Over thirty years ago, the late Ernie Heldman (formerly of St. Louis) put out a manuscript titled "The Magic of Magic," which gathered a great number of examples from current media (newspapers and magazines)that showed the frequency that advertisers used the word or images of "magic" and "magicians." These words (in all its forms), particularly the former, are still used with abandon; perhaps too advertising is largely responsible for inculcating and ingraining the stereotypes (of what a magician is and does).
The Rabbit and Hat, Merlin, Mandrake, Wands, and so on are mind-numbingly used.
Films, especially comedies, more typically depict the magician as a geek, lounge act, birthday-party clown, or low-end novelty act...which is unfortunate.
Those struggling in the biz have long fought to overcome these negative, demeaning stereotypes...
It also seems like magic-as-a-performance-art, depending on the culture it finds itself and at different times in history, has its ups and downs. Before Doug Henning, Copperfield, Blaine, and the hey-day of televised specials, "magic" was in a down-cycle. When night clubs and other post-WW II venues dried up, live television provided a boost (Mark Wilson, Don Alan, Eniw Heldman, and others).
The Magic Castle, though still active, is not what it was during its peak years.
The magic bars, particularly in Chicago, had a hey-day lasting several decades. Now the magic bar scene, except for Malones, appears moribund.
With S & R gone in Vegas, it will be interesting to see how the magic scene there fares in the next ten years.
Otherwise, I sense a sea-change brewing out there. Those magicians in the biz are scrambling and adapting. Magic clubs are mostly peopled by older magicians, and the hey-day of the great magic shops is over, slaughtered by the Internet.
Where is the infusion of young magicians who stay the course?
I fear that a down-cycle coming...or at least a dip. If this comes to pass, then the stereotypes will morph again.
Nevertheless, I still whisper: