Sunday, January 31, 2010

Magic IV

Believe it or not, most magicians try not to lie. they resist not out of any particular morality or an effort to compensate for their deceptions. Audiences anticipate lies from magicians, and tend to challenge their statements. A lie often works against the deception, so the performer will often avoid making statements that invite challenges or plant dangerous suggestions. If a magician starts his routine by holding up a glass and saying "an ordinary, everyday, unprepared drinking glass," it sounds preposterously dishonest. Isn't every glass ordinary? Why would he say this glass is unprepared? How could it be prepared? Once the audience begins thinking along those line, they might wander dangerously close to the truth.

Because of this, when magicians give accounts of their own tricks, there is usually a code to what they will say as well as what they won't say. If a listener is aware of the code, there is a lot that is revealed by a magician's statements. A performer will invariably dance around dishonesty, rather than embrace it, indulging in a series of tiny untruths, not big lies.

Hiding The Elephant

How Magicians Invented the Impossible

Jim Stein Meyer

Arrow Books 2005

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