Mr. Hayden makes several excellent points in his post, which also point up the double-edged sword of exposure.
Back in the early part of the 20th century, Henry Hay published the Amateur Magician's Handbook. We regard this book as a classic, today.
Back then, there was a firestorm of protest about its publication and Mr. Hay caught the brunt of it, full in the face.
Blackstone was chastized for showing tricks in Life, as was Cardini. Thurston caught flack for his lobby books and look at Bruce Elliot's work for, I believe, a cigarette company. All took major hits from the "bretheren" for these works.
Here's an acid test: Next time you are doing close up, or a trick for a few friends, ASK them about the Masked Magician. ASK them what trick methods they remember.
You will be surprised at the answers, folks. The public doesn't CARE all that much about how we do what we do! It's just not that all-consuming a deal to them.
Sure, many of us run into a few people with big mouths in the audience - I had it happen to me with a Leslie Deck at Medieval Times when a dozen high school kids statred calling off the names of the cards during my performance. Why? Because ONE of them had bought a deck at Magic Masters that afternoon and tipped it to the rest of them.
Six months later, the same group came to Medieval Times again. I used the deck on them again (as an experiment) and NOT ONE of them spotted it, let alone was able to READ it.
The Professor's Nightmare was tipped a few years ago in cereal boxes, for crying out loud! Does anyone remember that?
Memory is a fickle thing. We only recall about 2% of what we see after 2 weeks unless there is a strong emotional tie to the information or more than one sensory system is involved.
Also, the intent of an exposure makes all the difference as well. When someone shows how a trick is done with the intent of showing how beautiful or difficult or classy the method is, with the intention of getting the audience interested as practitioners (as Blackstone, Hay and Elliot did), then the damage is probably minimal to the performers and the benefit to magic would probably be pretty great as new people get interested and involved.
But exposure is a double edged sword. The damage done by the elements who expose with only the intent of becoming the next magic millionaire by shoving professional-level secrets down the public's throat in a pitchman style, for either inflated prices or for a pittance - these are the people who are harming magic.
It's one thing to tune in BY CHOICE, to see magic done in a manner that allows the viewer to appreciate the expertise, training and sheer work involved in even the simplest (technically speaking) trick. It's another thing, altogether, to push professional secrets as though they were slum items at a pitchman's suitcase table.
Perhaps there IS a difference between "good" exposure and "bad" exposure.
My guess is that it will be a decision that each of will make for ourselves.
But I could also be dead wrong, too.
Lee Darrow, C.Ht. http://www.leedarrow.com