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Lance Pierce
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I really like your last post, Brad. Thanks for clarifying some things. Sounds good to me...

Cheers,



Lance
ClouDsss
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I appreciate you taking the time to explain your stand and thank you for understanding that I have nothing against M/M or you.

I agree with some of the points which you have given and I agree that altho I would be unhappy about the restaurant, I would NOT go round raving negative remarks or whatsoever about the food. I would just give the information as my own opinion of the food not being as nice as advertised or rumored but the restaurant has great services, etc.

Anyway, thanks for respecting the fact that its my opinon and that I am inclined to have it, as I respect the fact that you too have your own opinion.

Honestly, I am glad we managed to get a clear understanding and clearifications of our opinions, rather than getting heated up and like wat you mention, beginning to take cheap shots at people, which was NEVER my nor your intention.

Lance, you are right, I am trying to find a common understanding and not out to create trouble nor accuse anyone. Thanks for pointing that out for me. Really appreciate it.

Cheers! and PEACE OUT!! Smile
Think outside the box, cos people are all thinking inside now!! - ClouDsss
truthteller
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Me too. Admittedly, it was a complicated subject given all surrounding it. The book and the dialogue/caraziness which ensued raised lots of issues. I am glad that at least you and I were able to work our way through the quagmire and finally break down our concerns into their essential elements. I am more happy, that having done so, we are able to both understand and respect the others position.

Brad
Bennettjc
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Hi:

Just when you thought this thread was over..I'd like to point out that it still is. Please forgive this manipulative ploy which was done to get you to take a look at a hopefully interesting related post of mine in an obscure corner of the Café.
http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......35&0

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Turk
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In reading these many posts, am I correct in the following two statements:

1.M/M did NOT advise anyone of the buy-back "guarantee" in any emails (at least not prior to the pre-order becoming sold out)? (Cloudsss' position?)

2. Minch did advise Brad Henderson and possibly others personally about the buy-back "guarantee" at a certain magic convention and/or if they happened to personally contact Stephen prior to placing an order? (Brad Henderson's position?)

If both of these statemenst are correct, it seems that Brad and Cloudsss are arguing (commenting about?) apples and oranges. Can we maybe agree that both statements are factually correct? To assert one postion against the other is not going to resolve either.

Regardless of what the above facts are, my now knowing the contents of the "book" has caused my opinion of M/M to have come down several notches. I used to be willing to buy almost anything from either sight unseen. No more. In the future, "I'll wait for the reviews". M/M's publication of this "book" just because they could based upon their reputation and credibility in the magic community has, IMHO, severely damaged said reputation and credibility. (Maybe not amongst their friends, apologists and toadies, but in the magic community at large.) "Once bitten, twice shy."

Perhaps I speak in haste. Perhaps a comparison of the alleged valuable "information" contained in this "book" as compared to the valuable information contained in Brad Henderson's "The Dance" and Lance Pierce's "World-Famous Bowl Routine" book would be illuminating. In the two latter examples, the value is immediate, obvious and substantial. What is it about the M/M "book" that causes such distress amongst so many. Other than some vauge statements about its collectibility value, what I have not heard in all these many pages of discussion on this forum (and on other forums) is a flat assertion that this "book" imparts intrinsically valuable magic information that, in its own right, is valuable and worth the price paid for this book.

Just, IMHO.

Mike

P.S. Hypothetically speaking, and for the sake of argument only, I am indeed curious as to how a person would defend against the following two assertions if they were ever to be made:

1. It says a lot about this "book" that the buyers are asked not to reveal the alleged "one secret" of the book after having been had. (Err, excuse me,...after having purchased this valuable tome). Hopefully, the book will retain some collectibility value that will allow the "last pereson owning these 500 copies" to eventually get out with their skin.

2. If this book has any value at all, that value has been artificially created by the marketing scheme surrounding it and the now hoped for collectibility of the book. It has little intrinsic value (information valuable in its own right) nor does it impart meaningful relevant magic information that would survive in a mass publication or a re-publication. Dover Publications would never touch this book for re-publication purposes.

