Brad Henderson wrote:Magic as a performance art has persisted for hundreds of years despite tens of thousands of poor performances - many by "professionals" (operationally defined as people who charge) - just as music has survived thousands of horrible college bands. No one would argue that exposure (intentional or otherwise) or less-than-artful public performances are an inherently good thing, but I'm interested in knowing specifically what you believe has made it "harder for skilled magicians to do what they do." Remember what magicdom thought of Penn and Teller a couple decades ago. They threatened the very fabric of magic! Oh my!! Yet we've survived, and they're our biggest champions. The point is that if even intentional, widely-broadcast "exposure" hasn't killed us, I'm failing to see how inept beginners will.
I don’t think ‘well , we managed to survive’ is really a valid reason to defend poor choices by anyone or in regards to anything. How about instead of looking to excuse these poor choices we instead admit that it would be better to dedicate ourselves to better ones. And to do that requires we acknowledge the difference, and advocate for one over the other.
Which, if you think about it, is exactly what RJ did.
The only difference is he lived that commitment and expressed his feelings without regard to the feelings of those making the poor choices.
As to specifics, I sat in the audience as Ray Anderson floated a woman in the air and overheard a frat boy lean over to his future date rape victim and tell her ‘there’s a forklift behind that curtain’. This of course was the method used by the masked magician. I leaned forward and told the ball capped cretin that ‘no, 6th street was behind that curtain.’ The illusion was being presented in front of a curtain in front of a plate glass window. Someone with half a brain may have realized that would make the Believed method impossible, but the choice of MM led to this person no longer having a magical experience and they intended to insure no one else within ear shot would as well.
This was one person. But We convey magic experiences one person at a time. And more than one person saw those specials. They made it more challenging for those who presented those effects or anything like them. In fact the MM said exactly that - whenever you see this trick or any trick like it, this is how it’s done. That doesn’t open minds. That closes them.
A magic duo in NY were doing exposures as part of their show. Any card trick presented to those who saw this show would be met with ‘it’s a double flip’.
Now a skilled magician could easily move beyond this - but remember - survival shouldn’t be the best we can hope for.
The fact remains nothing was served by these idiots’ choice other than to make it harder for further magicians to convey a feeling of magic.
I can’t think of a single reason why this should be defended as some are doing here.
And to those who do believe the art in magic can transcend such obstacles, I contend that exposure of this nature only serves to reinforce the idea that magic is nothing more than a puzzle and that the relationship of magi to audience is inherently antagonistic.
This combative, technique fixated attitude is an obstacle to magic being treated as an art. It breeds an audience that goes to the theater and spends all evening looking for the lights while ignoring the story on stage.
We don’t need to condone this. Condemnation is a far better stance.
Finally, you ignore what Bill has pointed out. Magicians are thieves. Ricky saw part of his act presented in theaters just down the street from where he had worked. We all see how dealers rush to sell long ignored routines once Honed by visionary artists after being seen on tv
Del ray once told me that magic, by definition, should be special. Some work their entire lives developing a repertoire of mysteries and miracles, unique feelingful experiences, to share with their audiences.
When the lumpen copy those visions they make the work of the real artist less special.
Why would you even try to defend this?