David Ben - exposer

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David Alexander
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Re: David Ben - exposer

Postby David Alexander » December 30th, 2004, 7:06 pm

Thanks to Robert Allen I shall rephrase. I should have said, "Is this much ado about very little?" In the context that I have previously explained, I think yes.

It is interesting to see how wide-ranging this discussion has been and how David Ben has gone from an exposer in a highly limited area to someone without integrity because he does not follow the "rules" of the "profession." I expect a call for a public flogging next.

There is no "profession" and there are no "rules," only those professed by amateur societies for their members, rules which they are too often unwilling to enforce.

Were we to apply Robert Allen's criteria, many
of the world's most famous and successful professional magicians would be seen as without "integrity."

I do not know David Ben. We have communicated a few times and my limited interaction with him
has always been pleasant and courteous. With "all" that has transpired, all that has been said of him in these various postings, I would happily welcome him into my home any time he cared to visit for I see his "transgressions" as utterly and completely "inconsequential."

Unlike Robert Allen I would not put Ben in the same category as someone who collects money for books that have never been printed; stealing tricks from others and selling them as his own; or any of the myriad affronts often discussed here.

I would observe that hack amateurs and wannbe professionals who have little to no understanding of presenting magic before the public do far more damage than David Ben could do in a lifetime of giving motivational talks of the type shown in the link above.

He was professional and entertaining which means he'll help create an opening for another professional to follow.

I would prefer a dozen David Bens doing what he's doing to one or two hack amateurs who bore and offend their audiences, convincing people that "magic" is not good entertainment.

A bit of perspective here would be a good thing.

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Re: David Ben - exposer

Postby magicam » December 30th, 2004, 8:11 pm

Interesting thread. I'm not comfortable with seeing the ethical lines as black and white because I think there are too many subtleties regarding the topic of "exposure."

Lisa Cousins wrote:

One of my Genii Forum pet peeves is people who register and then make their first post to trash somebody. It's even more offensive when the person does not reveal his own identity, and infinitely more so when the target is somebody who has raised the magical bar for so many of us.

I predict that Tom G. will post to this thread only, and never become a vital and interesting contributor to this on-line community. I also predict that David Ben will continue to sustain his very high level of magic and encourage the rest of us to do the same.
Not that I agree with Tom G., but Im not sure that he/she is trashing David Ben. Criticizing, yes; trashing, Im not so sure. Ive read Lisa Cousins posts many times and they are thoughtful. But I have to disagree with the notion that a newbie is not entitled to an opinion. This is a forum and the expression of opinions is what GF is for. As to revealing his/her identity, Tom G. seems open enough, and his/her e-mail address is not hidden. Further, I do not agree with the idea that a valuable contributor to magic (which is, I believe, Cousins opinion of David Ben) should not be subject to honest, albeit candid, criticism. If Tom G. never posts again, that is his/her prerogative.

Im not trying to be too harsh on Cousins and I hope my comments are accepted in the spirit of honest dialogue. Its just that, on this particular point, I disagree fairly strongly with Cousins. The point that I disagree with most is that the comment should somehow be interpreted in light of the person making it (newbie vs. experienced or well-known poster). There are of course times when the person speaking lends weight to the idea expressed. But, generally speaking, I believe a comment should stand or fall on its merits and not on the identity of the messenger.

Finally, in the few moments I had with David in New York City one evening, I found him to be an utter gentleman and a genuine lover of magic. His enthusiasm was very apparent and infectious. But, even with the greatest of respect accorded to David, should he be immune from being criticized in a civil and good faith manner? IMHO, I dont think so. And I would venture a guess that he would be the first to agree.

Clay Shevlin

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Re: David Ben - exposer

Postby Guest » December 30th, 2004, 9:49 pm

David Ben is one of the most highly skilled, respected and successful magicians in North America. Perhaps the best in Canada.

Tom G., whoever he is, must logically be less famous, skilled, and well paid, which may explain the reason for this attack, and the title of the thread.

I would have preferred to see this speech and presentation posted in the Link Watch section, as "An Amazing 30 Minute Video of David Ben Online for Free!" [Direct links here or here.


Anyone who has David Ben's book "Tricks" will benefit from watching this material, as he demonstrates his take on Everybody's Card which, trust me, the businessmen are not going to go home and perform unless they can do two dribble forces, a Top Change From A Spread, and a One Hand Second Deal.

Instead of wondering if Mr. Ben is a candidate for a public burning, you might wonder if he's not the victim here, since he didn't ask Canspeak to post a free version of his talk where everyone, including magicians who like to "borrow" lines of patter, can see it at no charge. It would be a shame, in fact, if he responds to this by asking them to take it down.

A few years ago I attended a presentation by an American-born Buddhist practitioner, who taught martial arts and esoteric Buddhism.

He was reading from a copy of a secret mikkyo scroll, and said "Hm. It says here 'Very important. And very secret.'" He looked up at us and smiled, "Oh, what the heck, I'll tell you anyway."

Here's the point about exposure: I promptly forgot the esoteric Buddhist secret. Went right out of my head, and I have a good memory.

Not relevant, I'm not much of a believer. (But I can still do the some of the martial arts maneuvers he showed us.)

