Defensive Resentment

Discuss your favorite close-up tricks and methods.

Postby Guest » 09/14/03 06:49 PM

I have no idea why I want to do this but I have received a psychic
vibration that I should post something constructive.

I have utterly no idea why since I usually find being constructive a
rather boring activity.

Still, I feel the vibe coming on and so there we are.

Actually I think the real reason I want to post about this "defensive
resntment" phenomena is that it seems to be little known or certainly
little discussed.

A good close up magician has to have good technique, good material,
good knowledge of misdirection, good patter and presentation and good
methods of handling his audience.

However there is a little secret to getting very strong reactions to
your magic.
And I mean VERY STRONG. Try this out and you will find that your
present level of audience reaction will double.

The clue to the concept is in the title. "Defensive Resentment". I
made this phrase up years ago. It is at the core of my great theory.
Mind you it is not a theory. It is a very practical idea that I have
used for decades to manipulate close up audiences into reacting in a
very strong and at times overenthusiastic manner. Ask anyone who has
seen me work for laymen (not magicians)

I use beginner's tricks so it is certainly not the material. I believe
this concept of mine is at the heart of things.

Let us see if anyone is interested. If you are I will post my great philosophy. If you aren't then I will keep to myself the very core reason that I have been able to garner great audience reaction since I was 16 years old.

Sorry about the lack of modesty but you should be well used to it by now. And why should you care where the information came from if the information is sound?

Let us see how interested you all are.

Postby Bob Coyne » 09/14/03 07:41 PM

I fear I'm walking into a trap, but you've definitely piqued my interest. :-)

I'd like to hear about this theory/technique and how do you use it.
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Postby Guest » 09/14/03 07:55 PM

No trap. I shall no doubt "descend into madness" (as Richard puts it)later on.After all there is a thin line between madness and genius.

However, at the moment I am in the genius mode. I only go mad when people refuse to recognise the genius.

Still, I shall wait a bit before posting this vital information. I need to see some interest first. Otherwise it is just a waste of typing. I believe it is of value.

Only a tiny handful of people here have seen me work for laymen doing close up magic in an impromptu fashion. If they feel brave enough they will perhaps confirm the reaction that I get. I believe it is this "defensive resentment" method of manipulating the audience that is responsible for this said reaction.

I am happy to give it away. However there is no point preaching to the unconverted. Let us wait a little.

Postby Russell Davis » 09/14/03 08:39 PM

Let us wait a lot.
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Postby Guest » 09/14/03 08:45 PM

Russell is obviously a fan.

Postby sleightly » 09/14/03 09:06 PM

I know nothing of conversion, but I am always interested to hear another's performance approaches.

Type away!

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Postby Russell Davis » 09/14/03 09:35 PM

I shall obviously be a fan of your concept, would it but arrive, and with merit.

Let us wait no more!!!
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Postby Guest » 09/15/03 05:38 AM

I've been trying to puzzle out what 'defensive resentment' would be... it sounds to me like a method of lowering spectators' natural resistance to being made to feel foolish or inferior, making them more receptive... am I on track? Go ahead - post away! --Asrah (always more interested in entertainment than technique)

Postby Dave Shepherd » 09/15/03 06:31 AM

I too would be very interested to read your thoughts, Peter.

I'd like to see/participate in a thoughtful discussion on these intangibles that have nothing to do with tricks. I have very often observed that I can get extremely strong reactions from extremely basic magic, but I haven't taken much time to sit and try to figure out why.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 09/15/03 06:38 AM

Originally posted by Asrah:
...always more interested in entertainment than technique
Same here. Methods to engage, establish rapport.. present material in frames that allow the audience to enjoy the magic are of interest to me.

Peter, I'd like to read about what works for you.
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time
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Postby James Lee » 09/15/03 07:05 AM

Please sir, may we have some?
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 09/15/03 08:26 AM

I've reopened this topic because I'm curious what [censored] (aka "Peter Smith") may have to say. But don't beg for it, kids.
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Postby Pete McCabe » 09/15/03 11:53 AM

[censored] asked me to post this on his behalf.

