type of presentations.
"America's Foremost Satirical Magician" -- Jeff McBride.
MagicBus
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Kalamazoo, Michigan
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I recently purchased a very made effect from Wolf Magic called "Rings of Truth." Performed it this past Monday night for Ring 211 in Grand Rapids. I had earlier performed the trick at a restaurant using the "tells" routine (e.g.- the spectator lies in responding to certain questions- from that the ring color is determined). One spectator actually and sincerely told he was uncomfortable "lying", especially in front of children. Sooooo, I changed the "lie" answers to "Maybe" and did that new version Monday- it worked just as well! So yep, now I can do this excellent close up effect in good conscience without asking people to "lie" first to participate in it, even in jest. Smile
MagicBus
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Whoops, meant to say "well made effect" in the first sentence above. The craftsmanship of "Rings of Truth" is remarkable. I hope to perform it at the 2011 FCM convention at the new no sign up needed "table hoppers" tables. Close-up workers- bring your stuff to share in this new setting which will begin on Wednesday, July 13, in the IWU Caféteria.
Eric Caldwell
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I don't really take issue with lying to people. I would love to tell "fish stories" more often, but I always give up the game half-way through. Lying to a direct question is something I'm not good at. Most of my friends are Christian and might take more issue with me lying to them and that may be part of why the question was posed.

Thanks for the discussion.
DelMagic
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When a drama, skit, play or film is viewed/performed, does anyone consider it lying since the people aren't really hurt, crying, worried, or dead. Is the performer lying when asked about their "mother" and they mourn the tragic loss though their real mother is alive? When a historical actor at Williamsburg, Plymouth Plantation or other site answers questions as an early settler or colonial citizen are they lying? To me, these are all akin to the performance of magician since no one believes there is real magic going on - it is a performance. However, if it does not sit well with you, then make sure your patter fits your sensitivities. The principle (not this question specifically) is illustrated in Romans 14:14. I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean.
ianhutch
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As far as I can see, the Biblical principle behind the prohibition on lying is when it is for a malicious intent—bearing false witness etc. Otherwise why were the Hebrew midwives in Exodus & Rahab commended for using untruths to protect the innocent & God's people? In fact, did a man get robbed on the road to Jericho who was then helped by a Samaritan after a priest & Levite failed to do so? Surely, Jesus' parables are all tales rather than true events & we always accept them as such. I liked the description that Max Somerset gives of 'visual parables' when talking about his Gospel magic. We can make a rod for our own backs when we become too literal in our interpretation of the Bible.
Doug Peters
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Nowadays, if someone asks me something like that, I think:
"wow, I need to practice/improve my method/routine choice/timing/audience management/psychological misdirection."

but I say (if it is in private):
"Oh! very clever! That would be one way to do it, wouldn't it?"

or if it is in public in a manner that I can't just ignore:
"shh! Smile "

Think about it: the people who are offering solutions don't "believe in magic" anyway. And they've done you a favor by giving you good feedback (i.e., that some method or other is accessible). If you didn't fool people with a stacked-deck/thumb-tip/magnet/pass/gimmick, you certainly won't make them more appreciative of your magic or your character if you lie to them.
"if you have any answers, it's time to ask harder questions!"
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