The businessmen in the audience are not going to get anything harmful to magic from this. They're just going to get the motivational message.

And yes, they're also going to have much better experience of magic than they would get from many practitioners of Magic Aversion Therapy.

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Re: David Ben - exposer

Postby Pete McCabe » December 31st, 2004, 12:51 am

Originally posted by Robert Allen:
I just don't get it. As children we learn basic rules. Things like "thou shalt not kill".
I've never killed another person. I think people shouldn't kill other people.

But if someone were trying to kill my wife or one of my sons I would kill them without hesitation. I would regret, for the rest of my life, having to do it, but not having done it.

So if "thou shalt not kill" has exceptions, surely "don't expose the secret of a magic trick" is not more stringent.

Sorry to pick on Robert Allen, but:
Is it REALLY that freaking hard to follow such a basic rule, to the letter, at least until the person you're considering showing it to has demonstrated that they have put in a bit of effort to earn the knowledge?
Which is it? Do we have to follow the rule to the letter, or just until the person you're considering showing it to has demonstrated that they have put in a bit of effort to earn the knowledge?

You can't have it both ways. Either you absolutely insist on the rule being followed to the letter, or you allow for exceptions. It sounds like Robert Allen allows for exceptions. I agree. But why then does he argue otherwise?

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Re: David Ben - exposer

Postby timbrown » December 31st, 2004, 6:42 am

What is the difference between a magician and a layperson?

A magician is someone who, with a few mouse clicks and a credit card, purchases the secrets of magic.

A layperson is someone who hasn't yet clicked that mouse.

Let's face it - there isn't a whole lot of difference between Mr. Ben's lecture and an instructional DVD (I actually think that Mr. Ben's lecture is better than most of the instructional DVD's). In fact, it is more likely that a layperson would obtain secrets from one of the thousands of online "Magic Shops" than from Mr. Ben's lecture. After all, the lecture is open to only a few but the online shops are open to all.

Tim Brown

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Re: David Ben - exposer

Postby Guest » December 31st, 2004, 7:13 am

My God...not the tossed out deck. What is this world coming to. Time to grow up kids...As Shakespear once noted...Much ado about nothing.
David Devant and Penn and Teller would be nailed by some but I would rather hang out with them any day...since, you see they are real magicians and so is David Ben. Like it or not, exposure is a part of this artform, unless we all leaned from a secretive master without venturing into a library to read a book on magic by, oh let's say, Blackstone, Scarne, Bruce Elliot to name a few. And not everyone that went for the book ended up a magician but some were turned on to the art by having it explained (exposed). I have been to David's lecture when he did the tossed out deck and I would venture to say that few, if any, that did not have an interest in magic would later remember how the trick was done.

For the record, my belief is what hurts magic the most is not exposure but the poor performer and there are too many of them to count. David Ben is a consumate performer and gives back much more to the art then most.

By the way, Tom G, I noticed that you joined this website under this false name on December 29th. Interesting how you find it easy to smear someone while remaining incognito...and, at the same time, talk about ehtics. Strange set of principles that you share with us.

Nick Sacco

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Re: David Ben - exposer

Postby Guest » December 31st, 2004, 7:52 am

Originally posted by Nick Sacco:
By the way, Tom G, I noticed that you joined this website under this false name on December 29th. Interesting how you find it easy to smear someone while remaining incognito...and, at the same time, talk about ehtics. Strange set of principles that you share with us.
Numerous people join numerous websites under false or cryptic names. While I don't prefer to do so myself, I don't see why it's considered unethical.

That's not a comment on the gist of this thread, only on the subject of user names.

Dave

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Re: David Ben - exposer

Postby Richard Kaufman » December 31st, 2004, 8:25 am

It would seem that "Tom G." is someone who has a particular grudge against David Ben.
It's highly unlikely that anyone would run across the link he posted by accident.
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Re: David Ben - exposer

Postby Robert Allen » December 31st, 2004, 8:29 am

The earlier analogy about "who is a magician" is interesting and I agree. But by pressing the mouse button and spending some of one's own cash on an item you have demonstrated in a very small way your interest in magic. People who get that information for free have demonstrated nothing. People who get that information free as a way of explaining a point while paying for something else also have not demonstrated an interest, and thus have no rightful claim to the information.

David Alexander writes: "There is no "profession" and there are no "rules," only those professed by amateur societies for their members, rules which they are too often unwilling to enforce." LOL. I see, so since magic tricks aren't patented or copyrighted, there's no problem with ripping them off. Thanks for clearing that up.

I'm not sitting here fuming about David Ben exposing a trick to a room full of execs. I'm just baffled as to how a magician would pick the tool of exposing a trick to laymen as part of a presentation used to make money. It's like doing a Catholic communion and just handing a bag of wafers to the first person in line and telling them to take one and pass the bag down to the next person while the priest goes out for a cigarette. It's just not done.

