Please retire the term, "cardman."

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Peter Ross
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Please retire the term, "cardman."

Postby Peter Ross » November 24th, 2018, 5:29 pm

In the More Genii Speaks video in this month’s (Dec. 2018) Genii, Richard Kaufman first introduces Laura London as a “magicienne,” before quickly and wisely stating that “that term seems to have fallen out of favor,” settling on the more common “magician.” A good call, as contemporarily, there is no place for the feminine form of "magician," just as “actor” is suitable for both male and female thespians today.

As I was reading the Theodore Deland article, there appeared another term that I believe should also be retired from the contemporary magic lexicon - “cardman”, or “cardmen.” In this case, there is no female equivalent, so it is extra odd to have it be used to encompass all card magicians (“This type of gimmick and handling is preferred by modern cardmen.” I also believe I remember Kaufman using “cardman” to describe Woody Allen in the Genii cover story on him, among other instances).

Reading the Laura London article, where it is stated she now performs only with cards, just made me think about the term even more. Is Ms. London a “cardman?” She is, of course, a card magician (a term Kaufman uses at other times). Shouldn’t that be the contemporary term? Or if there needs to be a more precise term that describes a master card magician, perhaps a “card worker.” But I think “cardman,” just like “magicienne,” should be retired to historical writings.

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Re: Please retire the term, "cardman."

Postby Richard Kaufman » November 24th, 2018, 5:57 pm

Interesting.
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Re: Please retire the term, "cardman."

Postby erdnasephile » November 24th, 2018, 7:21 pm

With much respect to Mr. Ross and the points he brings up: perhaps it might make sense to poll some female cardicians to see what term they would prefer to identify themselves as.

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Re: Please retire the term, "cardman."

Postby Bill Mullins » November 25th, 2018, 11:38 am

1. The use of "man" to refer to (generically, without respect to gender) a member of the human race goes back to early Old English, well over a thousand years ago and is completely standard English. The idea that when a speaker or writer does so, he (or she) is being deprecative of females is a modern invention, and is almost invariably unsupported by the usage in question. To criticize the usage assumes bad faith where it generally does not exist, and modifying one's usage so that "man" and forms of it are not so used often results in awkward language (a "chair" is a piece of furniture, not the administrative or executive leader of a group).

2. The use of "cardman" in the Deland article is in reference to card magicians of the late 19th century and the years before WW1; as such, it is entirely appropriate, since virtually all active card magicians were in fact men. (The existence of a very few women card magicians of the era does not disprove the general rule).

3. Whenever I see someone who is not of a group asserting that "usage/practice X" is offensive to that group (white people telling me what bothers blacks, straight people telling me what is offensive to gays, men telling me what is bad for women), I think to myself, "this person is looking to be offended." Go mansplain the English language somewhere else.

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Re: Please retire the term, "cardman."

Postby Peter Ross » November 25th, 2018, 12:39 pm

Bill, I’m sorry you’re so offended by any respectful and civil criticism of magic terminology that involves gender. My impression of your reaction is that “doth protest too much.”

With regard to your points - I am not assuming the current usage of “cardman” is in bad faith, just that when it is applied to contemporary magicians, it is outdated. Even Star Trek changed, “Where no man has gone before,” to “Where no one has gone before.” Language sometimes needs to be changed to reflect the times.

If you read my post carefully, you would see that I am in no way against using “cardman/cardmen” in historical writings. In the Deland article, Richard used it in that way, but he also uses it contemporarily, writing about Woody Allen, for example.

This is not an issue to get all up in arms about, Bill. I’m simply pointing out that the term is not appropriate as a modern descriptor when there are other commonly used examples that are more up to date.

Just because a female magician has not brought this up, doesn't mean that it is off-limits for male magicians to do so. In fact, I would argue, since magic has been historically a “boys club,” the responsibility to ensure non-sexist inclusion predominately falls upon male magicians. This is the exact opposite of “mansplaining,” which is a cheap shot, and not worthy of the discourse that this general subject deserves.

PS - Maybe this will help you, Bill: http://www.writinghelp-central.com/gender-neutral.html

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Re: Please retire the term, "cardman."

