Originally posted by Pete McCabe:
His audiences definitely believe in magic.
I agree with most everything you've written except that. I doubt very much that (that the majority of) Blaine's audiences believe he is doing real magic. Some may
believe he is reading their minds...
People act differently, and more dramatically, when in the presence of a television camera. Anthropologists know that the presence of an observer alters what is observed. How can an observer who is making a record
of the event not
affect those who are being filmed? People laugh louder in movie theater than they do in their family room. The presence and number of others present makes for a more intense emotional experience.
Recently a comedian did a bit for Leno where he went around asking people if they were voting in the upcoming (non-existent) election and if they would vote for him and say a few words for his commercials. He had no problem finding people who would say what he asked them to in order to get on TV.
The presence of a television camera seems to be a greater behavior dis-inhibiter than alcohol.
All this, plus selective editing, adds up to the impression created by the publicly visible
response to Blaine's work.
What I think we need to remember is that our evaluation of Mr. Blaine, based on his public persona, is one of limited insight. We don't know him and simply having knowledge of his methods doesn't provide any more meaningful insight into his thought process than sitting next to him on an airplane does.
Just my $0.03