Defensive Resentment is when a spectator asks you to do a magic trick, and you immediately begin acting defensive, as though you resent having to demonstrate your powers for such an unworthy audience.

Eventually, you allow the spectators to virtually force you to perform.

This can be a useful technique to make impromptu performances more dramatic. After all, if someone asks you to do a trick and it doesn't seem to involve anything difficult, then what makes it so special?

However I don't know why Mark is being so coy about revealing his supposedly secret idea. Any magician who has performed in an impromptu setting -- even an amateur -- knows this!

Still, I like the way Mark chose to present this information in its exact form; by trying to get people to beg him to reveal it, all the while pretending not to wish to do so.
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Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 09/15/03 11:57 AM

Leipzig was way ahead of him...

"Never perform unless coaxed."

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Postby Bob Coyne » 09/15/03 02:34 PM

-->Still, I like the way Mark chose to present this information in its exact form; by trying to get people to beg him to reveal it, all the while pretending not to wish to do so.

That parallel seems a bit contrived. I don't think he was particularly defensive or resentful about presenting this idea. In fact he *offered* to present it and even started his post saying he wanted to be constructive.

Anyway, I'd still like to hear some concrete examples from Mark about the technique and how he uses it. The definition he had you send doesn't give me a very clear idea of what he means.
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Postby Guest » 09/15/03 03:18 PM

I think I should make it clear to Mr.Coyne that I did NOT ask Pete Mc'cabe to post anything on my behalf.
Mr.Mc'Cabe is being facetious concerning a very serious subject and I do not think he is being fair to Mr.Coyne or anyone else here by being misleading. No doubt he will apologise in an appropriate manner.
Only one person speaks for [censored]. That is [censored]. Oh, and Peter Smith of course.

I can assure you all that I am very well read in magic and know all about Nate Leipzig. His well known philosophy has nothing to do with mine. I rather think that people should think twice before misrepresenting what I have to say.

Going off on one of my usual tangents I well remember laughingly discussing Leipzig's theory with famous "spooky pencil" pitchman Johnny Neptune. We both agreed that if we had to follow that theory to the letter we would never actually get a chance to do any magic in the first place!
Mind you there are ways of getting people to "coax" you but I have no time to discuss them here.

I am NOT trying to get people to "beg" me as Richard puts it. I have always been very generous with information. However, I am not going to present what I call important info if nobody is going to show serious interest in it. Silly remarks by certain people here do not encourage me to share what I have learned from years of experience.

Those who wish to progress in magic should listen to what I have to say. Those whose progress does not go beyond midnight shifts should shift to doing whatever they do at midnight. I am sure that they will find it more fascinating.

I must say however that I have seen one sharp cookie here among the various posters. Not just on this thread but elsewhere.

I thank the positive constructive enquirers and they are indeed encouraging me to reveal what I know. However for the sake of my credibility and to silence the negative people here somewhat I am merely awaiting a post from anyone who has seen me perform close up magic impromptu for laymen. I do need someone to confirm that I know what I am doing and that the reactions I get are way above average. Once I get that confirmation I will tell all. I am doing this not simply for egotistical reasons but I rather suspect some of you may pay more attention to my theory if you get a vibe that I know what I am about.

The theory has never been discussed anywhere as far as I know except in a brief perfunctory way. I figured it out on my own when I was a kid. It is common sense, actually. I do believe it is the reason I get strong audience reaction from laymen with very simple tricks.

Incidentally talking about simple tricks I am wondering if Dave Shepherd is the famous "glass through table" Dave Shepherd. If he is then I have heard about his wondrous performance. If on the other hand he is just any old Dave Shepherd I thank him for his constructive posting anyway.

Talking about "glass through table" this is one of the simple tricks that I do. It creates a sensation yet a lot of silly people dismiss it as a beginners trick.

I once stopped a show with this one trick. Quentin Reynolds was there and he might confirm this if he stops sulking. He will also confirm that I can do card tricks better than anyone else.
Anyone alive anyway.
I won't mention the past masters since I do not want to seem immodest.
Of course Quentin might refuse to do this since he is in a bad mood at the moment.

