Discuss the latest feature articles in Genii.
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There is an interesting article in July (2017) issue about definition of "magic" and what it is and what it is not by Peter Lamont. It was a good read, but I tend to strongly disagree with author's opinion that "throughout history, audiences have understood that magic tricks are tricks". Author claims that there were(are) two types of magic: traditional, just-for-entertainment thing and other one disguised as supernatural thing. And the question is: could people separate these two forms on their own? Author claims that they could, but I really doubt. They cannot do it even today in XXI century (just look random episode of Pen&Teller "Bulsh*t")! If you cannot distinguish one form from another, then there are no two forms to you. It is just one single entity - magic (conjuring, witchcraft, whatever you name it). And main problem is that in older times everyone believed in supernatural, therefore just-for-entertainment-magic was also strongly influenced by it. Simple example: what was the motivation for Scot to publish "Discoverie of Witchcraft"? Why does this book appeared at that time? He tried "to prevent the persecution of poor, aged, and simple persons, who were popularly credited with being witches." (WIKIPEDIA). All persecutions started with gossips and false accusation, so it is very hard to imagine, that when ordinary country folk observed some traveling magician showing devious tricks, none of them reported to inquisitor because "mech, it is just tricks, let's go to stoning". I am not expert in magic history, and my contemplation probably are amateurish, but I am not convinced by Lamont theory. It would be interesting to hear other opinions? And other question: would you dear to show some French drop coin vanish if you suddenly appear in some dirty tavern of rural Spain somewhere in XVI-XVII century?