I seek answers for clarity not for comfort.
As best exemplified by your closing salvo, I don't think you're interested in displaying that clarity--even though I believe you are probably very bright and more than capable of doing so.
I appreciate you approaching the notion of answering my questions, but you came off to me more like a guy who needed to launch into an emotionallly moral treatise INSTEAD of as a respected elder who saw an opportunity to enlighten someone. You also felt a need for condescension which I believe undermined any point you try to make.
A question for perhaps someone else?
Why is it that what is the right choice for one mentalist is not right for another? Is there only one choice to be made?
I don't believe so. Three of my five clients were approached for the show and I didn't want one of them anywhere near it and really only gave close to a 50/50 endorsement to the other two.
I greatly respect the decisions of the great mentalists who declined participation. I would bet the producers were
bugging them incessantly to join up.
Turning them down makes sense for a variety of reasons.
---they would have had to turn down numerous bookings to be in LA for weeks for the show,
---they would have been positioned alongside numerous other mentalists (which could conceivably make him seem less special) and
---if people were to become familiar with their best buttons, then they would lack a certain surprise factor when he hit them live at one of his corporate events.
Who knows, maybe some of the acts would see that the others were all using similar material or would fear that the others would freely liberate parts of their act.
Of course, some of the mentalists there are quite secure that some of their methods are so original that even those in the craft can't fully understand them but even so--
Will the producers be tempted to exploit any conflict or scene of humiliation?
Hell, that happens in baseball and politics let alone direct forms of entertainment. You've been backstage at magic shows. If you're not a catty magician yourself, then you surely know some!
Am I suggesting we implicitly trust all television producers?
I AM suggesting that every specific mentalist on this show will have a better resume after it is over and that every top mentalist who wasn't on the show will figure out a clever way to position themselves as having been too skilled for the show.
Am I worried about exploitation? YESSSSS!!!
But I take some solace in the fact that on a live performance, the entertainer actually has a degree of control he wouldn't have in a taped environment, where editing and post effects can work to make someone seem especially idiotic as many have seen from early episodes of AGT and American Idol.
I also take solace that at least some of the entertainers know not to try to push this as pure science.
Why would Jim Karol do this show then?
I know it's not primarily about the promise of money as he just turned
down a six figure deal to do something that didn't sit well with us morally.
I know its not for ego either as he is uncomfortable with the idea of getting branded as the "World's Best Mentalist". In fact, he would greatly prefer to be known instead as the world's wackyest mentalist."
He is doing the show for numerous reasons with potential money and the joy of entertaining on a wide scale
being just twoof the integral factors.
You see--he believes he can navigate the mousetrap of reality tv and to promote mentalism on a bigger scale, not only to Hollywood but to the Midwest to promote the art form that he loves.
Of course, he's a hybrid act who incorporates some magic and showmanship, comedy and such actual feats of memory
into the mentalism, but he still could end up becoming a good spokesman for whose rising tide will float ALL BOATS.
In my opinion, the world needs more spokespeople who promote the crafts of magic and mentalism.
If anything, the worse thing that could possibly happen is if all ten contestants sucked.
because if that were to happen, all the good ones might actually
out that there bookings will decrease overnight.
As for likening what this show is to Valentino, there is a huge difference in intent and in design. Do you really think Uri Geller is going to be a part of something that does to mentalism what Valentino did with magic? Seriously? Do you think if some jerk who knows the 411 calls in with actual secrets that they will get aired?
My aside that this will lead to a better and technologically more advances version of mentalism may sound like what Valentino said, but my version is not hollow, nor is it an excuse to justify something morally questionable. You shouldn't liken me to that. You really shouldn't. Know the difference and act accordingly.
I recall the Valentino era very well.
I heard two distinct schools of thought. One predicted that it was the end of magic as we know it and the other suggested that it would simply mean that the better magicians would
adapt and prosper.
Sure, some entertainment bookers got cold feet and quit booking magic briefly in anticipation that the public wouldn't want it, but I think we all understand now that he didn't exactly torpedo the entire industry as feared.
Magic historians like many of you must have plenty of historical perspective on Valentino now and so now I ask the question
"What sort of drop in income did Copperfield suffer in the 12 month period in the wake of Valentino's specials"
"who specifically was driven out of the magic business
because of Valentino?"
Maybe the cycle of people exposing magic works similar to the concept of how forests thrive insofar as a good burning every now and then seems to bring it back to life.
After all, I recall people crapping all over Penn & Teller years ago for exposing certain illusions and Criss Angel takes a lot of heat as well, but in essence, it seems to indicate to me that whenever these offensive breaks in kayfabe happen that invariably, it is on the precipice of when a magical spike is about to occur.
Mentalism is about to have the biggest shot at mainstream America in years. Whether it parlays itself well will depend entirely on the entertainment value that the producers
and acts can deliver.
If you're a mentalist reading this, I imagine you should really be rooting for this show to take off instead of just taking pleasure in the possibility that it might crash and burn. In a sense, this is a portion of your livelihood at stake, and in an odd surreal way, you chose not to have even a single say in how that steering wheel will turn.