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Re: David Ben - exposer

Postby Joe Z » December 31st, 2004, 9:07 am

Originally posted by Nick Sacco:
[QB] Like it or not, exposure is a part of this artform, unless we all leaned from a secretive master without venturing into a library to read a book on magic by, oh let's say, Blackstone, Scarne, Bruce Elliot to name a few.
IMO, writing and publishing a general magic book for the lay public or even magic community could hardly be considered exposure. However, when a magician purposefully reveals to lay audiences the concepts and working of a gimmick or ploy used by other working performers -- especially when that concept is not an original idea of the magician -- that is what I would call exposure.

Originally posted by Nick Sacco:
For the record, my belief is what hurts magic the most is not exposure but the poor performer and there are too many of them to count. David Ben is a consumate performer and gives back much more to the art then most.
No doubt, poor performers do hurt magic and there are lots of bad performers. However, I would guess that most of them probably don't intentionally mean to demean the craft or expose through their wretched performances.

David Ben is certainly a hard-working and gifted performer, and for this reason I am saddened that he would choose to expose in this manner.

Joe Z.

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Re: David Ben - exposer

Postby David Alexander » December 31st, 2004, 9:19 am

Originally posted by Robert Allen:

David Alexander writes: "There is no "profession" and there are no "rules," only those professed by amateur societies for their members, rules which they are too often unwilling to enforce." LOL. I see, so since magic tricks aren't patented or copyrighted, there's no problem with ripping them off. Thanks for clearing that up.
Robert Allen quotes me and then "explains" my quote. I made a statement of fact and Allen either misunderstood or deliberately ignored my meaning.

For Allen's benefit I will speak slower. One can be a successful working professional magician and not be a member of an amateur magic society. Their rules can be accepted or rejected as the professional decides, the amateur's values are not necessarily those of the working pro. This is not saying that it is permissible to steal another man's creation only that magic is not a profession with recognized professional standards and manditory professional association membership.

Magic dealers have been knocking off trick inventors for decades with little to nothing said about it. As I pointed out earlier, the Chop Cup was knocked off by dozens of manufacturers and nary a word was said by anyone, individuals or magic societies. Somehow with Chop's death the Chop Cup passed into public domain without any consideration of what rights his widow may have had.

This "blind eye" can be found in the literature back to the 1920s and 30s. The real inventor of the Floating Light Bulb was briefly mentioned in The Sphinx twice. Burling Hull knocked it off, advertising it far and wide and no one said a word. Magic history is littered with similiar examples.

The dealers who have done this and other "less than ethical" behaviors are supported by amateur magicians, recognized and given awards at amateur magic societies, their unethical and possibly illegal behavior overlooked and ignored. Those who are ostricized are in the minority.

Then there is the behavior of small groups of amateurs who buy one video tape or one manuscript that they copy and share "with friends." The late Brian Flora once told me how he used to sell numerous copies of his tapes to people in a certain European country. After a short while the orders became one copy, sent to the same individual who, Brian learned, made copies for everyone else.

David Ben's behavior is inconsequental in the light of amateur magic's history. As I said before, I'd rather have David Ben doing what he does than a handful of hack amateurs ruining things for professionals who actually know what they're doing.

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Re: David Ben - exposer

Postby Michael Kamen » December 31st, 2004, 10:25 am

Rather than being merely tolerated, David Ben's performance, in its setting, should be extolled. His audience could not care less about the modus operandi of a card trick. Mr. Ben makes for them the real connection between magicians and successful, influential, problem-solvers. This indirectly raises the status of all expert magicians, the relevance and import of their magical knowledge, the desirability of having a magician perform at their next event!
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Re: David Ben - exposer

Postby Robert Allen » December 31st, 2004, 11:22 am

Mr. Alexander, I'm a perfectionist (NOT perfect, ok?) I'd also like to have "hack amateurs" not doing bad performances, AND have skilled profesionals not set bad examples.

You've posted some interesting historical observations. But you've not come out and made any point other than that amateur magicians are quite often sleazy. That's a complete non sequitor to the discussion of behavior of skilled profesionals, and is certainly no justification for the behavior under discussion. I've always learned that the better you are at something, the higher the bar for your behavior.

Are you saying that since the set of rules commonly associated with magic, i.e. don't reveal secrets, are from amateur magic socities that they have no meaning in the real world, and that since there's no governing board of magic it's just "Do what you please shall be the whole of The Law?"

In life, rules are supposed to be applied universally. Of course they are not. Cops steal, politicians lie and screw people, and magicians rip each other off. It doesn't mean it's right, and it should not mean it's acceptable.

Your comments would seem to lend a whole new meaning to "Kids, don't try this at home" :) .

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Re: David Ben - exposer

Postby Guest » December 31st, 2004, 11:32 am

Fascinating thread. It seems exposure is ok, if it benefits you. And the exposer os some one you know, like ir admire,
I'm glad to hear that. I've made a list of those who feel there's nothing wrong with exposure. And I'll feel no guilt if I can benefit from exposing their material
Ford Kross
Looking forward to becoming an exposer

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Michael Kamen
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Re: David Ben - exposer

Postby Michael Kamen » December 31st, 2004, 11:42 am

Mr. Kross, it seems you have actually heard nothing. Please be whatever you are. Don't blame others for leading you where they never did.
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Re: David Ben - exposer

Postby David Britland » December 31st, 2004, 11:47 am

The secret of the Tossed Out Deck was actually revealed to the general public back in 1974 by none other than David Hoy. See Hoy's biography Super-Psychic.

