Magic and Magic

I love card tricks. I love mentalists. I love gimmicked objects and breakaway pants. If I had the time, patience, and tenacity required I would be a stage magician. Instead, I am a true appreciator of magic, something which seems to be in short supply these days.

If you watched the “Masters of Illusion” series, you may not remember my favorite performer, because all he did was make four coins appear and disappear. He was a really understated guy, pleasant enough, but what he did blew me away. To me, it was so much better than any of the flashy stuff everyone else was doing. It was from a few months ago, and I never got the performer’s name. It’s too bad, because I’d be telling everyone about him.

On the flip-side, I love watching Derren Brown. He’s extremely theatrical, but it’s done with impeccable style in my opinion, never cheesy. Plus, there’s a scientific aspect to his work that I enjoy.

Of course, I was raised by Penn & Teller, and they’ve always impressed me with their ability to tell you how they’re doing a trick and then fooling you again. Plus, humor and magic should never be far from one another or you’ll just end up looking like a douche.

I got to thinking about stage magic today because of my earlier thoughts about faith and superstition. Most of the stage magicians I admire have the good sense to be skeptical of “magic,” most notably perhaps with Houdini verses Margery but with plenty of examples before and after.

I’ve seen them as being two halves of the same coin. The stage magician explaining that there is a perfectly reasonable explanation for the illusions you’re about to see, the medium claiming that they are gifted with powers from beyond. Two different realities, but the effects are the same.

I think there’s some crossover between mediums and professional wrestlers in that they’re always in character. Now, I have to point out that mediums may actually possess an amount of true power *in their own personal realities*. However, they’re sharing the planet with a large group of people whose world view does not match. When that waveform collapses, a reasonable version of the truth will be back-engineered so that reality does not collapse. So, it all becomes tricks in the end.

So the question I have for you is, when do you enjoy a trick the most?

1) When you don’t know how it’s done and are left with a sense of wonder, or perhaps mental distress.

2) When you figure out how it’s done and are able to relate the secret to others.

3) When someone tells you how they’re going to do a trick, and then are still able to fool you.

4) When you learn it yourself and are able to fool other people.

For me, I always enjoy it when I fail at a trick and my wife laughs at me. I mean, I’ve learned to love it.

I pretty much have to.

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About paulgude

Paul Gude writes small books, makes stupid music, draws silly pictures, and does weird things on stage.
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2 Responses to Magic and Magic

  1. Dante says:

    Dude, you’ve hit on a soft spot of mine as well. I LOVE magic. So much so that I went out and spent a bunch of money on DVD’s gimics and playing cards galore. (There’s something to be said about a brand new high quality deck of bicycles)

    I completely agree with you about Penn & Teller, telling you how a trick is done yet still fooling you in the end. One thing that I’ve noticed about magic is that the magician is a sales guy. They do the same trick over and over and over again, usually with the same “script” and almost always with the same result. It’s hard sometimes to not get bored with a trick, but it’s the reaction you get when you do it successfully that let’s you do it over and over again.

    For example, my favorite trick in the world is the disappearing hanky trick. It’s show, fluffed then tucked away into a closed fist. Someone blows on your hand and it has magically disappeared into a place with beans, lot’s of beans, lot’s of beans. You show your hands empty, then you close your fist and gracefully extract the hanky. This is my favorite trick because no matter how many times I’ve done it, (sober or drunk) anyone that doesn’t know how it’s done wants to see it again and again. The magic is happening right in front of you.

    The best kind of magic is the kind that you see happen in front of you. The awe and mystery that you experience or see come across the faces of those watching it, because as you know… the trick happens quickly, usually undetected at the beginning, but the magic happens at the end.

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