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Plainfield, ILLINOIS
1617 Posts

Profile of RandyWakeman
Sure, I’ll Say it

The latest rounds of pathetic puffery surrounding the Fox Specials (and others) has several both amusing and annoying attributes that seem to be overlooked. Though the subject of so-called “exposure” has been thrashed and hashed to the point where even chatter about exposure has been overexposed, the clouds in my coffee compel me to build upon the billowing bile of pixels and posturing.

Advantage For Profit

The most cursory observation reveals that when it comes to exploiting a situation for ratings, there is no guiding moral compass. Americans have devoted endless hours to following O. J. Simpson, the unseemly oval office exploits of our ex-President, the tear-stained faces of mothers who have lost their children in the latest train wreck or apartment fire, the latest positive substance abuse tests for high profile athletes. The more spectacularly unsavory the subject matter, the more the news pundits grab it, make it squeal, and package it for the general public. Sure, “inquiring minds want to know.” Whether the FBI screws up an innocent man’s life via false accusations in an Olympic bombing, whether Columbine becomes a museum of political footballs, whether the sordid charge is “alleged” or not, it is a fact of life that the ratings game shows the population’s propensity toward the tragic and the terrible. There was September 11th. And an exposure show is a biggie? Certainly not in the times we live.

Tricks For Free

Winding down the road of life’s tortured trail comes the Evil Exposure Lizard. Amazingly, the same prestidigitorial pundits that have mercilessly bashed Blaine, now suddenly spring to his defense. The same self-licensed “magicians” that photocopy and shoe-make the products of others cry “foul ball.” “Magicians” who buy products strangely claim exclusive ownership of these marketed items, if only because “others” do things with what they purchased that they personally do not agree with. “But I bought it first!” is a common refrain. What is ethical and what is lawful is not the same, never has been. What is continually exposed is the infinite impotence of the magic community to influence media, or corporate America.

Magic Can Not Be Exposed

There is so much more depth to a memorable magical performance than methodology, or a collection of puzzlements. Secrets will always remain so, as the gibberish filled “specials” do not come close to revealing what comprises Magic as a fabulous performing art. Cry, shriek, and lament as we might . . . the messages from the boob tube are of little lasting effect. Magic has always been deeper and more durable than a simple “how it could be done.” If you don’t have a feel for Magic, a love for it, and a respect for it: incomplete, incorrect pieces of highly polished parcels of misinformation stick like water to glass. Soon there is vapor, and soon thereafter, nothing remains.

Patents are publicly published, yet Copperfield flies on. It is rumored that Houdini picked locks, Scarne could false deal, Cardini could conceal things behind his hands, and Slydini could undetectably use his lap to strong advantage. Wires and wax, sleights and subtlety. Goodness, I’ve just spilled it all, or more likely- nothing at all. A pity that our confidence in our intriguing, multi-faceted entertainment form is so easily fazed by a momentary boob-tubery blip. Where’s Dunninger when we need him? Man on the moon, yet Magic lives on . . . how can it be? It will always be.

Randy Wakeman
Dave Egleston
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Ceres, Ca
632 Posts

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The above is why this may be the most important magic site on the 'net. Of course I'm biased - I try to read everything Mr Wakeman writes
Magique Hands
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Lincoln, NE.
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The Art of Our Magic has been alive for thousands of years, despite all of the exposing that has also been prevailant througout history.

I see that human nature dictates to us, as well as to 'laymen', that Magic is better appreciated when we (they) don't know how its accomplished. Deep down inside, people feel cheated when they know how an illusion or magical effect is done.

I believe people would rather sit back and enjoy their wonderment, than to have it exposed for all the world to see. People do marvel in the fact that magicians and illusionists, and mentalists can do what they do... just as much as they marvel in the fact that pianists play so beautifully, and that singers sing so wonderfully. They want all art, to be moving, fun, and emotional for THEM. They want the wonderment, and they don't want to be treated like fools... as does happen when Magic is exposed. They begin to feel cheapened and used. Not much for the feeling of wonder and astonishment... huh?

Our incredible art will be around and thriving for generations to come. Why? Because THEY want it to, as do we.