Postby Bob Farmer » November 25th, 2018, 1:15 pm

Cardiste.

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Re: Please retire the term, "cardman."

Postby Jack Shalom » November 25th, 2018, 1:21 pm

And "card magician" and the way less elegant "card person."

No problems about why the term was originally "card man." Just not all that descriptive anymore.

I have to admit though, I still have a hard time abandoning "actress."

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Re: Please retire the term, "cardman."

Postby Joe Mckay » November 25th, 2018, 1:35 pm

cardguy/cardgal

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Re: Please retire the term, "cardman."

Postby Jackpot » November 25th, 2018, 1:53 pm

Jack Shalom wrote:I have to admit though, I still have a hard time abandoning "actress."


You're in good company. The Academy Awards, Tony Awards and others have not only had a hard time abandoning "actress", but have not abandoned this precise noun which best describes the person being honored.
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Re: Please retire the term, "cardman."

Postby Luigi Anzivino » November 25th, 2018, 2:12 pm

Peter Ross wrote:PS - Maybe this will help you, Bill: http://www.writinghelp-central.com/gender-neutral.html


Thank you for bringing this up, I think it's a very good point, and the list helpful. Based on substitutions from the list, and some of my own devising, we could have:

    Card expert
    Card artist
    Cardhand
    Card mechanic
    Card operator
    Card professional
    Card sharp
    Card slinger

I'm sure more could be devised, and our art would be richer and fairer for a more diverse vocabulary.

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Re: Please retire the term, "cardman."

Postby Jack Shalom » November 25th, 2018, 2:27 pm

this precise noun which best describes the person being honored.


Why precision about gender though? Why not precision about hair color or deodorant used?

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Re: Please retire the term, "cardman."

Postby Jackpot » November 25th, 2018, 3:58 pm

Jack Shalom wrote:Why precision about gender though? Why not precision about hair color or deodorant used?


Since these organizations began presenting awards they have both recognized the performances of actors and actresses. It is reasonable to assume that the organizations and their members do not want to reduce the number of awards. Nor have they chosen to rename the categories to Best Actor (male) and Best Actor (female) or something similar. (Since they are interested in making money perhaps they might consider expanding the categories to include "hair color" or "deodorant used" if a lucrative advertising tie in can be made.)

Other organizations have not made distinctions between genders like actor and actress. For example the Academy of Magical Arts Awards has awards which honor a magician in various categories. While a number of ladies have won these awards, I can't find where the Academy of Magical Arts has ever presented an award with "magicienne" in the awards title.
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Re: Please retire the term, "cardman."

Postby Brad Jeffers » November 25th, 2018, 4:11 pm

Peter Ross wrote: Maybe this will help you, Bill: http://www.writinghelp-central.com/gender-neutral.html

I don't think Bill needs any help, but this list does give plenty of fodder to those trying to point out the ofttimes inherent ridiculousness in trying to replace commonly used words with gender-neutral substitutions.

Must a snowman really be called a snow person?

At the furniture store, is anyone really going to be offended if I ask to see the king-size beds?
"Oh! Please forgive me. I meant to say the huge or very large beds. My bad."

And it gets confusing. A longshoreman must be called a stevedore, but you can't say lumberjack.
What's up with that?

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Re: Please retire the term, "cardman."

Postby Joe Lyons » November 25th, 2018, 4:37 pm

Gotta go with Bill on this one. Diction is the spice of communication.
And what about needing more female magicians. We’d like to see more magicians that are.....magicians?

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Re: Please retire the term, "cardman."

Postby Peter Ross » November 25th, 2018, 4:39 pm

Brad J, the list only gives fodder if you allow it to distract from the central point.
A ten-year-old girl does not want to grow up to be a cardman, or a spaceman for that matter. She wants to be a card magician or an astronaut. Language matters.

No one aspires to grow up to be a snowman/snowperson.

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Re: Please retire the term, "cardman."

Postby AJM » November 25th, 2018, 4:53 pm

I do.

Next?
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Re: Please retire the term, "cardman."

Postby Joe Naud » November 25th, 2018, 4:54 pm

I always wondered why the word actress was somehow demeaning to women when all it did was provide a male female context, was that a bad thing?

