RE: The Tangle
I owe a public apology for the tone of the initial post...phrases like "prostituting" and "exploitation" undermined the likelihood that the thread would deal with the fundamental issues in which its promise lay...these sowed the seeds of an emotional response, particularly as the creator of these works is a much-liked personality...
that said...I do think that the thread addressed some important issues that lie at the core of contemporary magical culture and that are ignored...
does magic benefit from large numbers of practitiners? How ought magic to be taught to those begining (which supposes the question of what the fundamental skills are -- which supposes the question of what a performance of magic ought to be)? Does the attitude of a performer towards his material affect a performance? How so? Does it benefit magic for beginners to have a sense of entitlement to strong material -- or should strong material be seen as a precious gift to be valued and loved? Does it benefit magic for those who have been at it for awhile to have a sense of entitlement to strong material, without having to seek it out themselves? Are there significant benefits to the imaginative working through of a routine from a text? Are there benefits to having to show initiative before being showered in strong material?
If teaching tricks is teaching magic, then is doing tricks doing magic? If we have this attitude, do we have the right to resent laypeople who see magic as "just tricks?"
If we don't care that duffers are being handed masterworks, with full knowledge that they are likely to butcher them, are we showing disdain for the performance of magic? If we are disdainful of magic, do we have the right to feel indignant when we see her treated as an irrelevant and childish amusement?
These are honest questions -- obviously, from my views in the "really, really dumb thread," I'm leaning towards one set of answers.
In any case, I'm glad that these questions were raised -- and I'm sorry if they were done in a way that excited animous and discouaged rational conversation.