Anyway, it won't be long now. It will be worth waiting for. I just need to get your attention.

Postby Guest » 09/15/03 03:46 PM

Those who wish to progress in magic should listen to what I have to say. Those whose progress does not go beyond midnight shifts should shift to doing whatever they do at midnight. I am sure that they will find it more fascinating.
Pardon me for being dense (or maybe a graveshift worker myself), but what the heck does that mean?


Postby Guest » 09/15/03 03:51 PM

Ignore me, Warlock old chap.
I am simply on the verge of descending into madness.

Postby Guest » 09/15/03 07:04 PM

Actually I believe that the Midnight Shift is an exotic card sleight invented after 1954. I have no interest whatever in any trick, move or concept invented after this year.

I hope this clarifies things somewhat.

Postby Dave Shepherd » 09/15/03 07:13 PM

Peter M.L. Smith wrote:
Incidentally talking about simple tricks I am wondering if Dave Shepherd is the famous "glass through table" Dave Shepherd. If he is then I have heard about his wondrous performance. If on the other hand he is just any old Dave Shepherd I thank him for his constructive posting anyway.
You're welcome.

No, I'm not famous for any performance of the glass through table. I've performed it, gotten a good reaction, but it didn't make me famous.

And yes, I'd like to hear about the things I mentioned before. But I'm not inclined to wait around for three or four days for it, I must say.
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Postby Guest » 09/15/03 07:35 PM

Patience. Patience.
Everything comes to he who waits.
I shall post this within 24 hours. Maybe less.
If you had been the famous Dave Sheppard I would have posted it now.

Postby Guest » 09/15/03 08:01 PM

Because of certain impatient rumblings from someone who does glass through table but is not famous for it I have decided to let rip.

However, I was rather hoping someone who has seen me work would confirm my great opinion of myself.Then you will know if the theory is worth following up.

By sheer coincidence Jeff Busby's parents saw me working svengali decks a few weeks ago and thought I was marvellous.I had no idea that they were who they were.
I am not kidding either.
Perhaps I could get them to confirm my wondrous abilities on here.

Oh well, perhaps not. I do not want Richard to descend into madness.

I shall have to make do with Quentin Reynolds who is sulking at the moment because I won't forgive him for his dastardly deeds of 10 years ago. Still, I won't burden this forum with things that do not concern them.

Quentin once wrote on a book (by a certain Richard Kaufmann, no less) "To [censored], one of the world's greatest magicians"

Lest you think this was an aberration on his part I shall post you a recent extract of his from a private e-mail. Well, it was private until I got a hold of it. He well knows it is hazardous of me to expect me to keep silence when someone tells me how wonderful I am.

Here you are:
Well Hello

I was thinking about you the other day. In fact I was
also thinking about you at FISM in July. I was hanging
around with some very well known magicians ( I won't say who
because you'd probably tell them what I said) and some laymen
came over and asked to see some tricks. A pack of cards
went around. I was interested to see what reactions they'd
get. To be honest, not much. That's when you came to mind.
You would have crucified the laymen. I still haven't seen anyone
handle laymen with a deck of cards like you.

There. Now that my ego has been satisfied I shall post what needs to be posted.
When Quentin has come out of his sulk I know that he will confirm my wondrous opinion of myself.

Meanwhile get ready for some historic information that nobody seems to have thought of even though it is as obvious as hell.
If you apply this concept and adapt it to your own personality I promise that your magic will improve by leaps and bounds and I don't care who you are. In fact I suspect that some of the so called "name" close up magicians I have seen badly need to study this idea as much as anyone else.
Read and learn.
And don't worry about who your teacher is. It is a wise man who if he wishes to learn can train himself to ignore the quirks of the teacher.

Postby Guest » 09/15/03 08:08 PM

Let us all take a deep breath.

The esssence of the idea is that every human being on the planet has a
subconscious and some cases conscious resentment at being fooled by a
magician. No matter how wonderful the performer there is that underlying
resentment that is always there.