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Re: Please retire the term, "cardman."

Postby Bill Mullins » November 25th, 2018, 5:40 pm

Language police lead to ridiculousness like referring to the wearers of brassieres as "big-breasted people" instead of "women".

Julie Eng refers to herself as a "magicienne" (see Genii 12/2016 p. 80) -- but go ahead and tell her that "there is no place for the feminine form of 'magician' ".

Of course I wouldn't refer to an individual woman magician (or "sleight of hand artist", as Ms. London refers to herself) as a "cardman". And if a woman whom I respected told me that my language made her uncomfortable, then I would certainly be careful in how I spoke to or about her.

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Re: Please retire the term, "cardman."

Postby Peter Ross » November 25th, 2018, 6:07 pm

Bill, you shouldn't need to wait to be told by a woman that a term makes her uncomfortable before considering whether it does. It's not being "language police" to make up-to-date critical assessments of the lexicon of magic.

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Re: Please retire the term, "cardman."

Postby Richard Kaufman » November 25th, 2018, 6:15 pm

I nominate "carddess," emphasis on the second syllable.
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Re: Please retire the term, "cardman."

Postby Joe Lyons » November 25th, 2018, 6:30 pm

Second the motion.

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Re: Please retire the term, "cardman."

Postby Jackpot » November 25th, 2018, 7:17 pm

Peter Ross wrote:Brad J, the list only gives fodder if you allow it to distract from the central point.
A ten-year-old girl does not want to grow up to be a cardman, or a spaceman for that matter. She wants to be a card magician or an astronaut. Language matters.

No one aspires to grow up to be a snowman/snowperson.


Language matters and this list presented to help someone understand your point fails. Because the list
Peter Ross wrote:PS - Maybe this will help you, Bill: http://www.writinghelp-central.com/gender-neutral.html
has so many inconsistencies, contradictions and "equivalents" that don't come close to the denotations or connotations of the words they are said to equal. While the words may be "recommended" and the compiler believes them to be "gender-neutral" a large number are not "equivalents".
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Re: Please retire the term, "cardman."

Postby Peter Ross » November 25th, 2018, 7:36 pm

So if you want to throw the baby out with the bathwater, that's up to you. The list was presented to give other examples of language in transition.

I'm having a hard time understanding the resistance to retiring (updating) this antiquated magic term from use in contemporary language, other than, perhaps, a perceived threat to masculinity, or just maudlin sentimentality.

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Re: Please retire the term, "cardman."

Postby Richard Kaufman » November 25th, 2018, 8:07 pm

Replacing long-used and familiar language with something new is difficult and takes time.
When you don't know what the new language is, that takes even more time.

Mr. Ross, don't insult the folks here. They're just trying to figure things out. Like you.
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Re: Please retire the term, "cardman."

Postby Peter Ross » November 25th, 2018, 8:10 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:They're just trying to figure things out. Like you.


With that in mind, maybe this can be of help:

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/crux/ ... _tFxpNKhPt

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Re: Please retire the term, "cardman."

Postby Jonathan Townsend » November 25th, 2018, 8:25 pm

Cardman, Cardist, Pasteboard Presenter... Let the artists brand themselves. Houdini went with "self liberator".

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Re: Please retire the term, "cardman."

Postby Joe Lyons » November 25th, 2018, 8:29 pm

Novelty doesn’t necessarily equal quality. Hip Hop music is the most popular genre today. I will continue to enjoy Country, Rock and Sinatra. (No offense to the Hip Hop fans, to each his or her own). Also cognitive choice doesn’t equal fear. Gender defined pronouns simply impart more information.
Oh well, see you in the gender neutral toilets.
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Re: Please retire the term, "cardman."

Postby Jackpot » November 25th, 2018, 9:19 pm

Peter Ross wrote:So if you want to throw the baby out with the bathwater, that's up to you. The list was presented to give other examples of language in transition.

I'm having a hard time understanding the resistance to retiring (updating) thi,s antiquated magic term from use in contemporary language other than, perhaps, a perceived threat to masculinity, or just maudlin sentimentality.