If you don't have the book to hand see my very occasional (i.e. hardly ever updated :) ) blog for details:

Cardopolis

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David

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Re: David Ben - exposer

Postby Glenn Farrington » December 31st, 2004, 11:55 am

I cant believe it...last night while doing the tossed out deck, some guy yelled out across the bar "Isnt that what David Ben taught last week to a small group of businessmen who not only learned more about their approach to bussiness but also walked away with a new found respect for the art of magic and the thinking behind it!"

I said yes it is. He said, "cool". Then I had him killed.

I wish instead of debating the ethical side of this, all of you (especially those that have the technical skills involved that David only hinted at), go watch this tape and learn something worth far more than you could possibly imagine. Not just the magic itself (which includes his own personal way of doing the effect that has subtleties most others have not thought of), but the strategy of thinking that can help you in any life problem solving situation.

Hmmm. I'm asking magicians to learn about business skills and new approaches to older magic techniques. Hmmm...never mind, just follow this swinging pendulum ...we never had this conversation...we never had this conversation...we never had this conversation...now go buy a Sankey DVD, pop open a coke sit back and relax...we never had this conversation.
Comedy's Easy...Dying Sucks.

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Re: David Ben - exposer

Postby Robert Allen » December 31st, 2004, 12:32 pm

It seems to me that magicians are learing plenty of business skills, as practiced by the top execs at Enron, Fannie Mae, etc. (and NO, I am not comparing David Ben to those people in terms of the amount of money they make or the amount of corruption involved).

I guess what it comes down to is simply "Hey that's show business." Maybe Ford Kross has it knocked.

Times like this I wish I had a canonical list of famous magicians who've gone on record as saying that one should avoid associating with magicians as they will only rip you off or screw you. I know I read about one a very old linking ring, and other may have been a mentalist (though I can't recall who).

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Re: David Ben - exposer

Postby David Alexander » December 31st, 2004, 12:39 pm

I thought I was clear enough, but, for Robert Allen who again erroneously interprets my words - apparently Im not. So, here it is Bob, as clear as I can make it.

1) Magic is not a profession.

2) Membership in (and adherence to the rules of) national or local amateur magic clubs is not necessary to be a successful professional magician. Unlike the legal profession or psychology or medicine, there is no governing body that lays down the rules for all to obey.

3) For his own reasons, David Ben decided to use magic principles as illustrations of his points to a lay audience, points that were made effectively by his illustrations, points that will be remembered when the illustrations are forgotten.

4) I am well aware, as you and others should be, that lay people retain very little detail about how magic is performed, even when theyre given details, because theyre not interested enough to remember.

To wit: Dunningers act was being sold back in the late 1920s by an unscrupulous dealer, so Dunninger, through friends at a national magazine, exposed his own act. Sales for the expose vanished and Joe continued doing the act, successfully, for decades thereafter. When he was asked about this Dunninger would respond by asking a question of his own: Do you remember the article in the same magazine about the 3-tube heterodyne radio circuit? Of course not, the amateur would reply, Im not interested in that stuff.

Exactly my point, Dunninger would say with a smile.

5) A lot of amateurs think exposing in any form is the end of the world and get all worked up over it. It isn't. They shouldn't be, especially when there's nothing they can do about it except bitch and moan and demonstrate their sanctimony in places like this.

6) I used several historical examples to a) put Bens behavior in historical context; and b) illustrate the on-going hypocrisy of most amateur magic organizations and a large portion of the amateur magic population (read previous posts for details).

7) Ben presented himself professionally. He was articulate, charming, and delivered his talk like the professional he is. He will open doors for me, should I decide to go that route as opposed to the hack amateurs who endlessly impose their needy performances on an unwilling public, teaching people that magic is not good entertainment.

7) The Cups and Balls, the Linking Rings (the late Andy Kaufman exposed them on national TV), the Center Tear, the Thumb Tip, the Svengali Deck (Marshall Brodein sold hundreds of thousands) and dozens of other classics tricks and devices of Magic have been sold and exposed to the general public for generations, yet they are still a part of professional repertoires all over the world, presented every day with great success. Anyone with a scintilla of knowledge about magics history would know that.

8) When I was a kid there were no DVDs or video players or desktop publishing. Books were scarce and expensive. We learned from books we could afford, each other, or, occasionally, a mentor. In short, we had to work for what we learned.

It isn't that way today. Thanks to the Internet, no member of the public has to work very hard to locate magic secrets. Now it seems that its all laid out for anyone with a computer and a credit card.

Free magic secrets abound on the Internet, but even with the that ubiquity, magic remains more or less secret because, fortunately, most human beings don't care enough to make the effort to find out how its done and the rest are too lazy to bother. (Lenny Valentine aka The Masked Magician being a clear exception to this as he and Fox delivered the info to the living rooms of a nation of couch potatoes as opposed to them having to get off their asses and do a Google search for any of the hundreds of magic sites on the Internet.)