I will admit that the feeling does not always manifest itself in certain
appreciative spectators but it is there nevertheless, albeit on a
subconscious level.

I believe there are 4 types of spectators. Actually 5 if you count magicians
but I do not consider them to be normal human beings.

The first type of viewer is the best. This is someone who laughs and enjoys
the trick and the performance. The defensive resentment is still there
although it has been muted. I believe the process that goes on in the
spectator's mind is that he or she gives up before he starts. His or her ego
is not affected by the performance because he or she surrenders straight
away. By not getting involved in a contest of wits the ego is placated. The
spectator cannot be defeated because he has not entered the contest. He or
she then has an excuse to enjoy the performance. The "defensive resentment"
factor is still there but it has been shoved under the rug.

Then we have the people who "want to know how the engine works". Their ego
will want to find out how the trick is done. They will not try to wreck the
performance but they may not react as well as you want. That subconcious
resentment at being fooled is ever present.

Next we have the rare person who will show no reaction of any kind at all.
He may be enjoying what you do but his ego will not allow him to show you
that he enjoys it. He does not want to admit that he has been fooled.

Then of course we have the heckler. The defensive resentment at being fooled
is rather obvious here.

All these groups consist of human beings with feelings and emotions. Each
one of them has this defensive feeling although some manifest it more openly
than others. It behooves the smart magician to find some way of assuaging
this feeling in any way he can. If he is able to do this then a Shangri La
of positive audience reaction awaits him. If on the other hand he charges
ahead like a bulldozer inflicting his magic in a full steam ahead style
without considering this important facet of audience psychology he may find
that the reaction he gets from his magic is muted.

I am referring strictly to close up magic here and impromptu magic in
particular. Stage work and even formal close up may have different rules
although I expect that some of what I say may even apply here.

I liken this process to "taking their guns away" I had better explain.
If you approach a table in a restaurant (say) and try to entertain them you
will be confronted by this phenomena to a greater or lesser degree. Very
often the spectators will have their guns loaded, so to speak, with this
"defensive resentment" I have seen some magicians foolishly try to outshoot
the audience by performing aggressively or in other ways trying to get
reaction and it doesn't come off as it should.
Instead I believe you should TAKE THEIR GUNS AWAY before you start! Remove
that "defensive resentment" before you even start and continue to remove it
as you continue.

How you do this is up to you. I can tell you how I do it but of course you
are not me. No doubt you are very relieved by this.

This is how I do it. I am not suggesting you do it this way. I am only
telling you for purposes of illustrating what I am trying to get at.
I act absent minded, eccentric, slightly incompetent and even stumble over
words. Not when I am selling svengalis or performing at a trade show. This
is a different medium and different rules apply. I am referring to
performing impromptu close up magic.
Sometimes I will forget what cards I force on people, sometimes I drop
cards, sometimes I make mistakes. In fact, I don't think I have ever
performed on a single occasion in my entire life when something hasn't gone
Yet this is how I get the strong reaction I do.
It seems that I am not in control but I know exactly what I am doing.
By being so disarming I remove all audience resentment. Or as much as I can
anyway. It is actually impossible to remove it completely. However it
behooves every magician to remove it as much as he can.
Again, I reiterate that the '"defensive resentment" is often manifested
subconsiously and is not shown openly. However, it is still there and must
be removed as best as you are able. Each magician must use his own ingenuity
to do this but do it he MUST.

Contrast this attitude to the magician who bulldozes in and tries to show
how clever he is. His superior attitude will not get results no matter how
good he is. He won't have swept up before he started the show. Or during it.
By "swept up" I mean cleared away all that resentment. In fact I doubt he
even thought of it. And with all due respect I think virtually every close
up magician I have ever seen does not seem to have considered this very
important factor in any way whatever.

I consider it all the time when I am working. I am constantly trying to
disarm everyone from the enthusiastic spectator to the heckler.

