This evening (Wednesday-USA) on LOST, a USA cult-follower TV show, there was a direct reference to magicians/magic. This show uses tons of symbolism and cross-references in the script. This snapshot also indicates where "magicians" stand generally in our popular culture, I am afraid.
In one sequence, Jack, a main character, visits his uncle who left/escaped from a nursing home and has been brought back. The lucid uncle obviously abhors this sterile and stereotypical environment and his state in life. They begin with Jack finding him in a rec. room where there is a show going on. The camera pans past a small sign/poster announcing the magic show. then two images are shown a rabbit in a box and the arm of a magician offering a fanned deck toward an elderly lady, saying "Take a card." That's it! They leave the room quickly. Later in the dialog between Jack and his uncle he is asking his uncle why he asked away from the care facility which is so nice and the uncle sarcastically says some thing like "and yes I have magic shows." Unfortunately, this is one (only one) cultural stereotype of our art. We all perform against it.
As a theologian/philosopher,I found the side reference interesting because it appears in a show where there are repeated references to the issue of having faith and trust beyond rational knowing. It seemed that magic was portrayed as a vacuous sideshow to the real issues...but one is never sure in this TV show. The show has a constant interplay between what can be achieved through science, even time travel, what is controllable and not, and what is destiny and freedom, with repeated references to faith.
Again it would appear that entertainment "magic" was shoved aside almost as a sick joke to these issues. What happens in the show often seems like a sort of magic with the slight hint that it is all destiny or controlled. Then that is the illusion we produce of the impossible or improbable occurring but (we know) we are very much in control...or evolving the experience with others.
For some of us, we are striving to evolve how to link entertaining magic to larger and deeper meanings and resonances in life, just as ancient "magic" or "magik" was intimately intertwined with the mysteries of living and the cosmos.
Sorry to be so heavy. Initially the use of the magician in the script was deeply troubling as a critique of how we are viewed...not individually but corporately. Curses!
"The art of magic is the magic of art."