Frank Garicia's magic words, "Blotto Orientales" meaning

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M. Yandorf
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Frank Garicia's magic words, "Blotto Orientales" meaning

Postby M. Yandorf » June 14th, 2009, 4:07 pm

In case anyone is curious I have just now learned what Frank Garcia's magic words mean. In the book, "The Very Best of Cups and Balls" by Garcia & Kaufman page 42 it mentions the magic words, "Blotto Orientales." Garcia also uses these words on his cups and balls video. The book states that these were Dr. Daily's favorite magic words. But what do they mean?

I believe the words are a corruption of the term, "blatta orientalis" the scientific name of a species of cockroach.

"Blatta" denotes the geinus, "Orientalis" denotes the species.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blatta
Litterally "oriental cockroach."

Cool!

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Re: Frank Garicia's magic words, "Blotto Orientales" meaning

Postby Richard Kaufman » June 14th, 2009, 8:42 pm

Frank Garcia would have had no idea what the words meant. He might well have misremembered what Daley said.
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Re: Frank Garicia's magic words, "Blotto Orientales" meaning

Postby Jonathan Townsend » June 14th, 2009, 8:45 pm

Who was it using the "tiki tiki" line?
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

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Re: Frank Garicia's magic words, "Blotto Orientales" meaning

Postby Brad Henderson » June 14th, 2009, 9:06 pm

Could it mean "drunk chinaman"?

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Re: Frank Garicia's magic words, "Blotto Orientales" meaning

Postby Richard Kaufman » June 14th, 2009, 9:40 pm

hahaha.
I was talking to Adam Fleischer once, and he said something about the cloth for a Zombie, calling it a Foo-lard, to which I responded, "Why do you need a Chinese pig to perform Zombie?"
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Re: Frank Garicia's magic words, "Blotto Orientales" meaning

Postby Bill McFadden » June 15th, 2009, 10:10 am

Brad Henderson wrote:Could it mean "drunk chinaman"?


. . . assumedly . . .

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Re: Frank Garicia's magic words, "Blotto Orientales" meaning

Postby Kent Gunn » June 15th, 2009, 2:03 pm

Wow,

I haven't heard or read the word Chinaman in years. I thought it was a racial epithet.

I'm always impressed by the classiness I see displayed by other magicians. If the term kike, wop or [censored] had been used, would that have flown by us all so easily?

For our Chinese magicians, I have a question.

Did anyone take offense at that usage? I have almost no ability to perceive what is politically incorrect. I am genuinely interested.

I'm a cracker-honky who is married to a JAP, by the way. I'd like to think this posting should offend someone.

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Re: Frank Garicia's magic words, "Blotto Orientales" meaning

Postby Kent Gunn » June 15th, 2009, 2:05 pm

Ah . . .

The racial epithet I chose for African-Americans was immediately censored by the software. Hmmmmm . . . Why does that epithet rate higher than Chinaman, I wonder.

KG

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Re: Frank Garicia's magic words, "Blotto Orientales" meaning

Postby Richard Kaufman » June 15th, 2009, 2:23 pm

I don't believe that "Chinaman" equals "chink" in the same way that "Jew" doesn't equal "kike" in the same way that if you called someone from Japan a "Japanman" it wouldn't equal "jap."
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Re: Frank Garicia's magic words, "Blotto Orientales" meaning

Postby M. Yandorf » June 15th, 2009, 3:39 pm

Wow, this subject really got off tangent. Anyway here's a web page about the, "Blatta orientalis"
http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/urb ... kroach.htm

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Re: Frank Garicia's magic words, "Blotto Orientales" meaning

Postby Richard Kaufman » June 15th, 2009, 5:21 pm

"Blotto Orientalis" sounds to me like something W.C. Fields might have said.
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Re: Frank Garicia's magic words, "Blotto Orientales" meaning

Postby Kent Gunn » June 15th, 2009, 6:37 pm

By JAP, I meant Jewish American Princess, btw. I checked with my wife, she assures me it not particularly offensive.

I don't know much about racial epithets. But, I did go to grammar school and Junior High with primarily Catonese-speaking Americans. I am actually quite certain they considered the term used as quite offensive.

Ignorance is bliss. Mr. Henderson obviously is not offended by the use of the word. I foolishly thought I could inject a modicum of sensibility and panache herein. I have either picked the wrong crowd or my level of political correctness is too high to hang out here. That's funny though, since I'm a retired sailor, swear like a . . . sailor and tend to rarely even sense things that may offend.

I really meant to offend no one with my retorts.

Sorry to have got off on a tangent. I guess it is ok to randomly insult entire races of people on the forum, silly me. I simply didn't know which ones were open for abuse. Since the software won't let me use the common and really offensive term for African-Americans, I'll guess that one is not allowed here.

Having had a discussion or two with Mr. Henderson in the past, I realize he cannot apologize because he is never wrong.

I'm over it.

KG

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Re: Frank Garicia's magic words, "Blotto Orientales" meaning

Postby Richard Kaufman » June 15th, 2009, 7:30 pm

I titled a trick of Vernon's in my book CoinMagic (in 1981) "Chinaman's Chance" and never heard anyone make any comments about it.
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Re: Frank Garicia's magic words, "Blotto Orientales" meaning

Postby Gordolini » June 15th, 2009, 8:37 pm

From Wikipedia:

"Chinaman is a term that refers to a Chinese man. Not defined as offensive by older dictionaries, its use is nowadays discouraged by Asian American organizations and others, and considered offensive by modern dictionaries. The term has been used without stated offensive intent, and has also been used as a self-referential archetype by authors and artists of Asian descent."

For those interested, the Wikipedia article includes some historical references and then lists several public controversies from more recent usage (Seinfeld, etc.)

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Re: Frank Garicia's magic words, "Blotto Orientales" meaning

Postby Kent Gunn » June 15th, 2009, 11:16 pm

Just because you don't realize a term is offensive does not mean you're not offending people. Just because no one calls you on it doesn't mean you're not insensitive. Trust me on this, I wrote the book on being an insensitive jerk.

A dear friend of mine, who frequents this board, was talking about a well-known Jewish magician. He referred to him as "one of those pushy New York Jews."

The hair on the back of my neck stood up. My wife who, is not from New York, but is definitely Jewish, was offended. I have also heard the term used by Jewish people, somehow it was not offensive. I simply don't know the rules. I suspect that some racial terms are fine when used within the group, as Gordolini alludes to above.

I can remember in my late teens hearing my Grandfather use the term colored to refer to a performer on television. I talked to him about it. He had no idea that people of color found that term offensive. He lived in Utah and had no interaction with black people. He simply didn't know. I never heard him use it again.

I will take to referring to all of you on here as:

死鬼佬

Unless of course you're actually Chinese. Then it would be silly.

KG
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Re: Frank Garicia's magic words, "Blotto Orientales" meaning

Postby Bill Duncan » June 16th, 2009, 12:19 am

Richard Kaufman wrote:I titled a trick of Vernon's in my book CoinMagic (in 1981) "Chinaman's Chance" and never heard anyone make any comments about it.


I was surprised by the title, and I have heard comment about it. I assumed it was Vernon's title, based on his patter for the Chinese Matches in the Ganson book.

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Re: Frank Garicia's magic words, "Blotto Orientales" meaning

Postby David Alexander » June 16th, 2009, 1:14 am

"Chinaman's chance" is a shortening of "Chinaman's chance in Hell." It is thought to come out of either the California gold rush and/or the building of the Transcontinental railroad. In both instances the Chinese were treated badly, paid poorly, taxed unfairly, and given little opportunity. The phrase meant that whoever it was being applied to had little to no chance of accomplishing their goal.

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Re: Frank Garicia's magic words, "Blotto Orientales" meaning

Postby Bill Duncan » June 16th, 2009, 2:00 am

Thank you David. I do know my history, and my language.

Generally using a phrase that reflects a painful history is considered (by the PC among us anyway) to be insensitive.

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Re: Frank Garicia's magic words, "Blotto Orientales" meaning

Postby Brad Henderson » June 16th, 2009, 3:00 am

Kent,

I have been wrong before. And I have apologized. I just have never been wrong in any of the disagreements we have had. Perhaps someday you will be lucky enough to be right.

But to the brouhaha in this thread:


I chose my words intentionally.

These types of "affus gaffus" magic words are (at least in my view) of an older era - an era of Jap boxes and Chink Cans and jokes about "woking one's dog" while wearing buck teeth and squinty eye glasses.

Are these terms offensive? Actual usage may lead us to contrary opinions - but I think to some degree they should be.

But they are part of who we are and where we came from. When I read this "magic word", I tried to think, "If I heard this from him (as written) in a magic show, what would I think the 'joke' would have been?" And to me, it would have been a drunken chinaman.

Now, is that what he MEANT for the joke to be? I seriously doubt this was a latin-ized version of "Foo Ling Yoo," but that's exactly what I heard in my mind when I envisioned it in action.

Does that make me a racist?

I suppose that's not for me to say. I was raised on Bugs Bunny cartoons, yet still know that to squint, bow, and switch my 'r's and 'l's would be bad form.

But, most importantly, the joke only worked for me with the phrase chinaman. Just wasn't funny without it.

And in my mind - funny wins.

EVERY TIME

I'll say that again.

Funny wins.

EVERY TIME.

I thought it was funny. That's all that matters to me.

Racist? - I don't care what you think.

I made the joke. I take on whatever nonsense you want to throw at me.

I thought it was funny - and I'd say it again.

Brad Henderson

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Re: Frank Garicia's magic words, "Blotto Orientales" meaning

Postby Jonathan Townsend » June 16th, 2009, 7:58 am

I have nothing against such ethnic references when used in knowing parody where the audience is in on the joke. But to confuse that with cultural drag shows designed to reinforce the politics of the time... :( Why go there at all when it's just as easy to ask folks about their humor and bring it into your act as appropriate?

Who we are and where we came from? Do we really need to recall or celebrate those who could look at a neighbor and think "[censored]" or "spic" or call such people "boy" or "wetback"? Enough already! Not all of us are Lenny Bruce.

Or - perhaps some are holding on not just to the facts of our arrogant past but somehow gloating over it - AND want tacit approval for it? IMHO all such can stay on the shelves in our history books and hopefully some have learned from the past.

Grouchy in NY,

Jon

PS - Frank Garcia did not come across as making any sort of slight when he used mock mystical intonations. He was a genial entertainer.

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Re: Frank Garicia's magic words, "Blotto Orientales" meaning

Postby M. Yandorf » June 16th, 2009, 11:38 am

Kent Gunn wrote:"those pushy New York Jews."


It's different because a Jews are not a race, there are white Jews, black Jews, ect... even Chinese Jews. Just ask Michelle Obama her cousin is a Rabbi, Capers Funnye at the Beth Shalom Bnai Zaken Congregation of Chicago, Illinois.

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Re: Frank Garicia's magic words, "Blotto Orientales" meaning

Postby Kent Gunn » June 16th, 2009, 7:47 pm

Mr. Yandorf,

I don't get many opportunities to speak to the president's wife. I probably wouldn't address her cousin's congregation though.

Dismissive or downright insulting terms for groups of people are all cut from the same cloth. It's the cloth woven from racism and hate. If you're insulting people based on their religion, ethnicity or the color of their eyes you should knock it off. Just because it's funny, to you, it doesn't mean you're not a jerk for using the terms.

It's simply wrong. I've been as guilty of it in my life as many others. I simply try these days to be less of an [censored].

So recently in this country black people were getting hosed and beaten on our streets. We put thousands of Japanese-Americans into internment camps just sixty-five years ago. The slings and arrows of insensitive comments harken back to some truly awful parts of American history.

I'm going to crawl off this soapbox. I apologize for taking this fine thread to places it did not belong. To sum up I'll simply say;

Blotto Orientales! and vanish in a cloud of sulphurous smoke.

KG

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Re: Frank Garicia's magic words, "Blotto Orientales" meaning

Postby Max Maven » June 17th, 2009, 4:35 pm

The long-standing "rule" regarding the terminology deemed acceptable in reference to members of a minority population is simple: The members of that group get to decide. And, those decisions can shift over time. For example, "colored" was at one time an acceptable term for blacks, and was used both inside and outside that cultural group; now, it is generally considered demeaning -- but, "person of color" is a currently acceptable term. Such changes may not make sense, but that's not the point. What is the point is that outsiders don't get to choose.

The classic illustrative riddle is this: What is a "kike"?

The answer: The Jewish gentleman who just left the room.

This joke has been told with a variety of minority cultures and their respective slurs. What's worth considering is that, in this age of instant communication, pretty much no one ever truly "leaves the room"...

Moreover, those inside a given minority group get to appropriate such terms for their own use. If you're not a member of a given minority, this may seem unfair. Deal with it.

Regarding the term "Chinaman," it's less offensive than "chink," but in exactly the same way that "Jewboy" is less offensive than "kike."

Did such a cultural awareness exist when Dai Vernon's trick was named? Surely not. Was it questionable when Richard Kaufman used it in the 1980s? Yes, but not as clearly as it is in 2009.

Language -- and culture -- is ever evolving. I do not subscribe to "Politically Correct" behavior, but I do believe in, at the very least, good manners. Some decades back (I think it was in the 1970s), Bill Larsen decided that the title "Jap Box" would no longer be used in Genii, despite that title having been long established. (In fact, when that device first appeared in English-language magic literature in the late 19th century, it was dubbed "Japanese" -- the unpleasant version was actually a later development.)

Enough.

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Re: Frank Garicia's magic words, "Blotto Orientales" meaning

Postby Richard Kaufman » June 17th, 2009, 4:41 pm

And with that lucid piece from Max, the topic is now closed.
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