In this context David Bens actions are miniscule and inconsequential, will not harm anyone, will not affect any professionals career and, as said previously, any competent professional could follow Bens performance and do substantially the same material slightly re-vamped, and it would still fool the audience because they didnt necessarily understand what they just saw and were told, wont remember, werent particularly interested in the secrets and, most importantly, there was too much detail for them to absorb much of anything except the point (not the details) that Ben wanted to make. Indeed, he himself does the same trick again for the audience, fools them with it and has to tell them what he did because they didn't understand.

Ben's actions are hardly in the category of Busby who took money and didnt produce the books he was paid for or dealers who blatantly knock-off the ideas of others, producing tricks and apparatus for their own profit without paying the creators.

Ben's alledged "transgressions" vanish into insignificance in all this.

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Re: David Ben - exposer

Postby Michael Kamen » December 31st, 2004, 12:51 pm

What transgressions? Ben's work, so far as we have seen, advances the interests and status of magic and magicians.
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Re: David Ben - exposer

Postby David Alexander » December 31st, 2004, 12:56 pm

Michael,

That's why I used the words "alledged" and "transgressions" with the word "transgressions" in quotes.

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Re: David Ben - exposer

Postby Michael Kamen » December 31st, 2004, 1:10 pm

Was enlarging on rather than challenging your conclusion David. Your arguments above are articulate, well-supported, and are so-far unassailed.
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Re: David Ben - exposer

Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » December 31st, 2004, 1:19 pm

Originally posted by David Alexander:
Indeed, he himself does the same trick again for the audience, fools them with it and has to tell them what he did because they didn't understand.
Just in case anyone misses this point in your lengthy (and excellent) post, I'm quoting it here.

If exposure is so dangerous to the art of magic, how is it that he's able to use the exact same principle in a slightly different manner and completely baffle a roomful of people whom he just exposed that principle to?

-Jim

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Re: David Ben - exposer

Postby David Alexander » December 31st, 2004, 1:31 pm

Well, there you are!

Years ago, when I was doing close-up for the Trader Vic Organization, I did a local TV news program. They brought a crew to the restaurant and I did several things including the mental bit of change in the spectator's pocket. I used the restaurant's matchbooks to write in. I'd been doing this for years and had it down.

The reporter was an amateur magician and that was the bit that was used on the air. The anchor accused the reporter of being in cahoots with me (I'd used his change and his pocket). He denied it and the anchor - Baxter Ward, then the most powerful news anchor in LA, who would later become an LA County Supervisor - started grilling the reporter on how I did it....all on the air while the rest of the reporters sat waiting.

Ward squeezed the reporter, asking if he knew how I did it. The reporter foolishly admitted that he did and Ward continued to question the reporter. Sitting at home I was amazed that this was going on.

Ward was relentless and after several VERY uncomfortable moments, the reporter admitted that I had "something" on my thumb that allowed me to write in the amount after I learned it.

I was aghast and understandably upset.

Three hours later I was in the restaurant and people started asking me about that trick....would I do it for them? What the hell, I thought.

I did it about ten times in two hours and it worked just like it always did. No one said anything about how it was done. Seems they just couldn't keep the "secret" in their minds long enough.

It wasn't a disaster at all and I happily did the effect for nearly the entire two and one-half years I appeared at the restaurant.

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Re: David Ben - exposer

Postby D Laub » December 31st, 2004, 2:26 pm

David Alexander,
Considering your position on exposure, I'll bet you'll get some surprising input from magicians in your audiences in the future. Exposure is always good, ...no?
Denny

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Re: David Ben - exposer

Postby Guest » December 31st, 2004, 2:31 pm

[QUOTE]Originally posted by David Alexander:
[QB] Thanks to Robert Allen I shall rephrase. I should have said, "Is this much ado about very little?" In the context that I have previously explained, I think yes.

It is interesting to see how wide-ranging this discussion has been and how David Ben has gone from an exposer in a highly limited area to someone without integrity because he does not follow the "rules" of the "profession." I expect a call for a public flogging next.

There is no "profession" and there are no "rules," only those professed by amateur societies for their members, rules which they are too often unwilling to enforce.

.From Ford Kross
If we are to take Merriam Webster as an authority
they define profession as

a calling requiring specialized knowledge and often long and intensive academic preparation b : a principal calling, vocation, or employment c : the whole body of persons engaged in a calling

Now that sounds like magic to mr. Because, something is a profession. Does not mean that all those engaged in it are professional. Attorneys or physicians, acting illegally are un professional
There are no laws regulating magic. So nothing is illegal. But I dare say the first rule we learned is don't tell how it's done.
As some one who's supported himself and family with fees earned performing. I can assure you exposure hurts. Not insurmountably, but it does hurt
I generally find, those that say it doesn't easrn their living doing sopmething else.

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Re: David Ben - exposer

Postby Guest » December 31st, 2004, 2:34 pm

I don't feel I have any particular ax to grind with Mr. Ben, but in my opinion his use of TOD was gratuitous. I feel confident that somebody of his creative skills could have found another way to make his points. I'm under no illusions that my career will come crashing down because of it. I don't expect magic to fall apart. But I do think it hinders my ability to use the same effect in corporate presentations, albeit marginally. In this respect, I think it is an inconsiderate act. It lowers my estimation of David Ben, and I wish he hadn't used the effect in that way.