How do you do it? It is not for everyone to act absent minded and
incompetent like I do. However, there is always a way. If you are
handicapped in some way for example, you will automatically remove a great
deal of this resentment. If you are funny, this will help too although you
must take care not to dilute the magic. If you are modest or humble this
will help. If you have charm this will also help.

There is utterly no rule as to how you choose to remove this "defensive
However remove it you must.
By doing this for the last 40 years I have been able to garner amazingly
good reactions. I do not believe for one moment that I would have achieved
these results if I had not paid due attention to this basic fact of audience
Yet it is virtually never mentioned in any book.

Take their guns away. Your audience response will DOUBLE.
It has for me anyway.

Postby Dustin Stinett » 09/15/03 08:58 PM

Thank you Mark...errrr Peter...for giving a name to (and pointing out to me) something I have done, I suppose, at a subconscious level for a while now. I guess I would call it the "ah-shucks" factor. I am a reluctant performer, but I do get requests to perform. I always say that I am just a hobbyist who's "not as good as the other guys." The thing is, the few items I will perform publicly I think I'm pretty darn good at. I get good reactions and "why don't you perform for a living" comments all the time. When I started using this "ah-shucks" attitude I also noticed my own comfort level elevating, probably as a direct result of the positive feedback I receive.

Thanks again,
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Postby Guest » 09/15/03 09:10 PM

The idea of saying that you are "not as good as the other guys" is excellent and is exactly the sort of thing that I am referring to. It helps of course if you ARE as good as the "other guys"

I will often say "I learned this trick in a book this morning" even if I have been doing the thing 30 years or so.

No doubt it will raise some eyebrows to hear me of all people say it but modesty is a hit with laymen. You need to clear that resentment any way you can.

It is lucky that you are doing it without knowing you are doing it. It will be advantageous to be aware of it all the time though.

It is sad to see many so called magicians perform and not only not be aware of the phenomena but have no natural way of applying it which may save them.

I saw a fellow last week in New York perform. I did not make myself known to him but I cringed at his "big I am" approach. He was performing in a big "me, me, me" manner. He did not get any hecklers on this occasion but it occurred to me that he was inviting these unwelcome people.

He had obviously no concept of the "defensive resentment" theory.

Sometimes a performer's natural attributes help him in this regard. However he would be far more effective if he was constantly aware of this human condition and always trying to do battle with it.

Postby Pete McCabe » 09/16/03 12:13 AM

Quentin Reynolds asked me to post on his behalf that he confirms Peter Smith's wonderful opinion of himself. He urges all to follow Peter's advice.

I, however, have never met Peter Smith or [censored]. It was a joke. (The Quentin Reynolds bit is real, though.)

Seriously, though, Mark's advice, while hardly original, is excellent. I have seen many magicians -- even some professionals -- who would do well to read Mark's version. Anything that helps you consider your performance from the spectator's perspective can be useful.
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Postby Guest » 09/16/03 08:20 AM

At no time did I say that my advice was original. I merely said it is never discussed.
However, I do lay claim to the expression "defensive resentment" I think this is the best way to describe the phenomena which is in the mind of the spectator. He is resentful (slightly or not so slightly) because he is defensive.
Actually the theory is common sense. However common sense is not that common among magicians.

I figured this out when I was 16 years old and I have used it ever since. I have seen no reference to the idea and I have seen little evidence of it being used in a conscious way. Sometimes the performer has natural attributes which allow him to use the technique without knowing he uses it.

I prefer to know why I am doing what I am doing. When I was a young kid I read the back chapter of Expert Card Technique on a London Tube Train.All about presentation. It changed my performing life. It is the best advice bar none I have ever read on how to present oneself doing close up magic. I couldn't do (and still can't) a single trick or sleight in the book but I believe I got more out of the book than I would ever have got even if I had mastered every trick in it.

Yet this section of the book is never mentioned by anyone. It baffles me to this day. I suppose anyone that wants to learn advanced card technique as described in the book is not temperamentally suited to learn about showmanship and presentation.