While I agree with your statements about how language influences the way people think about and perceive themselves, your initial post did not state this. It came across simple and direct: The word police are here and these terms are wrong and need to be changed because I feel they should. You even titled the thread "Please retire the term, 'cardman.'"

I am not advocating throwing the baby out with the bathwater, I am suggesting that we use a smaller tub with less flotsam in it. I would hope a language in transition would be moving forward. While some of the words are improvements, many examples in the list move us backwards.

I am not resisting change, but change should have merit. I do not see how cardman is antiquated if you are referring to a man who works with cards.

Based on my observations the advocates of gender neutral words and terms, and the list you cited, the male form (actor, seamstress, magician, ...) survives and the female form (actress, tailor, magicienne, ...) are used less or disappear entirely. That would seem to say that I should refer to a man or a woman as a "cardman". But the practice of the same proponents is that if the male form contains the word man (anchorman, chairman, ...), man is dropped and person is added (anchorperson, chairman,...), or man is dropped and nothing is added (anchor, chair, ...). Under these rules I can now either choose "cardperson" or "card". None of the three word police choices sound appropriate.

I hope you can understand where I am coming from. You can also be certain that I do not feel my masculinity threatened, nor am I sobbing and overly sentimental on this issue. As you said, "Language matters." I agree 100% because when it becomes unclear, confused, and complicated by inexact words communication deteriorates and eventually no longer exists.
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Re: Please retire the term, "cardman."

Postby Peter Ross » November 25th, 2018, 10:21 pm

Jackpot wrote: Under these rules I can now either choose "cardperson" or "card".


I'm not advocating any such rules that would lead to this ridiculous choice. There is already a perfectly acceptable alternative to "cardman" that Richard K. used in his Deland article - card magician. Using a gender-neutral term like that does not take the spice out of our language nor is it "unclear or confused." There is no need to search for the feminine of "cardman" (like "carddess" that Richard K. (hopefully) facetiously suggested).

Jackpot, I appreciate your apprehensiveness about making changes in language for change sake or that have no merit, as you say. But I believe retiring/updating this particular term does have merit in that it eliminates one more male-centric reference that only serves to consciously or sub-consciously alienate current female practitioners of magic, or worse, aspiring ones.

From the article I linked to: "...as a culture develops, she added, gender is often an irrelevant detail that limits the scope of discussion. Whether a doctor is a man or a woman is not so important as whether they are a good doctor."

Whether a magician is a man or a woman is not so important as whether they are a good magician.

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Re: Please retire the term, "cardman."

Postby Bill Mullins » November 25th, 2018, 10:51 pm

Peter Ross wrote: I’m sorry you’re so offended by any respectful and civil criticism of magic terminology that involves gender.

Even if I were to concede that your post was "respectful and civil", yes, I'm still offended to be told "you're doing it wrong". Especially given that I don't agree with your premises or conclusions. To me, you would have been a more effective advocate for your position if you had simply stated why, in your opinion, certain usage is superior to other usage, and not simply asserted that one style of usage is wrong ("there is no place for . . .").

Bill, you shouldn't need to wait to be told by a woman that a term makes her uncomfortable before considering whether it does.

But you aren't asking us to only consider it -- you want us to go ahead and eliminate "cardmen" from our vocabulary, without presenting any evidence that using it harms or offends women (or anyone else).

My big beef with the idea of "people should eliminate gendered language from use" is twofold, and as follows:
1. I am contrary, and don't like being told what to do. I'm 56 and the way I do things, and have been doing them for decades, works well for me. On occasion, having been provided a convincing argument, I will change on my own behalf, though. (that is, persuade me, don't direct me. a good rule for life.)

2. Language is a tool for communication. English, because of its huge vocabulary ("We don't just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary." James Nicoll) and other reasons, is able to express more ideas more precisely than most languages. The changes you propose, and that I see proposed by other "language police", generally tend to reduce the precision that can be attained, and thus make the language less efficient.

(and don't get me started on using the plural pronoun "they" as a substitute for a non-gendered singular pronoun.)

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Re: Please retire the term, "cardman."

Postby Bill Mullins » November 25th, 2018, 11:23 pm

Peter Ross wrote:From the article I linked to: "...as a culture develops, she added, gender is often an irrelevant detail that limits the scope of discussion. Whether a doctor is a man or a woman is not so important as whether they are a good doctor."