I expect that many on this thread will say I'm just exhibiting an amateur's mindset, or that I'm somehow I'm not fit to be expressing this opinion. So be it.

--Christopher Carter

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Michael Kamen
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Re: David Ben - exposer

Postby Michael Kamen » December 31st, 2004, 2:43 pm

Denny,

You should be ashamed of yourself.
Such threats to an upstanding and contributing member of the magic community are far more damaging to magic then the harm you see perpetrated by a third party through alleged exposures. Is that the way to behave when someone disagrees with you? This is a forum for magicians, to share ideas on topics important to magicians. Sheeshh!
Michael Kamen

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Re: David Ben - exposer

Postby Robert Allen » December 31st, 2004, 2:44 pm

Christopher Carter, thank you for succinctly stating the point I've been so bad at making in this discussion thus far.

Anyhow, with Messrs Ben and Alexander leading the way, I'm sure we'll see more and more newbies figuring "hey it's ok to expose to my friends, or for financial gain, after all, the big guys do it". Monkey see, monkey do.

[supplemental]
The issue, to put it simply, is not exposure per se, but the disrespect that such actions demonstrate. You may argue about the degree, but it's disrespect regardless.

D Laub
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Re: David Ben - exposer

Postby D Laub » December 31st, 2004, 3:17 pm

Michael,
You missed the point of my comment. No one is threatening to disrupt anybody's show with exposure. It was an ad absurdum argument demonstrating that all exposure is not good, contrary to many arguing on this thread. It is ok to argue in abstract, but put the way I did makes it personal and close to home. (It is a standard debate technique.)It seems to be ok to expose as long as it is not my act being exposed.
David Brittland
Surely even you must see the difference between David Hoy doing what ever he wants with his own performance piece, and David Ben trading on other people's creations?

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Re: David Ben - exposer

Postby David Alexander » December 31st, 2004, 3:21 pm

Jeez....some of you are as thick and two planks. I never said "exposure was good." I said that what David Ben did was inconsequential for the various reasons stated. If you can't understand what I wrote, find someone to read and explain it to you.

If Denny Laub had read some of my previous posts in other areas of this forum and learned how I handled hecklers in the few times I had to get physical, he'd not make foolish threats which do not reflect well on him....although with that said, I do like and use some of the mentalism he wrote up years ago. Nice material, Denny.

David Ben did not ruin The Tossed Out Deck for corporate presentations any more than Ali exposing the Thumb Tip stopped its use. As I said previously, Docc Hilford's Cassandra Deck would easily fool the pants off anyone who had just seen Ben perform. Hell, Ben did the same trick for them seconds after he explained the first one and it still fooled them.

I've used the Himber Wallet in thousands of close-up performances. ONCE, in all that time, I ran into a woman whose husband had bought one from a magic dealer. She proudly announced at the table that her husband had "one of those trick wallets." I smiled and moved on. So what! Didn't stop me from using the prop in the years since.

And Ford, for clarification, I am using the definition of profession as usually found in our society - professional as adhering to a set of ethics and rules laid down by an association or group who certfies the minimum standards and quantifies the ethical behavior of the organization's members to which the members must belong in order to follow that profession: i.e. doctors, psychologists, lawyers, etc. That's how I'm using "profession" Mr.

Of course, Ford, the members of those professional who act illegally are "un-professional," however what you fail to understand or mention is that there can be consequences for that un-professional behavior such as disbarment in the case of lawyers, suspension or loss of license in the case of doctors and psychologists, which means they cannot practice their profession.

I see no similar machinery in "magic." I do not know if Ben is a member of any amateur magic group, but if several people here had their way, he'd be thrown out of all of them. How exactly would that solve the supposed problem of "exposure"? He'd still be Canada's leading professional magician and even if his being "excommunicated" made the papers, people wouldn't stop hiring him or going to his shows or anything and in six weeks, the public wouldn't remember, if they cared in the first place. So, what's all the sound and fury worth?

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Re: David Ben - exposer

Postby Michael Kamen » December 31st, 2004, 3:43 pm

Well, ok Denny you need not feel ashamed of yourself then. I was not aware of the ad absurdum thing but now I am so thank you for enlightening me. I have not heard anyone on this forum argue that exposure is a good or honorable thing in and of itself. Notwithstanding, there is considerable difference of opinion as to whether David Ben's show constituted that or not. The black and white rule of "no exposure" is a great idea for youngsters coming up in magic from the age of 9 or so. It gives them a clear rule to follow to get started. One would only hope that an adult is capable of finer distinctions and insight, and would exercise such judgement rather than feeling bound by black and white rules learned in childhood. Even I can see that. Heck I may as well not cross the street if I'm not gonna do everything I was told not to do as a kid.
Michael Kamen

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Re: David Ben - exposer

Postby Guest » December 31st, 2004, 3:48 pm

.

.


.

And Ford, for clarification, I am using the definition of profession as usually found in our society - professional as adhering to a set of ethics and rules laid down by an association or group who certfies the minimum standards and quantifies the ethical behavior of the organization's members to which the members must belong in order to follow that profession: i.e. doctors, psychologists, lawyers, etc. That's how I'm using "profession" Mr.

