Actually I agree with you entirely.
As for my first point, I was referring more so the idea that one can cause an object to vanish, appear, defy gravity, transpose its position, read a mind, ext . . .
It is, as you said the context in which we present these 'effects' that makes them unique and appreciated by the observer.
It is also the approach which makes it ones own.
As for the Twisting the Aces example, this is perhaps the perfect observation point. If we observe those who have taken the appearance of the effect to a new level, such as Waving the Aces, we have something that is a valued contribution to the art. Where as there are the individuals who will only take what is printed on the page and not bother to make their performance their own, even if it is just in the patter.
On the other end there are those who add their own touch to almost the same method, but then treat it as if it is something completely new.
Not to say that they did not develop something that can also be a valued development, but it is more so the issue with how they go about it perhaps.
I do believe that you did word it far better then I had in my lengthy ramblings. Your last statement sums it up nicely;
Originally posted by Jonathan Townsend:
That said, it becomes difficult to offer praise to published works which offer little in the way of truly novel method, presentation or basic look/feel for a trick.