Thursday, September 29, 2005

Magic sucks

A secondhand story, but from two sources, both of whom I consider reliable:

The setting: The local magic club meeting
The cast: The club regulars, along with a couple of visitors
The plot: Secrets may be revealed to people who are (gasp!) not club members, sending some into a tizzy
The theme: magicians are idiots

So there were visitors at the local magic club this particular night. Not an issue, right? You'd think not, but we're not dealing with reasonable people here - we're dealing with magicians. Any intersection between magicians and common sense is purely coincidental, and if you're concerned, don't be. The union won't last long.

During one of the segments anyone who signed up was to perform, then teach, a trick. None of the tricks were earth-shattering. None were proprietary. In fact, all of the effects taught that night are available for free in books at my local library.

And the visitors...Were they just people who wandered in off the street? Were they hooligans who somehow crashed this exclusive magicians soiree? Nope, they were recent graduates of a magic camp who had been told about this 'wonderful' club by the proprietors of the camp.

I'm betting you're getting ahead of me at this point. Anyway, the time comes to teach these ever-so-valuable secrets and a hue and cry goes up: we must not allow the visitors to stay while we exhibit our superior knowledge! A debate ensues. After much haranguing and hair-pulling it is decided that perhaps, just this once, these neophytes can be allowed a peek behind the curtain.


They had already demonstrated an interest in magic by graduating from the magic camp, and by seeking out the club. And the difference between those deemed worthy to learn these deep, dark secrets and those doomed to ignorance? Fifteen dollars. That's right. No test, no initiation, no apprenticeship. Hand me your check and we ain't got no problem.

There are those in magic who have a slavish devotion to keeping the secrets of magic, well, secret. Unfortunately they often do this blindly, never looking to see if what they are doing is causing a greater harm.

If I were among those visitors that night I would have grabbed my wallet, headed toward the door, and bid those creepy magicians a fond farewell, letting them keep their 'secrets' as I went off and learned magic.


1 comment:

Kagehiko said...

I don't think you need comfort, nor can I adequately provide it.

So I'll say this instead:
I'm not a magician and I probably never will be. I don't know the traditions, I don't know the "code", and I certainly don't know how someone can tell me my card. Perhaps that is sufficient reason to keep me (I'll speak for the general populace here) out of the loop.

But in my defense, I do know magic. I know the feeling of induced uncertainty entertainers provide, tricking our senses and plunging us into a "void of the unkonwn", if you will.

I know magic in a personal sense, too; I know how performers (more directly, you) create the sensation not only with "smoking mirrors" but with years of experience and tedious practice, effectively giving a piece of themselves to the audience for such an illusion and often (not always) expecting nothing in return. And I admire them for that.

Is that admiration a pledge of secrecy, is it enough to guarantee me a spot among event the most amateur artists? Obviously not.

Was it wise of these people to charge for the demonstration? It's a matter of opinion. Maybe the fee was shaming magicians everywhere, maybe it was demanding more respect for performers around the world.

Am I asking too many questions? Oh yeah.

I don't think this will help you, I think it needed to be said.