Of course, Ford, the members of those professional who act illegally are "un-professional," however what you fail to understand or mention is that there can be consequences for that un-professional behavior such as disbarment in the case of lawyers, suspension or loss of license in the case of doctors and psychologists, which means they cannot practice their profession.

I see no similar machinery in "magic." I do not know if Ben is a member of any amateur magic group, but if several people here had their way, he'd be thrown out of all of them. How exactly would that solve the supposed problem of "exposure"? He'd still be Canada's leading professional magician and even if his being "excommunicated" made the papers, people wouldn't stop hiring him or going to his shows or anything and in six weeks, the public wouldn't remember, if they cared in the first place. So, what's all the sound and fury worth? [/QB][/QUOTE]


From Ford
Well you can make up any definition you like to justify opinions. By your definition if I belong to an organization, I'm a professional. If not I'm not. That's not what the dictionary says. Attorneys are licensed by the various state not Bar association. As are physicians
I clearely stated there's nothing illegal about exposure. Nothing illegal about being a bigot either. Analogy, not swaying exposers are all bigits
The only way to discourage, exposure is to ban the exposers from the company of men of good will
Will it stop it, probably not. Wil it slow it down, probably
I won't support Mr Ben's products or performances. I'll usde what ever suasion I have to convince others to do the same
It may not be enough, but it's something

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Re: David Ben - exposer

Postby David Alexander » December 31st, 2004, 4:02 pm

No Ford, I'm not making up a definition to support my statements...and you would only be a professional if you belonged to an organization that is professional in nature and scope such as a local, state, or national bar association if you were a lawyer or the California Medical Association or the American Medical Assoc if you were a doctor. There are clear benefits of belonging and clear disciplinary protocols for those who violate the profession's ethics...client confidentiality is a case in point for lawyers. Violate that and the lawyer can be disbarred. State licensing or not, he won't be working as a lawyer any time soon.

Clearly, you don't understand what a professional is, so further discussion seems kind of pointless.

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Re: David Ben - exposer

Postby Robert Allen » December 31st, 2004, 4:32 pm

No Ford, I'm not making up a definition to support my statements...and you would only be a professional if you belonged to an organization that is professional in nature and scope such as a local, state, or national bar association if you were a lawyer or the California Medical Association or the American Medical Assoc if you were a doctor. There are clear benefits of belonging and clear disciplinary protocols for those who violate the profession's ethics...client confidentiality is a case in point for lawyers. Violate that and the lawyer can be disbarred. State licensing or not, he won't be working as a lawyer any time soon.

Clearly, you don't understand what a professional is, so further discussion seems kind of pointless.
Mr. Alexander you are sorely mistaken. I am a computer programmer. I have a college degree in CS. I'm not currently a member of the IEEE or the ACM, but if I were they would have no way of disbarring me from a job in my chosen profession so please stop flaming Mr. Kross. You are wrong in doing so, just as, in my opinion, you are wrong for implying that magicians need not have any moral obligation beyond that which they deem personally pleasing, since there is no overarching board which can disbar them and prevent them from doing the cups and balls for pay. What absurdity.

For what it's worth I will point out that neither the AMA nor the American Bar Association are particularly respected by the consuming public. Try to get a lawyer who screws up your case disbarred sometime. It takes a lot of money and a lot of luck. And the AMA is among the largest pro-doctor lobbying groups in existance.

Mr. Kamen, when I was a kid I learned to 'look both ways before crossing the street', and I still do. Many rules we learn as we become more experienced in whatever endeavor are set down for good reasons. Everyone risks breaking a few rules. But trying to explain how you didn't really break the rules because you give more than you take, etc., is usually viewed as somewhat suspect. Well, it was when I was brought up, and I'm only 43.

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Michael Kamen
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Re: David Ben - exposer

Postby Michael Kamen » December 31st, 2004, 4:55 pm

Mr. Allen, we are still young men, you at 43 and me at 55. I for one am not suggesting that Mr. Ben be exonerated for the misdemeanor of exposure because he "gives more than he takes." It is my view that he has committed no misdemeanor; that for you and I as grown up adults (albeit still young), to call what he did exposure, is to too narrowly confine our thinking within boundaries that were definately appropriate to us as much littler ones than we even are now. With that, I wish you and the forum the very best in and until we meet in the New Year.
Michael Kamen

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Re: David Ben - exposer

Postby Jon Racherbaumer » December 31st, 2004, 5:09 pm

SOPHISTRY CENTRAL, HERE I COME

First, let me proclaim that Ive been enjoying this thread, BUT.

(But as my esteemed colleague, Gene Anderson, once said: Everything you say before but is [censored].)

But.but.

I feel outclassed

Although I put words on paper (too many by some accounts), I never felt comfortable calling myself a writer. Im not being self-effacing here. I know that writing is a difficult art and polemical writing has its own, serious challenges. Unfortunately, Im a lazy, rambling scribbler, writing as Big-Easy drunks speak at one-in-the-morning, wishing to be loquaciously Irish or fluently French.

