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Topic: Derren Brown, Mentalists, and Lay People
Message: Posted by: Cybersloughter (Apr 21, 2009 02:16PM)
I found this fascinating discussion on BoingBoing today disguised under an announcement of a Derren Brown performance. The comments are what really held my attention, as I have never seen such fascinating discussion of mentalist methods and perceptions on mentalism from the perspectives of lay people. It is a really good read, and I'm sure some of you may even want to join in.


Message: Posted by: swiss_magician (Apr 21, 2009 03:22PM)
What is quite impressive is how the notion of NLP is anchored (sorry, couldn't resist) to the laymen's interpretation of DB's effets, although he does not mention it at the beggining of his shows and is not very gentle with it in his "Tricks of the mind" book. He just mentions the use of suggestions in general.

I miss the times when DB was mixing strongly suggestion/hypnosis and conjuring.

Here's a little list I made in another thread of this kind of effects (well, I think so):
- Train of thought? = forget metro station
- The alcool free drunk state?
- The vodoo doll with the new age blonde girl?
- The famous 'russian scam'?
- The routine with the 3 med-students (tooth ache and needle in the hand)?
- The darkest fears (woman in the dark, imagining a brick wall protecting her from her fears)?
- The 'spooky-train' guy (sorry, can't come up with a name in english right now)?

It seems to me that he is more and more performing classical mentalism effects with a very reduced suggestion aspect. But alway with style, of course! Well I guess it is hard to come up with grounbreaking new concepts every now and then.


Message: Posted by: IAIN (Apr 21, 2009 03:30PM)
The best quote from there was "People have got to stop sucking all the mystery out of life."
Message: Posted by: Greg Arce (Apr 21, 2009 03:43PM)
On 2009-04-21 16:30, IAIN wrote:
The best quote from there was "People have got to stop sucking all the mystery out of life."

I think it should just read: "People have got to stop sucking." :rotf:

Message: Posted by: daviaac (Apr 21, 2009 05:51PM)
Swiss_magician I agree the perception of nlp is quite interesting, like derren says let them draw their own conclusions. I think he would be quite happy with spectators drawing that conclusion rather the stooge one that was so popular on that thread.

unfortunately as someone mentioned on the Café before the stooge idea could be through the explanation many magicians give when they are fooled by one of derren browns effects (this hurts magic please stop doing it).

personally I enjoy being fooled and if someone asks me how something is done (and I have no idea) I will simply say... I have no idea (and if it was good) I tell them how great that trick/effect was!!! a lot of magicians tend to feel inferior if their friend asks them how something is done and they have no idea hence they give the stooge explanation.

one thing that also kept on cropping up in the thread was that spectators were concerned with the pseudo explanations that derren gives sometimes, I beleive this has something to do with the masked magician mentality that's kicked in. I have friends that tell me outright that they think the masked magician is great and they cant get enough of him despite what I say and how I explain this is detrimental to magic they continue to watch.

I've also found that some people kind of expect an answer to magic tricks as in their opinion they are entitled to it because the masked magician gives it to them after a trick and because I don't give it to them they will try their hardest to work out the secret. I do now try to eleviate this by explaining that I use trickery but if they had respect for me and my magic they would simply shut up and enjoy (perhaps not so bluntly).

I'm an actor playing the part of a magician and as james randi said you can tell people this, you are allowed to, and I agree. not evryone will agree with this as many magicians/mentalists prefer to say that what they are doing is real, and I'm not here to argue just simply giving my point of view.

Message: Posted by: Chris K (Apr 21, 2009 06:40PM)
I saw almost no difference between the comments on BoingBoing and most discussions on this forum. That confused me for a few hours until I hit on it, and realized it should have been obvious from the very start:

Most of the people commenting there are the same [type of] people who comment here. I would also guess they are, in many cases, magic collectors (my phrase for people who don't actually perform magic but pretend they do). For the same reason, and through the same channels that all of us found it, they did. I'd probably be willing to bet that a good % of commenters, prior to this thread even, are Café members.

As such, I found the comments less than illuminating and would never, EVER consider anything said there to even remotely be the "perspectives of lay people".
Message: Posted by: Cybersloughter (Apr 21, 2009 09:34PM)
Well, in the 4 hours since I posted that link, there have been a total of 2 new comments. I personally never added anything to that discussion, I simply found it, read it, and shared it. As to any of them being magicians, I know that at least one of them is a side-show performer of some fame. I remember seeing him a few years ago on a couple of television specials.

That said, I don't know who on there owns magic books, practices, or "collects" but I did find the discussion interesting. In particular I was fascinated by the underlying question of ethics that was in some of those posts. Without saying it directly, some of the posts seemed to be asking if it was okay for a magician to lie about the fact that they are lying to their audience. It would seem that Derren states that he does not use stooges, but some of the people in the thread felt that he must be using stooges and this upset them.

I also found the idea of stooges to be intriguing. I personally don't perform anything with a stooge, and for that matter, I haven't even thought about it. The only person I trust enough to ask that of would be my wife, but I know that she would receive a lot of "heat" and that anyone I performed for would assume that she was "in" on it.

The latest comment on there, #42, is perhaps one the saddest comments that I have seen in a while.

"I wasn't aware that most of what he does was trickery. I bought an ebook called "Mindreading Exposed" last year and although it was informative, it has spoilt the illusion of most of what he does."

Which leads to the last thing that I took off of those comments. With all the arguing over stooges, fiction writing, actors, and presentations, there seemed to me to be a little bit of an air of disappointment. Much like comment #42, it almost seemed like people wanted to believe, but "know" that in this day and age that magic isn't real and that the world is full of trickery and deceit.

A part of me wishes for a way to give people more hope...

Message: Posted by: Korhan (Apr 22, 2009 06:11AM)
He's right about NLP being a bunch of lies. Even R. Bandler says that in "Frogs into Princes" book, NLP is nothing more than bunch of lies.

As like many other lies, if you believe them; they will be true. :)
Message: Posted by: Bryan Drake Show (Apr 22, 2009 09:31AM)
It's always funny to see the lay public talk about magic. They always make the same conclusions no matter who they are talking about. I personally think Derren has one the best minds in magic. Everything he does is so streamlined , it's sickening. I think one I the best things thing though was the ending to Something Wicked this way comes. It was some absolutely entertainingly brilliant pseudo-explanation.