The first few pages explaining how you develop a performing character is priceless. I never underline books because I hate to deface my friends. However, I have made an exception with this section of "Expert Card Technique" It is underscored and marked to high heaven.

Although the "defensive resentment" theory is not mentioned a little clue is given in the section headed "the spectator's perspective"

The spectator is king. You have to know how to handle him. And the best way to handle him is to get inside his mind. You MUST learn to see things from the layman's point of view. Difficult, but essential to get the knack of this.

A well known mentalist once told me that it was impossible to think like a layman. I don't think it is impossible, just difficult. However if you can do this it is a priceless ability. It will enable you to eschew complicated sleight of hand and unnecessary moves which clutter up a trick. It will enable you to simplify your magic. It will enable you figure out what trick to do at what time.
Above all it will enable you to figure out how to manipulate the audience. Any fool can manipulate cards, coins etc; the real skill in close up magic is learning how to manipulate the people.

I figured out this defensive resentment theory by focusing on the spectator perspective as advised by Hugard and Braue.

Thinking like a layman can be done. I could explain how I learned to do it but I haven't got the energy.

I am dubious about Mr.Mc'Cabes claim that Quentin asked him to post on his behalf. He has already claimed that I asked him to speak for me but I certainly didn't. Pete's credibility is on a par with George Bush's at the moment.

Still, if Quentin has really confirmed my wondrous ability even though he is in sulking mode then all power to him.

It takes a knack to put aside biases to tell the truth.

I have just received an order from Dustin for my wondrous book on the svengali deck. I shall see to it straight away.

If anyone were to see me working svengalis they would see no evidence of me applying the defensive resentment theory. I am rude and aggressive albeit funny with it. I don't give a stuff if the crowd resent me or not. I certainly resent them.

It's a different art form entirely. For some reason the more I insult the public the more they buy. It is their money I want not their lack of resentment so do not judge my application of the technique if you ever see me pitch svengali decks.

However, when performing close up magic for laymen particularly in an impromptu session I recommend a more subdued approach. Getting back to Leipzig he did say "if they like you, they like your magic"

By lowering the defensive resentment they will like you and therefore they will like your magic.

Postby Pete McCabe » 09/16/03 11:43 AM

I have never met Quentin Reynolds. It was another joke. Perhaps the third time around Mr. Lewis will be up to speed.

By the way there is no shame in promoting an idea that is not original. However I do not understand your claim that the idea of considering the spectator's perspective, mindset, reactions, etc. is never discussed. I've discussed these ideas myself in the articles on scripting magic I've written for Genii

Of course, I am not one of the best magicians in the world, so don't take my word for it. I have several books in magic that talk about these same ideas in some depth. However most of these books were written after 1954, which may explain how you missed them. Anyone willing to read books written after 1954, I suggest you begin with the writings of Eugene Burger.

However one thing Mr. Lewis said is spot on: common sense is not that common (and not just among magicians).
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Postby Guest » 09/16/03 12:03 PM

Thank you Peter / Mark. You have solved a serious riddle for me regarding the audience reactions.

I too am like Dustin in performance style, having come back to magic a few years ago after a twenty year hiatus.

In fact, a number of the tricks that I feature now fit the style directly, so let me share them for the sake suggestions to others.

For example, I begin with Sudden Deck, "having been so nervous as to leave the card case in my pocket when having my jacket cleaned" (this leads to a relaxed audience, humor, a nice surprise and a relaxed me). I then proceed to the Chicago Opener (notice where I live) in an expository way (but again an even bigger surprise). Next comes Side Swiped which "I picked up that day to add to the show" and over which I fumble a bit (which also helps to hide the method)--and by the way, I explain again the Chicago (Aronson) connection which creates more of a dialogue with the audience. Again, a bigger surprise. Now it's easy going and downhill (in a good way), and I do only a few more effects (in keeping with the persona).

As with Dustin, the comments I get are superlatives, much more than I feel that I should receive (although I do agree with Bob Kohler that one should only select to perform the strongest effects given the shear number of tricks that exist).

This style fits and works for me. For others, it may not.


