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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Food for thought » » Killing 'em » » TOPIC IS LOCKED (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

MiNiM
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Since joining the cafe (love it, BTW) browsing through all of the posts, I can't help but notice a linguistic peculiarity that I've never come across in any of my magic books.

I keep finding people referring to these 'killer' tricks, they want to 'slay' people with their magic, 'kill' them, 'knock them dead', 'blow them away'. In one post the guy wanted to ' go up to someone, and bam ... knock them dead!'
I think he's talking about impressing them with his magic tricks but I'm beginning to get a little worried!

I thought we're supposed to be trying to entertain people, not exterminate them!

Where did this come from and when? Is there some celebrity/cult role model behind it? Is it a cultural thing (mainly American, perhaps)or is it universal, or is it a generation thing (mostly young guys maybe)and do we influence each other so much in these sort of forums that it becomes contagious and we all pick it up?

I know it's just words, but how well do images of violence and aggression sit with trying to entertain people? Can you see Thurston saying 'I love my audience, I'm going out there to murder them"?

Just curious,

Cheers,

Bill
He asked me if I liked card tricks. I said "No." He did three. (W. Somerset Maugham)
The Great Zambini
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Bill:
Very interesting observation. In the U.S., it is just what we refer to as present "pop culture." This too shall pass!
How about the words "hot" and "cool". When something is really "hot", we say "cool."
In the early 60's when something was really good, we used the word "weak." In the 50's it was "boss."
...Simply Amazing!
THE GREAT ZAMBINI
Mike Robbins
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Anchorage, Alaska
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Comedians use some of the same terminology, even when not doing well: "I was dying out there!"

Mike
The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.
Shakespeare
Scott F. Guinn
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It's a very old show business term. When people are laughing very hard, they're said to be "dying" with laughter--hence, an act that really got the laughs and applause was said to "knock 'em dead" or "kill them!" The others are just variants.
"Love God, laugh more, spend more time with the ones you love, play with children, do good to those in need, and eat more ice cream. There is more to life than magic tricks." - Scott F. Guinn
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MiNiM
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Yes, I've seen the expressions used in the past but perhaps not quite so vociferously as in some of the posts here. Maybe a few strong ones have highlighted all the routine ones for me.
I still think that as a subliminal attitude, it's a most peculiar mindset to go in front of an audience with.

Cheers,

Bill
He asked me if I liked card tricks. I said "No." He did three. (W. Somerset Maugham)
Huw Collingbourne
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Having checked through my library of reference tomes, I see that most of these killing words are listed in the 'theatrically favourable' sense since the 19th century. However, you can actually find examples much earlier than that...

For example, the phrase "to die with laughing" occurs in Shakespeare. The OED also has an example from 1634 of the word "kill" used to mean "to overwhelm a person by a strong impression of the mind..."

Then again, we say (at least in the UK) "I'm dying to" do something and I could "murder" a pint. It's true, though, that knocking an audience dead and slaughtering them with killer routines does seem to more of an American thing.

best wishes
Huw
Scott F. Guinn
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And will probably continue to be so for a long time to come. It isn't a mindset that we are actually going to KILL anyone.

Besides, "I'm going to do a really good job" just doesn't have the same ring... Smile
"Love God, laugh more, spend more time with the ones you love, play with children, do good to those in need, and eat more ice cream. There is more to life than magic tricks." - Scott F. Guinn
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Huw Collingbourne
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Quote:
On 2002-08-06 23:26, Scott F. Guinn wrote:
Besides, "I'm going to do a really good job" just doesn't have the same ring... Smile

Actually, my dear fellow, just say it with a British accent and I think you'll find it really sounds quite splendid.... Smile

Huw
jecar
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Quote:
On 2002-08-06 06:00, MiNiM wrote:
Yes, I've seen the expressions used in the past but perhaps not quite so vociferously as in some of the posts here. Maybe a few strong ones have highlighted all the routine ones for me.
I still think that as a subliminal attitude, it's a most peculiar mindset to go in front of an audience with.

Cheers,

Bill


You're bloody right and some guys do it so much, it's overkill. Smile

Jerry, who won't mention the"break a leg" thing. Smile
Peter Marucci
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MiNiM writes: "I've seen the expressions (kill, etc.) used in the past but perhaps not quite so vociferously as in some of the posts here."

As has been pointed out, this is a valid theatrical slang expression.

Why it's seen so much here (and other places where you get a lot of newbie magicians) is that these newbies think that, by using what they consider "in" expressions, they have acquired a patina of experience.

Ah, 'twas ever thus! Smile

cheers,
Peter Marucci
showtimecol@aol.com
Dolini
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Man what I would't do for an icecream cone. I would kill for a nutty buddy. Oh well, did you know that Peter's Mirror Monte is a killer trick? I just used it for a football team and it knocked them dead.

Well what were we talking about?

Dolini Smile Smile Smile Smile Smile

PS - it is difficult to understand American culture without living here. We are always "murdering" the English Language. The only ones who appear to understand is the Canadians Aey!
John O'Shea Dolan
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Peter Marucci
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Dolini,
You mean that SOMEBODY can understand the Canadians? Smile
cheers,
Peter Marucci
showtimecol@aol.com
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