So, when I read the back-and-forth commentary of this thread, which I find enormously enjoyable (although I also enjoy blindfold chess matches and Louisiana cock-fights), I see the vexing problems inherent in argumentative discourse. Furthermore, in cyberspace all flash-points are flashier and flames are easily ignited. Matters quickly become personal.

Perhaps its time to reread Arthur Schopenhauer's THE ART OF ALWAYS BEING RIGHT?

(Ye, godsIm interjecting Schopenhauer into this thread. Too much egg nog?)

However, it may be germane? I just ran across his sardonic book, which is being republished and touted. Schopenhauer's testy book laid out 38count em, troops! rhetorical tricks guaranteed to let you win any argument even when you are defeated in logical discussion. One reviewer wrote that this book is an exercise in irony and realism, humor and melancholyno antiquarian oddity, but an instruction manual in intellectual duplicity that no aspiring parliamentarian, trainee lawyer, wannabe TV interviewer or newspaper columnist can afford to be without."

Perhaps in America the point of public argument is not to be right, but to win? Truth cannot be the first casualty in our daily war of words, Schopenhauer suggests, because it was never the bone of contention in the first place. Arthur said: "We must regard objective truth as an accidental circumstance, and look only to the defense of our own position and the refutation of the opponent's . . . Dialectic, then, has as little to do with truth as the fencing master considers who is in the right when a quarrel leads to a duel."
Schopenhauer also said that we are all in the sophistry business together.

Me?

I like rants and sophistry. We all in this game together.
Its also fun trying to ferret out the bits of brilliance and the chunky-style good ideas that are devilishly intermixed in the rollick of text.

Happy New Year, gang.
Duck and cover...

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Re: David Ben - exposer

Postby David Alexander » December 31st, 2004, 5:21 pm

Now I'm "sore" and "flaming" Ford when I respond to, what must be by your definition, a "flame." This is getting silly.

The public's opinion of the ABA and the AMA is moot to the question we're supposedly discussing here - David Ben's behavior and alledged "exposure." At least I'm discussing it or trying my best to put it in proper perspective and context re: the real world and magic history.

You, it seems, like to infer and translate what I'm saying to things you can then tilt at. Straw Man Production. Perhaps you could write a monograph on that.

You may like to flatter yourself that you are a "professional," and I imagine you behave "professionally" in your work, but "computer programmer" does not necessarily fall into the category of professions I used as an example because you can be a programmer without being a member of an organization or, for that matter, you can be a programmer without an advanced degree as several of our Silicon Valley success stories have proven.

With the professions I discussed, you can't be outside the organization and still work in the profession. As I said, there are no such mechanisms in magic, so all of this sound and fury signifies nothing in the real world vis a vis David Ben.

Frankly, I did not condone what Ben did, nor did I condem it. I simply pointed out the futility of complaining about it and that so many are making so much out of so little.

But that seems to be the way in amateur magic...as Kissinger once said about academic fights, "The arguments are so viscious because the stakes are so small."

I'm going out to do a show, have some fun and make some money. So I'll leave this to you and Ford to do or say whatever you want.

Happy New Year.

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Re: David Ben - exposer

Postby magicam » December 31st, 2004, 5:31 pm

Jon R. wrote:

Perhaps its time to reread Arthur Schopenhauer's THE ART OF ALWAYS BEING RIGHT?



However, it may be germane? I just ran across his sardonic book, which is being republished and touted. Schopenhauer's testy book laid out 38count em, troops! rhetorical tricks guaranteed to let you win any argument even when you are defeated in logical discussion Perhaps in America the point of public argument is not to be right, but to win? Truth cannot be the first casualty in our daily war of words, Schopenhauer suggests, because it was never the bone of contention in the first place. Arthur said: "We must regard objective truth as an accidental circumstance, and look only to the defense of our own position and the refutation of the opponent's . . . Dialectic, then, has as little to do with truth as the fencing master considers who is in the right when a quarrel leads to a duel."
I agree that some people dont argue to learn the truth or to determine what is right. They just like to argue. I like to argue and there are plenty of fellow GFers who do. For those who like to argue in an effort to flesh out meaning and truth, its disappointing when somebody decides to misquote, misinterpret, use tautological reasoning etc. Those who choose not to use integrity of reasoning and argument either just like to have devilish fun or just dont have the sufficient grey matter to cope its hard to tell sometimes.

The statement that [d]ialectic, then, has as little to do with truth as the fencing master considers who is in the right when a quarrel leads to a duel" may be a result of the argument being made by Schopenhauer, but its incorrect by definition. A dialectic is a any formal system of reasoning that arrives at the truth by the exchange of logical arguments. Seems like Schopenhauer is using rhetoric to redefine the meaning of dialectic. Whats the point of using words if their meanings are not correctly used? Then again, maybe that trick is part of Schopenhauers paradigm or his point in his book?

Clay

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Michael Kamen
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Re: David Ben - exposer

Postby Michael Kamen » December 31st, 2004, 5:41 pm

Mr. Hook,

Mis-quoting and mis-characterizing the views of others as you have done is cheap, and suggests that is about all you got. Reading with some comprehension might actually change your mind on occasion. It might even be good for you.
Michael Kamen


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