Postby Guest » 09/16/03 12:15 PM

I see. A joke.
You ARE a wit. At least I am tempted to say that you are halfway there.
I will refrain from saying it on the grounds that Mr.Kauffman will think I have descended into madness.

I think you will irritate Quentin by pretending that you gave him permission to quote his words. He can get irritable very easily, you know.

Mind you on this occasion his irritation would indeed be justified.

I think your joke has run it's course. It wasn't even funny in the first place.

I have read Mr.Burger's works in more detail than you think.I am delighted to see that every trick he describes came from before 1954. Great minds think alike.

Regarding your assertion that he has covered my topic I have studied his work and not come across the points in question. If he has indeed touched upon them then fine and dandy. If he hasn't also fine and dandy. I am here to promote the wisdom not the origin of the wisdom.

I have never invented a trick in my life. I am not as proprietorial over ideas as people who are more creative than I. Basically I don't give a stuff.

I have never read your ideas in Genii. I cannot confirm if you have indeed discussed my reasoning there. However, I rather doubt that you have. You are a midnight shift type of person not an entertainer. Furthermore your silly stories on here about posting on behalf of other people do not encourage me to believe in your credibility or indeed veracity.

I have tried to be constructive for a change. You have tried to be destructive right through this thread.
I sense that there are people here who are trying to learn. Or at least discuss this proposition in a serious manner.
You are disturbing the class. Go and stand in the corner.

Postby Jonathan Townsend » 09/16/03 12:21 PM

Originally posted by Peter Smith:
...people here who are trying to learn. Or at least discuss this proposition in a serious manner...
The idea of taking serious consideration of how people are affected by magic tricks seems quite sound in general. It might be the natural compliment to the thinking involved in making tricks work.

Given that magic effects seem to impose a world view... it is quite natural that we (normal people) have some internal resistance to processing perceptions that seem isolated from the rest of reality. A defense mechanism indeed.

Seems a good idea to wonder 'what are they feeling' as well has 'what are they thinking' when designing a presentation for an effect.

Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time
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Postby Jason Wethington » 09/16/03 12:24 PM

Interesting thoughts on the subject.
I don't like the term "defensive resentment". Although the term is original with Mark, I am not sure it adequately describes the psychological state of a spectator. Further, I am not sure why Mark chose the word "Resentment". Are the spectators indignant towards the performer? Do they have a grievance against him? Where does the resentment come from?
What Mark lays out are good ideas and I have found them to be true, Diffusing a spectators curiosity to work out how a magic trick works and to just enjoy the performance is invaluable to a professional performer.
I just have trouble with the semantics of his definition.

With that in mind I have one more opinion to offer.
The person who shouts at the top of their lungs that they are the greatest or the best at something/anything generally isn't (except maybe shouting). When I hear someone claim they are genius, or that we should all listen reverently to what they are saying, for the most part have nothing to offer. I applaud that Mark wants to elevate the art of performing magic. I do not applaud a self proclaimed genius or master. Let us make that decision. Perhaps next time he will be more guarded with these types of statements.

Thanks for the thread,

P.S. Even if Mr. Reynolds had come on to verify Mark's statements it would not have changed my opinion. If a person is willing to share knowledge, share it. Waiting for one's proclamations to be verified by another does nothing at all to qualify their thoughts.
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Postby Guest » 09/16/03 12:25 PM

It seems that Warlock posted at the same time that I was replying to "Midnight shift" Mc'Cabe.

I must say that Mr.Drummer is marching to the beat of a different drum than Mr.Mc'Cabe. A much more pleasant and constructive sound.

I am glad that I am shedding light on why certain people get superlative reactions. As I have already mentioned some people have natural qualities which comply with this theory of mine.

However it is very advantageous indeed to be able to know and be aware of why the reactions are coming. In other words it must be helpful to be aware of the theory rather than simply rely on the chance qualities that a person may or may not have.

I rather suspect that now that Warlock knows where the superlative reactions are coming from he will find in time that the reactions will be even more superlative.