Just curious.
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Payne
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What is worth? What constitutes value? Just because a book doesn't have a trick in it does it make it worthless?
Clearly people who are upset with this book didn't read the ad copy. It clearly stated that there were no tricks in this book. A secret yes but nary an effect.
A valuable lesson could be learned from this in itself. The difference between secrets and magic. A lesson obviously missed by many.
I find worth and value in my copy of this book. It is, as I've said before, a finely produced volume which I prize from a bibliographic standpoint. It is also now a small piece of magic history which I, and 500 other lucky people have the ability to own.
As for intrinsic value. Card College has no intrinsic value to me. I don't perform card tricks, nor really ever wish to learn any so this five volume set has no value to me. Protocols on the other hand can spark discussion with other magi and lead to a deeper understanding of this craft.
Value is where you find it if you know where to look.
There is far more to magic than just tricks.
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Lance Pierce
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Quote:
P.S. Hypothetically speaking, and for the sake of argument only, I am indeed curious as to how a person would defend against the following two assertions if they were ever to be made:

1. It says a lot about this "book" that the buyers are asked not to reveal the alleged "one secret" of the book after having been had. (Err, excuse me,...after having purchased this valuable tome). Hopefully, the book will retain some collectibility value that will allow the "last pereson owning these 500 copies" to eventually get out with their skin.

2. If this book has any value at all, that value has been artificially created by the marketing scheme surrounding it and the now hoped for collectibility of the book. It has little intrinsic value (information valuable in its own right) nor does it impart meaningful relevant magic information that would survive in a mass publication or a re-publication. Dover Publications would never touch this book for re-publication purposes.

Just curious.


Well, for what little it's worth, my responses are as follows:

1) Purchasers were not asked to never reveal the contents of the book. It was suggested they hold off revealing the contents at least long enough that others who still awaited their copy could read it unspoiled. This had far less to do with keeping any secrets than it had to do with trying to respectfully preserve a reading experience.

2) I disagree that the book earned its value only from the marketing of it. The limited release inherently gave it some cachet among collectors, but as for the content, its value is (as all value is) in the eye of the beholder. It's not really effective to point out that the book has no "information," since its purpose wasn't to impart information. I appreciate the mention of my book, but the two works are in completely different directions. I've read many books where the writer's intent was never to impart information, but perhaps to make a single statement, and I've even read a few where the sole intent was to leave the reader with nothing but a feeling. I believe Mr. Maven's book tried to make a point, but like all works that do this kind of thing, some people appreciate the point and some don't.

The fact that this book would never survive on the mass market (and would never be picked up by Dover) is to me irrelevant. Mine wouldn't, either. Neither Max's nor my book can be targeted to a mass-market or Dover audience. Then again, neither can Dr. Ungar's book, Bringing Magic to Life, the latest Harry Riser book or the new Benson Book. Nor could most of Kaufman's books, Racherbaumer's, Marlo's or 90% of everything else on my shelf. In fact, about the only books I have on my shelf that could be marketed by Dover are the Dover books.

Perhaps you're looking for something valuable to you that's not there? Does that mean the book has "no value?" I think those are two different things, but that's just me.

Cheers,



Lance
Turk
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I respectfully ask all defenders of this "book" the following three questions:

1. If this "book" had not been released in a limited 500 "book" run and if the "book" had no collectibility value, and if you knew then what you know now about the "book"'s layout and its actual contents, would you still be willing to pay $50.00 for the information in this "book"?

2. Again, assuming no "collectibility" value, do you believe that the information contained in this "book" is so intrinsically valuable that M/M could issue at least a 2nd edition of equal number of copies (500) and find a ready "non-collectibility" market for the same? Do you believe that the information in this "book" is of such value that the masses are clamoring for the opportunity to obtain a copy of the same just to have the information?

3. Again, assuming no collectibility value, would a sequel to this book be a financial success for M/M?

What I'm trying to ascertain by these three questions is whether or not you honestly consider the information in the "book" intrinsically and sufficiently valuable so that a subsequent 500 copy run of this "book" and/or a sequel to this book (and containing similar information) would sell out or whether the value in this 1st edition run is primarily in its "collectibilty" and/or in its novelty?

Just curious where people are coming from on this.

Thanks for the info.

Mike

Mike
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omk
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I have to admit that as a magic book collector I purchased Protocols without a clue as to what it entailed but knowing the collectability value of less than 500 others having a copy. The $50 price tag was seemed like a good buy.

Now in retrospect I wish I had bought 3 or 4 copies.... Would have paid for my
copy and made me quite a few bucks besides.

