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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The September 2003 entrée: Whit Haydn » » Magic and Lying » » TOPIC IS LOCKED (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Geoff Latta
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If we are running a con, yes, we are liars. If we are entertaining people, we are storytellers.


I think Mark Twain would have recognized that to be a good storyteller, you have to be a good liar. In fact, I think he did.

All good stories are lies, in the sense that they are, at best, selective revelation to achieve an effect. Even if the effect is to reveal something that is real and true, you still leave things out, add things in, etc., to achieve that effect, in other words, lie.

Lies of omission are no less lies than forthright untrue statements are. In fact, a bald faced lie seems somehow more honorable, less scurrilous, than devious manipulation of the facts through selection and omission. We admire its boldness, at least. But magic consists mostly of the latter.

Personally, I think, if you don't lie like a bandit, you haven't got the remotest chance of either entertaining or fooling (or both) your audiences.

Best,

Geoff
"There is a thin line between genius and insanity. I have erased this line." --Oscar Levant
Lee Darrow
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On 2003-09-05 12:56, Pete Biro wrote:
Jerry Andrus NEVER LIES and he does quite well. He cannot even say, "I'll put YOUR card here." if it isn't their card, he will say "I'll put THE card here." Smile


Maestro Biro,

Robert Heinlein once said, "The slickest way to tell a lie is to only tell a portion of the truth." What Andrus does in your description, is an excellent example OF this principle.

Which takes nothing away from him, his truthfullness or his ability to entertain, obviously, but he is creating what psychologists call a presuppositional context, where the audience is led to believe that THE card is THEIR card, even though he never really SAYS that it is.

It's still deceit, by definition.

And he's really wonderful at accomplishing that deceit, too!

Lee Darrow, C.Ht.
http://www.leedarrow.com
<BR>"Because NICE Matters!"
Whit Haydn
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Eugene Burger and I had a long conversation late one night a few months ago in Perth, Australia. One of the things I brought up to him, and he agreed with me, was that every joke has an element of deception built into it if told correctly.

The good joke teller uses his inflection, facial expressions, and careful wording to lead the listener as far as possible away from the train of thought that would reveal the punchline. He steers the listener into a certain familiar and believable direction, and then hoses him down from a completely unexpected direction.

Although the deception is not apparent to the listener until he is hit with the punchline, it is a very important part of the fun and enjoyment of the joke when it is finally revealed with the surprising turn in logic of the punchline.

In many ways, the performance of magic is much like telling a good joke well. And both involve deliberate and calculating deception. That is as much a part of the fun for the audience as the surprise itself. And it was one of the things that make watching the same act over and over again and still enjoying it possible. Billy McComb is one of those performers of whom I never seem to tire watching.

Mark Twain, as presented by Hal Holbrook, is exactly this sort of sly deceiver. The journey is every bit as interesting and fun as the destination. By the way, I can't think of anything as valuable to study as Holbrook's "Mark Twain Tonight." Great model for any story teller.
Musashi
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"Robert Heinlein once said, 'The slickest way to tell a lie is to only tell a portion of the truth.' "

I Have enjoyed many Heinlein stories, and I belive it was Lazarus Long who talked about lies. "The toughest lie to tell is to tell is the TRUTH, but to tell it in such a way that the listener belives it is a lie."

I think this is a crossover statement that could be applied to the thread on Magic as Logical argument....

Josh
"Care for a Jelly Baby?"
Whit Haydn
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I really like your signature quote. Very funny.
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The September 2003 entrée: Whit Haydn » » Magic and Lying » » TOPIC IS LOCKED (0 Likes)
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