Postby Guest » 09/16/03 12:32 PM

I would certainly be happy to discuss semantics with Mr. Wethington. However I am not going to on the grounds that he is not showing respect to the teacher.

Since he thinks that I have "nothing to offer" then I suggest that he go elsewhere.

I think the articles by Pete Mc'Cabe in Genii magazine might be more up his street.

Postby Guest » 09/16/03 01:44 PM

In my studious endeavors I've always showed the most respect to the teachers who did the same with me.

Right now I'm experiencing "Defensive Resentment" towards this "teacher."

Defensive : devoted to resisting or preventing aggression or attack

Resentment : a feeling of indignant displeasure or persistent ill will at something regarded as a wrong

Postby Jon Racherbaumer » 09/16/03 02:32 PM

Putting the merits, fussing, rebuts, and "what ifs" aside, I find it interesting to note that threads like this one are the kind that "churn" and "burn" and stir up RESPONSIVENESS. This may be why Forums exist in the first place?

If essays,long reviews or historical stuff are posted, yawns ensue.


Over our drinks, give me the scores. Order up the pizza. Give us our daily dish, our sizzling gossip, our ego-centered palaver...

I always toast trivia, as well...

Raise your glasses, gentleman (and Lisa)...


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Postby Jason Wethington » 09/16/03 03:01 PM

No where did I say that you (Mark) had nothing to offer. I only state that those who tend to laud their own importance have little to offer. I don't want to sound mean or nasty here but you are not my teacher. Your assumption that I am your student is misplaced.
In no way was disrespect meant to you. If my opinions struck close to home perhaps a re-evaluation of your statements is in order.
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Postby Bob Coyne » 09/16/03 04:55 PM

I found [censored]'s theory interesting and worth thinking about (and experimenting with). He's a successful and experienced professional performer, so I think it's wise to take seriously any theory he might have regarding the psychology of spectators.

The criticism that his theory isn't totally original sounds like sour grapes, as well as being irrelevant. He only claimed that he hadn't seen the idea expressed and elaborated as he has done. I haven't either. Besides, how many times have people here lauded so-and-so for digging up some old neglected nugget out of Tarbell or whatever? It also seems like the real problem people have is with Mr Lewis's online persona, not the substance of what he's saying.

All that aside, it would be interesting to hear comments on when/how this technique works or doesn't. For example, I've been puzzled by a few people I've run across who don't seem to react much to magic. I don't get the sense that it's defensive resentment -- instead it seems to be the fact that they know it's all a trick and hence are not interested or willing to give import to anything (even their sense impressions) that they know ahead of time is bogus. For people like that, I doubt that dropping cards and acting incompetent would make much difference. They'd still know it was a trick.
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Postby Jeff Hinchliffe » 09/16/03 05:33 PM

Well, while this may not satisfy other members of this forum, I know that it will satisfy "The Great [censored]," so I am confirming that this "defensive resentment" technique has gotten Mark some of the most incredible reactions I have ever witnessed. Over the past 6 years or so, I have seen Mark perform, almost exclusively, in informal situations. And from those 6 years I can say that I cannot think of anyone who constantly got reactions as strong as Mr. Lewis. And, I suspect, I will likely not see anyone in the NEXT 6 years that can constantly get reactions as strong as Mr. Lewis.

Jeff Hinchliffe
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Postby Guest » 09/16/03 08:35 PM

I thank young Mr. Hinchliffe for his support. It seems that youth is not wasted on the young after all.
It is very brave of him to come out here and speak his mind.
He will probably be now cursed from here to kingdom come by lots of silly people.

Jeff is not an outspoken person. He IS Canadian after all. He is a serious student of card magic who alas talks about midnight shifts and that sort of thing. He even reads books written after 1954. He lives and breathes card tricks while I only live and breathe trouble.

Take note of this young man. He is a most inventive card trickster. I must say that he has bloomed from a shy diffident performer to a fair old showman (all right, young showman) himself. All in the space of a few months. An amazing metamorphesus before my very eyes.

He probably knows how to spell metamorphesus too. After all, he is a university student and I am not.


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