The academic being quoted is a sociolinguist advocating particular points of view, and her research is in support of that advocacy. From a review of her 2003 book Language and Gender:
Chapter 1, ‘Constructing, deconstructing and reconstructing gender’, utilizes a developmental narrative (birth, childhood and adolescence in the USA) to reveal gender as a ‘social construction — as the means by which society jointly accomplishes he differentiation that constitutes the gender order’ (2000: 14). In terms of this dominant gender order, gender and male domination are ubiquitous; physical, mental and emotional labour is divided between male and female; and male and female are construed as opposites. It is this ‘natural’ gender order that the book seeks to unpack and subvert, by arguing that, far from being natural and innate, gender is learned, taught and enforced;. . . It is this ‘natural’ gender order that the book seeks to unpack and subvert, by arguing that, far from being natural and innate, gender is learned, taught and enforced;


I do not wish to have my gender unpacked and subverted, and I tend to discount the opinions of those who wish to do so.

No, I don't consider the article "helpful".

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Re: Please retire the term, "cardman."

Postby Pete McCabe » November 26th, 2018, 11:07 am

The use of "man" to refer to (generically, without respect to gender) a member of the human race goes back to early Old English…

…when women were literally property.

We are trying to move away from that way of thinking. If you think that I am just a man, telling you what women find offensive, you should try listening to what women have to say on the subject.

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Re: Please retire the term, "cardman."

Postby Tom Frame » November 26th, 2018, 11:50 am

How about "cardician"? It was good enough for Marlo, and it's gender neutral.
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Re: Please retire the term, "cardman."

Postby Jonathan Townsend » November 26th, 2018, 12:17 pm

Bill Mullins wrote:I do not wish to have my gender unpacked and subverted

If you add the phrase "in public" and maybe stick "deconstructed" in the list it might make a good joke.
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Re: Please retire the term, "cardman."

Postby erdnasephile » November 26th, 2018, 12:20 pm

Tom Frame wrote:How about "cardician"? It was good enough for Marlo, and it's gender neutral.


Isn't "Marlo" a female name? ;)

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Re: Please retire the term, "cardman."

Postby Bill Mullins » November 26th, 2018, 12:44 pm

Pete McCabe wrote:We are trying to move away from that way of thinking. If you think that I am just a man, telling you what women find offensive, you should try listening to what women have to say on the subject.

I would welcome any comments from women, and would much prefer to read/hear them, than to be told by men what is best for women (see my first post in this thread).

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Re: Please retire the term, "cardman."

Postby Brad Henderson » November 26th, 2018, 12:59 pm

i think part of the issue revolves around if the use describes or excludes/erases.

calling me a card man is accurate because i am a man who does card tricks.

Referring to cardmen as a group excludes (linguistically) any person who isn’t a man. (though it is still accurate depending on the era and realities of the demographics of that era). If my goal is clarity then calling a female card worker a card woman would be accurate and informative. calling her a card man serves little purpose. Referring to cardmen if we are referring to all those who might do card things is not accurate nor does it serve any real purpose. Cardworker is hardly a challenge to say or type.

Having said that - i have a hard time letting go of the actor/actress if only because as someone who occasionally casts for roles in shows i tend to use the term to designate the gender required for the role.

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Re: Please retire the term, "cardman."

Postby Jonathan Townsend » November 26th, 2018, 1:29 pm

erdnasephile wrote:
Tom Frame wrote:How about "cardician"? It was good enough for Marlo, and it's gender neutral.


Isn't "Marlo" a female name? ;)
Ha! Folks are going to have nightmares about the Cardician Edie Marla.
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Re: Please retire the term, "cardman."

Postby Brad Jeffers » November 26th, 2018, 4:23 pm

Peter Ross wrote:A ten-year-old girl does not want to grow up to be a cardman, or a spaceman for that matter.
I would like to get this person's opinion.

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Re: Please retire the term, "cardman."

Postby Brad Henderson » November 26th, 2018, 6:10 pm

unless she specifically said she wanted to grow up to be a ‘space MAN’ i think you may have missed the point.


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