Unless the mumbo jumbo actually works, at least a reasonable percent of the time. Personally I have my doubts... but the books are selling, and I haven't yet heard anybody say that it's unequivocally a bunch of crap.Originally posted by andy:
... and if all you get is some claim that mumbo jumbo is going to alter people's consciousness, that doesn't cut it.
I am not familiar with Mr. LaVey's writing, but Nevil Maskelyne wrote in Our Magic circa 1946 (p. 110): "A legitimate magician never deludes his audiences as to the character of his performance. He makes no claim to the possession of powers beyond the scope of physical science. Neither does he, while rejecting the suggestio falsi, substitute in its place the suppressio veri. That method is one frequently adopted by charlatans in magic, who refrain from committing themselves to any definite statement on the subject of their powers. . . The distinguishing characteristic of a legitimate magician is his straightforwardness. He makes no false pretenses, either by suggestion, implication, or reticence. . ." Mr. Maskelyne goes on to define magic as (to paraphrase) the simulation of "supernatural agency." To purport by "suggestion, implication, or reticence" to do other than to simulate seems to qualify as unethical behavior under his definition. Profitability not in dispute.Originally posted by Diego Domingo:
Depending on how good the presentation is, there is no need to claim powers, people will take it, where they want to. Some claim powers, some don't have to.
"The goal is to be convincing to those who believe, but still mystifying and entertaining, to those who don't." (Anton LaVey-1997.)
True enough and speaks to the variety of outcomes toward which one may apply the tools. I should have specified "performance art for the purpose of entertainment." In this sense, the entertainment outcome is an ethical boundary, one that both magicians and mentalists happen to usually adhere to. Am I a paid entertainer, mercenary, missionary, psychotherapist, or cat burglar? Depends on who is paying, how much, my ethics, and of course what I want to be -- otherwise the skill-sets overlap somewhat. Any manipulation (digital, technological, or psychological), may be better suited for some tasks (or calling) than others. That said, I agree all methods should be on the table for an entertainer designing effects.Originally posted by Diego Domingo:
Depends what you perceive to be "performance art". . .The lines can be very blurred and is up to how you perceive it.
If you are lucky enough for Derren Brown to do a show in the states, go and see it. SHould change your mind.Originally posted by andy:
Based on the work of some newly-published authors -- books and dvd's that have been widely praised -- I think I see a new face on mentalism. I'm not sure I'm comfortable with this new look. It's all about using words to suggest, subliminal principles to create illusion -- as opposed to using tricks. My feeling is that tricks are harder to create -- that it's easier to claim you will fool someone with words. It's easier to fill up a book with a lot about presentation, then ask 40 dollars for the book. But people are not stupid. I mean audiences aren't. It remains to be seen whether the magic/mentalism crowd that purchases the linguistic and other phony stuff will have the sense to spend their money on something worthwhile. Just a few mutterings.