But honestly - I believe the best value of that $50 I spent was the entertainment value of reading this topic (now at 11 pages and still climbing). I don't know if it's jealousy from those that did not purchase Protocols or it's knife twisting from those who did - whatever - it's certainly a great read - and I'm enjoying every word of it! Smile

My thanks to all that have posted and to those that will continue to post more....

Dave Smile
Payne
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Quote:
On 2006-03-20 20:35, Turk wrote:
I respectfully ask all defenders of this "book" the following three questions:

1. If this "book" had not been released in a limited 500 "book" run and if the "book" had no collectibility value, and if you knew then what you know now about the "book"'s layout and its actual contents, would you still be willing to pay $50.00 for the information in this "book"?



Big revelation here. 500 is not a small "limited" print run for a magic book. Many books aimed at the magic market have runs between 500 and a thousand copies. The market isn't all that robust. So a run of 500 hundred isn't all that unusual or "limited"
But the answer is, Yes, I would have still bought a copy of this book if it wasn't a typical small print run and would have paid $50.00 for it

Quote:
2. Again, assuming no "collectibility" value, do you believe that the information contained in this "book" is so intrinsically valuable that M/M could issue at least a 2nd edition of equal number of copies (500) and find a ready "non-collectibility" market for the same? Do you believe that the information in this "book" is of such value that the masses are clamoring for the opportunity to obtain a copy of the same just to have the information?


Why must all magic books contain "information"? Is the magic publishing industry so small minded that they can't produce books of commentary, satire, humor? Must every book published be a tome on trickery?
No, there isn't enough interest to publish a second run of this book. But then I don't see a another printing of Greater Magic happening in the near future either even tough many people are clamoring for such a thing. The printing of books is an expensive proposition so one must know their market.

Quote:


3. Again, assuming no collectibility value, would a sequel to this book be a financial success for M/M?



I could see a companion volume to this book. Perhaps by another author. Maybe Ricky Jay has something to say about the state of affairs in the magic world.

[/quote]

What I'm trying to ascertain by these three questions is whether or not you honestly consider the information in the "book" intrinsically and sufficiently valuable so that a subsequent 500 copy run of this "book" and/or a sequel to this book (and containing similar information) would sell out or whether the value in this 1st edition run is primarily in its "collectibilty" and/or in its novelty?

Just curious where people are coming from on this.

Thanks for the info.

Mike

[/quote]

Again I find this book to have value to me. You're obsessing on the "informational" aspect, which you appear to find lacking. I have other books in my collection that most would find worthless. "The Oldest Deception" a limited edition folio which is contains reproductions of art featuring the cups and balls in early renaissance art. To most in the magic community completely worthless as it's just a bunch of pictures. To me a valuable resource because it's a book containing a bunch of pictures. I have several reproductions of period books on conjuring. Many of these were issued in tiny print runs of a few hundred. To your average magician totally worthless as there is no usable "information" contained between the covers. None of these books will be reissued as the market for them is incredibly limited. Does that mean that they are bad or worthless books?
Protocols is what it is. It is now a piece of magic history, however obscure. It needn't apologise nor need to be more than for what it is.
"America's Foremost Satirical Magician" -- Jeff McBride.
Gary
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An they keep selling on ebay at more than double the original price - two more in the past two days!
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Turk
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A few points that I held off putting in my last post:

Lance comments: "I disagree that the book earned its value only from the marketing of it....It's not really effective to point out that the book has no "information," since its purpose wasn't to impart information."(Emphasis supplied by Turk)

Thank you, Lance, for making my "collectibility" point.



Payne comments: "As for intrinsic value. Card College has no intrinsic value to me. I don't perform card tricks, nor really ever wish to learn any so this five volume set has no value to me."

Unfortunately, this is a false analogy and is irrelevant in any discussion about "intrinsic" value. Intrinsic value is NOT determined by the value of an object to a particular person. Rather, the intrinsic value of a book is inherently in the information contained in the book itself, that is, the information itself is valuable and, as such, is available to those who might then be inquiring into that subject matter itself.

A 40 volume book set on Chinese history and culture that is written in Chinese has inherent intrinsic value regardless of whether or not I can speak or write the Chinese language, or whether or not I have any personal interest in Chinese history or culture or whether or not I am even aware of the books' existence."

Now, that said, if Payne wishes to go out and purchase a book because he likes the color of the cover and is not interested in purchasing the book for the information contained therein, well,....have at it. If that makes him happy, go for it.

"Intrinsic value" and "personally perceived value" are two entirely different things. It is like apples and oranges. You do not disprove one by arguing the other.

Payne further comments: "I find worth and value in my copy of this book. It is, as I've said before, a finely produced volume which I prize from a bibliographic standpoint. It is also now a small piece of magic history which I, and 500 other lucky people have the ability to own."](Emphasis supplied by Turk)

Thank you, Payne, for also making my "collectibility" point.

That said, I am curious how you came to "prize" this "book" from a bibliographic standpoint. Are the assorted general magic quotes set forth in the "book" of such bibliographical value that the mere assemblage of these quotes has provided a valuable reference work for magic historians and those interested in magic history?

Payne and I will just have to agree to disagree. He is happy he owns a copy of this collectible and I'm happy for him in this regard. I'm glad it worked out for him.

Mike

P.S. BTW, a book that is a historical book of pictures depicting the performance of the cups and balls IS informanion, albeit in picture form. And such a book has intrinsic value because it depicts historical information of the times being portrayed. AND, it was specifically and knowingly bought for that purpose.

And, the information conveyed in the qoutes in the Protocols "book" is also information and has some limited value therefor. My point was always that M/M took advantage of their reputation in the community in putting out this "book". If you don't think that they did, ask yourself this question: If John Doe and Richard Roe (two unknown magicians) had put out the identical book as released by M/M. would you then consider the "information" valuable and worth the price you paid for this book? Would you even have purchased the book in the first place?

Look, I'm truly happy for Payne and the others who purchased this "book" and now, through the marketing hype, have a "collectible that is worth more than they paid for it. Thanks goodness for the increased value. But despite what Payne and the others now assert, if the "book" had NOT increased in value, they would be upset paying $50.00 for this "magic joke on the magic community" released by Max and Stephen.
Magic is a vanishing Art.

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truthteller
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Quote:
On 2006-03-18 20:38, Turk wrote:
1. It says a lot about this "book" that the buyers are asked not to reveal the alleged "one secret" of the book after having been had. (Err, excuse me,...after having purchased this valuable tome).


This is an untrue statement on a couple of levels. For one, as Lance as pointed out, no one was ever asked not to reveal "the secret" of the book. They were asked, respectfully, not to tip the contents so that those who bought it could have the experience - a matter previously discussed - the book intended to provide for the readership.

Second, in reference to the opening of your post, as CLouds himself pointed out, in regard to the buy back notice, it would have been foolish for M/M to have made this public knowledge prior to the books release. Anyone but the extraordinarily naive would see that there would be many in our community would would truly take "advantage" of this offer, never intending to keep the book.

Finally, and most importantly, I think Payne has summed things up nicely. There are more reasons to read a magic book than "getting information." Let us make an outside analogy. Does a poem have intrinsic value? Am I better off having the information about purple cows or petals on a wet black bough? What about music? Does listening to a Beethoven symphony give me intrinsic value as a result of the information conveyed to me (hmm, interesting modulation from the subdominant to the tertiary key, did not know that was possible.)(And for clarity, I am not making a comparison of worth between the Protocols to a Beethoven symphony, only pointing out that there are other reasons and meanings behind "texts" than imparting information.)

Or, does the experience of these aesthetic documents provide for me something to feel, something to think about, something to consider?


Magicians are terribly literate people. It amazes me, and others, that most everyone interpretted the "secret" phrase to mean a literal secret. I believe, and have it on excellent authority, that their use of the term was in a more literary nature. (Heaven forbid magicians think outside their own little boxes of meaning constructed for their own little worlds.)

So, even now Turk, it seems you have fixated on the word secret and insist on reading it as some piece of information with intrinsic value.

Well, the world is bigger than that.

When I see a movie that makes me weep, or hear a symphony that gives me chills, or read a novel that makes me question who I am, does that have value? Is that valueIntrinsic? I can't say.

Will every one who reads or listens have that same experience? Of course not. But does that mean it has no value intrinsic or otherwise? I am not so arrogant as to make that determination.

I wil say that I met and spoke with a very talented magician last week who told me that the Protocols changed the way he thought about magic. I know it gave me pause to think.

So, does it have value, intrinsic or otherwise?

Was I a better magician having read the Harry Potter books? Did that give me intrinsic value about my magic performance? Or did the experience of loosing myself in its images provide for me something more etheral, but important?

Who among us is the one to judge?
Payne
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Quote:
On 2006-03-22 00:28, Turk wrote:

P.S. BTW, a book that is a historical book of pictures depicting the performance of the cups and balls IS informanion, albeit in picture form. And such a book has intrinsic value because it depicts historical information of the times being portrayed. AND, it was specifically and knowingly bought for that purpose.



And so by this argument wouldn't a book of quotations about the state of magic over a selected time period have intrinsic value? After all the quotations are historical in nature so thus the book imparts the "information" you so desperately require.
It matters not if the book was bought knowing the contents or not. The information contained therein remains the same, unless of course it is a book about Schrodinger's Cat.
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Turk
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"Who among us is the one to judge?"

I am able to judge what I deem appropriate; you are able to judge what you deem appropriate.

While the ad copy was technically "true", IMHO, that was the extent of it. The ad copy, in part, reads:

"Announcing an unpleasant little book that no discerning library should be without. Over a century in the making. No tricks. Only one secret, but it's a killer!

A long-standing goal at Hermetic Press has been to produce books of quality that stand out from the crowd; books that are interesting and unusual. We've never published a book more unusual than The Protocols of the Elders of Magic. It is so unusual, we aren't going to tell you exactly what it is. All we will say is that there has never been a magic book like it. If you enjoy the erudite humor of MAX MAVEN, if you love books beautifully produced, and if you enjoy having something in your library few others do, The Protocols of the Elders of Magic is for you. If, on the other hand, you are looking for another collection of tricks, pass this one up and check out our other title."

First off, to my knowlege, no one who was disappointed in the "book" was disappointed because the "book" contained no tricks. Yet Brad and others keep arguing that there is more to magic than a bunch of tricks. Granted. That has never been the focus of the argument against, or the disappointment in, this "book". So enough already! Quit raising this strawman argument. All it does is make you look silly and wastes our time reading such drivel.

I guess my disappointment was in the fact that with the "book" only revealing one secret, I expected a definitive treatise on on the "one secret" subject. Knowing the credibility and stature of M/M, I mistakenly assumed that the one secret would be definitvely discussed and delved into. Quite frankly, I expected a book along the lines of Nevil Maskelyne's "Maskelyne on the Performance of Magic", or Hennijng Nelms' "Magic and Showmanship" or Brad Henderson's "The Dance".

Instead, what we "got" (got taken(?) might be a better phrase) was a "book" that contained just under 100 single sentence quotes relating to the art of magic and its imminent death, starting with the year of Dai Vernon's birth and ending in the year of his death. One quote for every year. Left hand page contains the date and the right hand page contains the quote. That was it. Oh sure, there was the underlying theme that magic is dying because all of its secrets are being revealed. But, was that really the subject for a "book" and not just a post on the Internet or a statement in a "real" book? Granted, the thought is relevant and telling but, to put it in a "book", is the magic book equivilent of writing an artic survival guide "book" which, when you open it up, tells you to "dress warmly, don't'exert yourself or sweat...and don't eat yellow snow."

Regardless of the value of the message(s) contained in the quotes in this "book", it is only the uniqueness of the "book" (its collectibility) that gives this "book" essentially all of its value. Payne candidly concedes that point when he admits that this "book" would not succeed if it was now printed in an "ordinary" edition There would be no market for it. Because this "book" is "valuable" essentially because of its collectibility value. It would not succeeed in a re-publication. Just think of that point. Here the Café alone has almost 24,000 members and yet this "book" would only be found to have sufficient value by the 500 "lucky" (Payne's word) persons who were able to purchase this limited finely bound "book" before "the secret was out".

In reading the strident defense of this "book" by M/M's many friends, apologists and toadies, I cannot help but think of both the story of the "Emperor's New Clothes" and the quote attributed to P.T. Barnum (About a sucker being bornevery day). I also cannot help but think that those who so stridently defend the practices of M/M in publishing this "book" might be at least subconsciously motivated by embassarrment--embarassment in the fact that they got taken by this marketing ploy and now feel the need to justify their purchase less they be looked upon with scorn and derision by the "magic comunity" for having "fallen for it".

Brad in his last post attempts to attack and belittle me andmy cognitive skills by stating:

"Magicians are terribly literate people. It amazes me, and others, that most everyone interpretted the "secret" phrase to mean a literal secret. I believe, and have it on excellent authority, that their use of the term was in a more literary nature. (Heaven forbid magicians think outside their own little boxes of meaning constructed for their own little worlds.)

