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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Ever so sleightly » » Fantasma's Buddha Chop Cup Is Back (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Alan Munro
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Pete Biro
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Thanks, just ordered it.
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SpellbinderEntertainment
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Alright. I may stir up some controversy with this… but here goes.

The Chop Cup is a classic and wonderful piece of magic, and should be creatively thought about and performed. However, I take exception to what can be seen trivializing other people’s belief systems.

Fantasma's Buddha Chop Cup is lovely and well made, but I feel it is an inappropriate prop.

What would many people think of a Jesus Chop Cup? Maybe with a Babe Jesus as the balls, maybe a Jesus final load, and the Wise Men for the kicker? How about a Crucifix for the wand, that’s an idea! Many, Many Christian magicians, and many Christian audiences, would fine it inappropriate to say the least, if not a sacrilege.

My city now has over a one-third Asian population, many of them are Buddhists, or come from a Buddhist family. They would be distressed and insulted to see something like this, no matter how artful and lovely the props or performance.

In the -old days- even into the 1970’s, we had the “Chinese Laundry Ticket” and the “Chink Can” and even children’s magic with “Golliwog” dolls (you may have to Google that one.)

I’d like to think we’ve developed a more tolerant and empathic view of the world and the magic we perform. That would include not toying with someone’s religion, belief system, or spiritual leader. Or do we still have an "it's us and not them." mentality?

My two-cents,
Walt
“Tales of Enchantment: The Art of Magic”
by Walt Anthony
www.LeapingLizardsMagic.com

"spinning tales and weaving enchantment"
Alan Munro
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It's not my kind of thing. I suppose it would be helpful for a Buddhist to weigh in on this. For all we know, they may not have a problem with it...but they might. Value systems differ, from religion to religion.
Josh the Superfluous
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Yah Walt, I'm right with you on thinking this one through, with sensitivity. BUT, from what I know about Buddhism, this would not be an insulting act.
What do you want in a site? "Honesty, integrity and decency." -Mike Doogan
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Pete Biro
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Having visited the Giant Buddha at Kamakura, I plan to use that as a reference... doubt if what I do would offend anyone.
:cups:
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Bill Palmer
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There was a restaurant in Houston that was called "The Happy Buddha." It was basically a knockoff of one of the major Japanese restaurant chains. It featured a large Laughing Buddha at the front door. They had been in business for several years when finally a Buddhist group complained, stating that it was just as inapropriate as a restaurant called "The Jolly Jesus."

The owners stood their ground. They lost no business. Apparently the people from the Japanese restaurant chain had sent the letter to make their competition uncomfortable.

It might offend someone, if presented in a non-respectful manner. But if it is performed correctly, with dignity and respect, nobody will be offended.

Badly performed gospel magic offends me more than a lot of other things.
"The Swatter"

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Mark Ross
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Walt, you forgot the Jap Box. I think I am in Walt's camp on this one, unless my or your research might prove that this would not offend. Just my 2 cents.......

Mark
cupsandballsmagic
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I think it all depends on the way it is approached. Imagine that effect in the hands of Eugene Burger (for instance.) Personally it doesn't offend me and on the occasions I present it I present it not as a magic trick but as a lesson in non attachment (very different from detachment by the way.)

It has been brought up a couple of times before I believe. The only one I could find at this moment was here: http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......orum=161

I'm sure there's another thread somewhere though.

Bri
fortasse
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....and don't forget "Chink-a-Chink".

I'm a Catholic (which I guess makes me a Christian!). Frankly, I think it would offend most of the Catholics I know if out popped a statue of Jesus (or St. Peter) as my final load. They certainly wouldn't find it funny (although if truth be told I probably would but then again "The Life of Brian" is one of my favourite comedies of all time). I realize that Buddhists are less likely to be uptight over this sort of thing because they wear their religiosity very differently from Christians. They're a lot more cool about these things.....but still.......there are bound to some who will think that their religious iconography is being ridiculed or cheapened.

Tommy Wonder was asked why he called his effect "The Wandering Chimes" rather than the more traditional name, "Chink-a-Chink". His answer : why insult people?

After all, the goal of the magician is to entertain, not to **** people off.

Fortasse

Posted: Apr 1, 2012 5:20pm
http://www.wfb-hq.org/Open%20Letter.html

See this link. The director of the film "Hollywood Buddha" apologizes to Buddhists for showing someone sitting on a Buddha statute's head; realized that it was offensive........so.......I guess there are indeed limits to how cool and understanding Buddhists are about these things (then again there are so many different strands of Buddhism, as indeed there are for all the world's religions. I guess the best policy really is to extend to practitioners of other religions the same respect and forbearance you would expect them to show yours. Can't go wrong there.
cupsandballsmagic
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I don't care at all for terms such as Chink a chink and Jap box either Fortasse, I agree entirely and I believe they are just plain offensive and prehistoric.

I don't view Buddhism as a religion and as the Buddha is not a god or a diety but a reminder of the things I hold dear and try to live my life by, I'm happy to be reminded of them.

Posted: Apr 1, 2012 5:33pm
I think that there's a huge difference between disrespecting a symbol of someone's faith and respectfully representing it. I doubt that any Christians would be offended by gospel magic (if presented in a respectful and empowering manner.) I don't see this as any different.

I have to say also that though I call it a final load I am using magic terminology and perhaps this is what is causing the confusion.

In other words, the way in which I present it isn't as a shock ending of a large object etc but a reminder that (the Buddha) is a representation of the things I hold dear and why I bow to the Buddha 3 times.

Once for virtue
Once for peace
and once for compassion.
fortasse
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Yes, you may have a point there. I guess it all comes down to HOW something is presented. Reminds me of a spoof-of-a KFC-ad I read about once. It showed the classical Da Vinci-type scene of the Last Supper. Christ was standing at the centre, with his disciples seated on either side of him.......but with one important difference : on each plate was a Kentucky Fried Chicken snack and Jesus, drumstick in hand, was shown saying "Take and eat of this; this is my chicken". I remember thinking how hilarious it was. I equally remember how outraged some others were. They thought it was scandalously irreverent, even sacrilegious.

Fortasse
Andrew Zuber
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I have to say, I'm an extremely devout Christian and I love that KFC ad. Are we supposed to believe that in religion, there must never be entertainment or laughter? Must we take ourselves so seriously all of the time? I'm comfortable and confident in my religious beliefs and anything - an advertisement, a magic trick, a spoof on Family Guy or SNL - isn't going to offend me when it's done it good nature. I take a lot more offense with the religious nut jobs who protest funerals and want to control the lives of others because of what they believe.

I think the Buddha item is great. And if I produced a Jesus statue at the end of a routine and said "Jesus made this possible" I think that would be entirely acceptable because in my mind, it's the truth. This is a fun prop with a unique finish and I'm glad Bri chimed in because I think that's how we should all relate to these kinds of things.
"I'm sorry - if you were right, I would agree with you." -Robin Williams, Awakenings
Jonathan Townsend
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I don't know that it's fair to equate Christian sentiments about the figure or representation of the Christ with iconography in other cultures - the Buddhists in this case. For a negative example, consider the outrage that would likely be generated if one placed a turban on a plush Cthulhu and called it by the name of a certain prophet in public.

Getting back to the chop cup prop-
Why not play up a few basics from that perspective?
It's funny how much effort we put into believing we see the world as it is.
*
We want to say we know the ball went into the pocket... but no.
We want to say we saw the ball go into the pocket... but no.
We want to say we know the ball is really on the table ... but no... it's been in my pocket this entire time.
The moment at the end where you reverse the process and put the ball under the cup - may as well make that a feint and show the ball back in your pocket.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
francisngkl
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I think it's acceptable as long as the performer don't abuse the statue, physically, verbally or otherwise.

