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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The Return Of The (not so) Youthful Curmudgeon! - by Paul Chosse » » TV specials and ethical dilemma (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Dorian Rhodell
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Inner circle
San Francisco, CA.
1629 Posts

Profile of Dorian Rhodell
Question:

Question for everyone about "Magic Secrets Revealed" specials that have aired on Fox. I'm sure there have been some discussions on this here already, but I have a slightly different vantage point/question.

I make my living as a TV editor, and the executive producer I work with does other shows with a partner. The show I'm working on is almost over, and the exec has recommended me to this partner for more work.

Well, his sometimes partner is the guy who produced all the "Magic Revealed" specials, so we started talking about them. I said I (obviously) thought they were terrible things to put on the air, since they robbed people of their livelihood. He said if I hated that, I'd hate the latest special they are making: Psychic secrets revealed.

I know, this is getting long, but there's more to say. =) I explained that I had no trouble revealing psychic's secrets, since that was a line of work that claimed to be telling the truth, and which used these techniques to take people's money under the pretense of being reality. I compared it to a seminar I took last year that showed how techniques used in magic to entertain, can also be used to scam people around the world (like pyschic surgery and various other scams).

In other words, magic on stage or for friends is just for entertainment. The mere title is basically TELLING you it's all a lie. "Hi, we're doing magic TRICKS/ILLUSIONS for you today. Buy a ticket and come on in." Versus "Let me take your money while I pretend to predict the future/remove a tumor and tell you it's all real."

Clear cut difference, right? Those specials simply reveal harmless entertainment tricks because some masked magician wants to make some extra bucks.

Then he told me a shocker. Maybe this is common knowledge, but I was blown away. He told me that none of the magicians in the show had any trouble with giving away the secrets. That's right, there isn't one masked magician, it's a series of people each revealing a different trick. Apparently, SEVERAL professional magicians have no trouble giving their own secrets away.

What gives? Any comments on this by you folks?

And I've also been playing a mental game with myself: what if they were to ask me to edit the next show in the series, assuming there is one? Would I do it? Keep in mind two things: work in this industry is sporradic at best, and it would help keep food on my table. And second, if I were to turn it down, guaranteed they'd have another editor ready to take over in about 5-minutes. My involvement or lack thereof would have no bearing on the making of the show. But still, I'm not sure I could be party to something like that. Just curious for various opinions on this long, rambling post. =)



Paul's response:

There are those who might suggest that revealing a secret forces us to develop new tricks or methods - it could be a good thing!

Others could argue that, once a few tricks are revealed, all tricks are dismissed as the puzzles they become with exposition.

My experience is that it really doesn't matter. I was reading about exposure in 1936 Genii magazines when I was 9, and I'm still reading about exposure in Genii magazine, and other places, 40 years later. In all those years I have never done a trick and had a spectator say "hey, I remember that from the guy on TV that showed how everything is done!"

Maybe I'm just lucky, maybe the tricks look different in context and in real life, maybe spectators' are just dumb, maybe I have only worked for Alzhiemer patients. But I doubt all those things.

I think the fact is it's just not that important to anyone! Let's face it, we're talking tricks here, not open-heart surgery, or nuclear disaster. People just don't take us as seriously as we take ourselves!

Have some fun, don't point it (exposure) up by ranting about it, and it will go away, be forgotten, or just not impact you at your next show.

By the way, you don't see any of the BIG acts (Copperfield, S&R, Lance Burton, etc.) protesting in the media, or elswhere for that matter, don't you wonder why?

Just rambling, PSC



Retort:

Quote:

If secrets are so unimportant, why then may I not expose yours?



Paul's response:

This is a form of faulty logic known as "begging the question". It assumes as part of your answer something not stated by the other party. Niether of the people you quote ask that thier secrets not be revealed, in fact they seem to be saying or implying quite the opposite.

You also say that we are curators of the secrets, that they are not ours to give away. That seems to me to be a moral imperative that you are not free to impose on others - live it if you believe it, but others may not agree.

Best, PSC



Retort:

Paul,

I am sorry that you are offended by my disagreement, but I still disagree. I am pleased, however, that in practice all of you are known to treat secrets with considerably more reverence than you seem to imply.

Is my query faulty logic? I suppose, yet I still believe that others would have serious problems with my coming to their shows to expose their methods. I don't know, but you are known as an 'inner circle' card guy. Presumably it is the nature of an inner circle that access to secrets is limited, which of course I highly respect. To me, your actions belie your stated opinions.

I also agree that I am stating a moral imperative. I do live it, just as I believe it. Espousing a moral view is not the same thing, though, as imposing it on others. I can offer no other sanction than withholding my association, and that's not exactly extreme force. Happily in America I am free to expect whatever moral behavior in others that I choose.



Paul's response:

I'm not offended that you disagree, in fact I posted to the effect that I was happy to see that you and others do! I think it was Samuel Johnson who said that "when men smile and agree, progress weeps!". I guess I was trying to point out is that exposure will continue anyway, and the more we make of it the more important it becomes.

Also, I might mention that the audience has some distance(usually) from the TV exposure to the live performance, so we have some notice about what they may now know. And this allows us to adjust our methods, revise our programs or whatever, and gives them time to forget.

By way of presentation/personality, I had Slydini at my home in San Francisco once and had some local folks over. One of the fellows, after seeing Tony work was overheard commenting that the guys he new had to lap coins to do the things he'd just seen, but he was really watching and Tony was definitely not lapping he was somehow putting them THRU the table!

Best, PSC
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