Food For Thought,
- - Troy
"If you go around sprinkling Woofle Dust on everything... people will think 'My... What an odd character." www.magicmafia.com
Peter Marucci
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Inner circle
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The problem with the exposure of magic is not that the secrets are revealed.
The secrets are, after all, but a small part of the overall presentation.
The REAL problem is that exposure trivializes magic; that is what people like the Masked Magician all the way to Mac King apparently fail to realize.
To make it look simple or easy creates two difficulties:
The obvious one is that the viewer sees the explanation and says "oh, is that all there is; well, that's simple and that no big deal."
That's bad enough.
But there is a second and worse problem:
It encourages people to take up magic, initially as a hobby, who believe that the only thing necessary for a successful routine is the secret.
The implication is that anybody can do it; so anybody (read "everybody") does it!
And this creates a whole class of really bad magicians, because most of them never go beyond that level, to try to find the REAL secret in magic (or any other performing act that communicates with the audience) and that is that the presentation must captivate the audience.
Because that is what art must do to be art: It must captivate.
Not fool; not amaze; not shock; not startle; not puzzle -- but captivate.
And it is in that area that exposure does its most damage, indirectly, by trivializing the art form.
Peter Marucci
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Profile of Payne
The REAL problem is that exposure trivializes magic;

Ah but do we not do this to ourselves?

What about all the AD's in our Journals blaring the missive "Easy To Do" "No Practice Needed" "No Skill Required"?

How many Lectures have you gone to where the lecturer has told the attendees the exact same things?

How can we expect other to take us seriously when we ourselve don't?

I seriously doubt that the libratto for Wagner's Ring comes with a wrapper on it saying "Easy to perform".

These magic world is full of dabblers who continually inflict thier magic on the unsuspecting. Performing for people waiting in line for a movie or grocery check out. How many times have you ever had an actor come up to you while you were minding your own business and run a scene or two from Hamlet for your enjoyment?

Professions are only taken seriously when their practioners start acting professional.
"America's Foremost Satirical Magician" -- Jeff McBride.
Matt Graves
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Huntsville, Alabama (USA)
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I don't even _like_ tricks that I don't have to practice a while. That's one reason I like sleight of hand so much. It gives you something to practice, over and over, as the hours tick by. It's almost a form of self-hypnosis when you really get into it. Then a month or so later you'll look at what you're doing and see how far you've come with it . . . it can be really cool. Hopefully I can put some magic out there that will still have value and be fun for people to watch.
Just a thought - look at the World Wrestling Federation (or World Wrestling Entertainment now) and how they've lost a lot of credibility. About ten or fifteen years ago, you would see headlines about the next big main event - Hulk Hogan slams the 500+ pound Andre the Giant, the Ultimate Warrior takes Hogan's title, blah blah blah . . . but even though everybody knew the fights weren't for real, the way they were presented caused people to take them a little more seriously. It may just be that I don't pay as much attention to the news, but it seems to me like there isn't much coverage of what they do anymore. Where did it go? It seemed like to me that the wrestling world started going down when it lost that childlike "fun" feeling and started being more and more serious. Then you see shows that say "Secrets of Pro Wrestling Exposed" . . . maybe it's sort of the same thing with magic. It's not like anybody ever believed Houdini could really walk through a brick wall or David Copperfield could really vanish the Statue of Liberty or that any of those women were really being sawed in half and stuck back together. Realistically, Andre the Giant could have probably sat on Hulk Hogan and the match would have been over! But if you look at the buildup that went behind those things and how there was a real sense of _fun_ that you don't seem to find much anymore, that just might be the real secret. . .
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Plainfield, ILLINOIS
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Profile of RandyWakeman
On 2002-08-09 16:25, serling307 wrote:

Just a thought - look at the World Wrestling Federation (or World Wrestling Entertainment now) and how they've lost a lot of credibility.

Is that possible?
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Profile of volant
On 2002-08-09 15:07, Payne wrote:
How many times have you ever had an actor come up to you while you were minding your own business and run a scene or two from Hamlet for your enjoyment?

Once, while in southern California, around midnight in a supermarket...(They do come out at night...) I didn't enjoy it. Smile
By the time you read this, you've already read it.
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A good lecturer at your service!
4399 Posts

Profile of Paul
Peter said;
"The REAL problem is that exposure trivializes magic;"

Whereas Payne said;
"Ah but do we not do this to ourselves?"

regards dealer ads etc.

Both are correct, but the former trivialises it in the eyes of future audiences. The latter helps turn out poor magicians.

Both combine to ensure magic remains a third rate entertainment form, after all, anyone can do it that knows the secret, its all simple tricks you can buy...

We constantly have to rise above that perception.

Paul Smile
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