Francis Ng
Carpe Diem, Seize The Day!
cupsandballsmagic
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FrenchDrop
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One of the tenets of Buddhism, as I understand it, is that if you think you've achieved enlightenment, you haven't, and you need to throw away whatever conception of the world you think represents enlightenment and keep looking. (A Buddhist koan expresses this concept with the phrase "If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him" -- which I think could be taken as evidence that Buddhists don't think of the Buddha in any way remotely like Christians think of Jesus. Smile)

Seems like that tenet of always seeking to understand the universe, but never assuming that you've reached full understanding, would work very well with a routine in which, no matter where the audience thinks the ball is, they're wrong.
"A great magician has said of his profession that its practitioners '… must pound and rack their brains to make the least learning go in, but quarrelling always comes very naturally to them.'” -- Susanna Clarke, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell
kentfgunn
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Quote:
On 2012-04-01 17:23, cupsandballsmagic wrote:
I don't care at all for terms such as Chink a chink and Jap box either Fortasse, I agree entirely and I believe they are just plain offensive and prehistoric.

I don't view Buddhism as a religion and as the Buddha is not a god or a diety but a reminder of the things I hold dear and try to live my life by, I'm happy to be reminded of them.

Brian. How can you not view Buddhism as a religion? That statement confused me.

I would never produce a religious figure in a magic show. I just don't like mixing the sacred with the magic. I do believe it's insensitive. I'm a foul-mouthed old sailor but I always avoid any references to religion during performing. It's not that I care if I hurt someone's feelings, it's deeper than that.

KG
rklew64
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I don't know where to start...
let's see, the Buddha chop cup is part of Fantasma's Asian line of magic props some time ago. I just thought it was in a way some nod in referencing the Chinese motif - Bambergs-Fu Manchu/Nielson/ Ching Ling Soo/ etc.

Hey - it's not like they called it the Chinaman Chop Cup.
I don't find it offensive - besides, I have a lot of oriental friends.
Dr_J_Ayala
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I am a firm believer that there are two things in the world that one should never discuss with strangers/people you do not know well: religion and politics. Magicians that perform religious magic (or gospel magic) already (most of the time) have an 'in' with their audience - they are usually performing for a religious function of some sort with a room full of like-minded persons (people sharing religious practices/views). I do not perform such magic myself, nor is my profession related to any religion/belief system (except performance magic...).

That being said, I have studied many different religions from around the world out of pure fascination with their teachings, ideas and philosophies and their influence on cultures. I myself am a Catholic, but I perform many different story effects which may revolve around the philosophies and teachings of other religions - mostly the Hindu and Buddhist religions. They are not presented with religious overtones or intentions, but as a story with a lesson within it, and they are always worded and presente respectfully. One such routine I perform is an effect called Harmony Coins, and the story is based around the meaning and elemental representations of colors in Buddhism. I once had the opportunity to perform this effect (among others) for a group of monks from the Gyuto monastery in Tibet. After the performance, the monks had thanked me for at least presenting the correct information about that part of their religion, and thanked me for sharing that "bit of wonderment and enlightment" with them, to quote directly. They were not offended in any way, though here I was not using a religious icon of any sort.

My point is that if it is done/presented respectfully and correctly (DO YOUR RESEARCH!), it should not offend anyone. This includes avoiding the use of any offensive terms (which I agree with, as stated above, include things like the Jap Box, et al.) If you have a feeling that it might offend someone in a particular group, the solution(s) are simple: perform it anyway and be prepared for any possible backlash, or skip it. I would go the route of skipping it.

Another example relating to respect and disrespect of a particular religion or belief system are those who perform on stage with a Native American motif (magicians or otherwise). Many people (at least in the U.S.) do not find this offensive, but never consider that the performer may be offending Natives by performing something, using objects or stories (knowingly or not) that are sacred to them. Quite often, if such things are presented respectfully and correctly, taking care not to use the sacred stories and/or items, it usually will not be offensive. AutumnMorningStar (a Native American, a member, frequent poster and grammar host on this forum) can clarify further on this type of thing based on her own shows and experience(s).

To sum it up: Be respectful, present things using the correct information, and if you cannot get all the right information for it, or if you think it may offend just one person in your audience, do not perform it.
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