Jonathan's question is interesting about whether it's good for magic to put an emphasis on the method over the effect and how distinguishable those two things really are from each other.
I think the suspension of disbelief that goes on in a theatre is different to that in taking part in, say, close up magic but maybe almost similar to watching, say, copperfield present an illusion show that's tied together with stories. Going back to a previous conversation, I believe Houdin's spiel applied to Houdin's type of show, which was closer to the latter and isn't something that can be effectively squeezed into more modern performing conditions. (I know it's heretical, but, for all this, Secrets of Conjuring and Magic is still my favourite)
Alot of very eloquent things have subsequently been said about presentation and I would agree that the bulk of magic is the bluff and bits of business to cover the usually fairly transient and often almost unimportant method (think about directions like, execute 'your favourite' force/control etc). It is the sum of all the parts that go together like the set and lighting and lines and casting and acting of Romeo and Juliet and these individually unimportant elements collectively make us respond. People will say, "oh he was a great magician" and are unlikely to find the tricks impressive unless they are impressed by the man.
However, if we were particularly pretentious, we could say that magic is a 'postmodern' form of theatre, because one of the things that alot of these essays seem to skip over is that the audience are stepping through that proscenium arch, seeing the boards that stand as walls, the lighting scaffold and general poxiness of the backstage arena - and still responding - not in spite but BECAUSE of this. Because they are a part of it and precisely because they know that there is a method that they have been unable to detect for all their veiled cynicism. In reality, they are as interested in the method as we are and they are in on it from the get go.
It's probably controversial but I would say that the method is therefore the elephant in the room that alot of people gloss over and hope rather than believe people won't care about. We're conditioned to think that people shouldn't care about it apart from the magician - but think about your best reactions "How the hell did you do that!" Obviously they don't want you to actually say "look, I fooled you into looking over there while I was hiding it over here. How silly you are!" But that is, in reality what they are thinking on some level and, at that critical moment, when their mind goes blank, method is the only thing that fills it - and once that's out the way, it's just oblivion.
Interestingly, there is an opposite approach and funnily enough David Berglas springs to mind, as old school as he may seem. If he's doing what would otherwise be a card trick where you or I might lie about ambitious cards or libidinous jacks (?) and don't mention anything to do with the fact it's a trick, he plainly labours exactly what ISN'T happening so that the audience can fully appreciate exactly what IS happening.
If you think about it, this is what we're told not to do - not to state the obvious, not to say, look at this empty bag, even if it is legitimitely empty. It's the negative space, trying to make something that in reality works only because of very specific conditions, try to seem broad and universal - and the only way we can do this is, ironically, to address the fact it's a trick.
Finally, Penn and Teller are the prime examples of people who take this approach with their combination of mock up tricks and artistically stunning surprises. They treat their audience's cleverly by caring about and thereby anticipating what they think, so they make the perfect judges here and I think the concept's great - just not sure about Jonathan Ross. I think he thinks of magic as a grungy extension of his facial hair, something to give him cult appeal after his bizarrely mainstream appeal died with his BBC contract (somehow, the opposite seems to be happening for Russell Brand after 'sachsgate'!) My tuppence worth and probably enough pretentious b******s for all of us put together. Glad we got that out of the way, back on topic... ;)