Wednesday, September 27, 2006

I don't care...

Heard at a magic club meeting: "I don't care if I fool them, as long as I entertain them." Really? I submit that if you're not fooling them you're not doing magic. You may be juggling, or doing comedy, or doing drama, or some other performance art, but you're not doing magic. Nothing wrong with this unless you're billing yourself as a magician. If you want to be a magician you'd better care if you fool them, sparky. That's not all you need to do by any means, and in fact it's just a starting point. But if you want to be a magician it's an essential starting point. I can only imagine my mechanic saying, "I didn't fix the car, but I got it clean!"

The problem is easy to spot. In fact, it was defined in the first three words of the offending statement: "I don't care..."


The Magic Utopian said...

I agree. We need to break out of this mindset that the goal of our performance art is to 'entertain'.

Magic Utopia

Anonymous said...

Or perhaps redefine what it is to entertain.

One or the other, certainly.

Thanks for the comment.

Anonymous said...

The goal of our performance art IS to entertain. What other valid goal could there be? The question is whether we entertain them at the cost of being a magician.

Anonymous said...

That's not as much as a given as you wish to make it. It would also depend on the definition of "performance art" and "entertain."

Is a gospel magician a performance artist? I know more than one who claim that their goal (at least their primary goal) isn't entertainment.

Is a movie entertainment? OK, then, is a documentary entertainment? Is the primary goal of, say, Crumb, to entertain? OK then, what about Shoah?

What other valid goal could there be? Let's see...
1. Education
2. Social commentary
3. Gratification of the performer (Andy Kaufman, anyone?)
4. Money
5. Tribute to stars past

I could go on...

So in answer to what you thought was a rhetorical question, there are a multitude of answers. Because you don't think there are any other valid goals doesn't mean there are none.