So, even now Turk, it seems you have fixated on the word secret and insist on reading it as some piece of information with intrinsic value."

First off, when the advertising copy gave NO CLUE OR WARNING that the ordinary meaning of the word "secret" was NOT being used, people have a right to expect that the ordinary meaning of a word is the actual meaning of the word being used. To only discover that that was NOT the case AFTER having purchased the "book" was disingenuous on the part of M/M and it is disingenuous on Brad's part to suggest otherwise. And excuse me for expecting to recieve a piece of information of intrinsic value. I wonder if Brad realizes how ridiculous it sounds to people to have him suggest that they should spend their hard-earned money and to NOT expect something of intrinsic value is being purchased. Granted, if a person knows in advance that the object has no intrinsic value, then he may freely spend his money for the same and cannot later be heard to complain that it does not have any intrinsic value.

In that regard, I find it very interesting and telling that neither Brad, Payne or Lance will unequivocally state that the "book" has intrinsic value. Instead, they argue apples to oranges by stating that books don't have to have intrinsic value in order to be valuable. By this are they implicitily suggesting (and conceding) that the "book" has (little or) no intrinsic value but has other ephemeral qualities that make it valuable in its own right. They keep talking in analogies such as a good movie that can make them cry. Well, if that is the criteria (i.e., crying), this book must have been a literary success in that I suspect many of its purchasers must have cried when they opened the "book" and saw those wonderful 100 single sentence quotes on those predominantly blank pages.

Look, Brad and Payne and Lance are not going to convince the vast majority of the magic community of the truth and value of their position on this "book". Likewise, I am not going to convince Brad, Payne, Lance and the other friends, apologists and toadies of M/M of the truth and value of my positon on this "book". So the time has come to end this discussion. And those coming on this board and reading this 12 page discussion for the first time, will just have to make up their own mind about the value of this "book"-- intrinsic value, collectibility value, or otherwise.

I think that we all can agree that M/M, because of their stature and reputation in the magic comunity, were financially successfully able to perpetuate this "...erudite humor of MAX MAVEN" upon the unsuspecting magic community,...and leave it go at that.

Finally, those that purchased this "book" will not be permanently financially damaged if they act quickly; they can curently sell this "book" for more than they originally paid for it because of all the hype and the resulting perceived collectibility value of the "book". And subsequent purchasers of this "book" go in with their eyes wide open.

Mike
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truthteller
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I hate to respond piece meal like this, but as Turk has gone in many directions, and made statements that misrepresent others writings, I feel this is the best approach.

First, however, I should point out as I have said all along, that my posts here are not intended to sway people's opinion about the book. My posts have been, or tried to be, relegated to correcting misinformation or forcing people who have made unsubstantiated claims to back them up. A good many of these posts have claimed that no one would have bought the book had they known the contents before hand, that the book was written solely with the intent to deceive magicians - a con or a joke, that M/M set out to take advantage of magicians, and that M/M were forced into offering the buy back guarantee after the books release by unsatisfied buyers.

All of these claims, made by others on this thread, are wholly untrue.

Turk's claims touch on some of these and I will address them based on what I know. He has stated that the book has no intrinsic value (which I am still unsure of his meaning), that the only value the book has is collectibility, that those who profess to have liked the book do so out of embarrassment, and that M/M "took" us in the production of this book.

However I will never be able, nor should I be able, nor do I want to be able, to convince Turk that the Protocols is a good book. We are all entitled to our own opinions. However, I think he brings up interesting points. I will try to address them without calling people names - like toadies.


Quote:
On 2006-03-22 12:16, Turk wrote:

First off, to my knowlege, no one who was disappointed in the "book" was disappointed because the "book" contained no tricks. Yet Brad and others keep arguing that there is more to magic than a bunch of tricks. Granted. That has never been the focus of the argument against, or the disappointment in, this "book". So enough already! Quit raising this strawman argument. All it does is make you look silly and wastes our time reading such drivel.

I guess my disappointment was in the fact that with the "book" only revealing one secret, I expected a definitive treatise on on the "one secret" subject. Knowing the credibility and stature of M/M, I mistakenly assumed that the one secret would be definitvely discussed and delved into.

Quite frankly, I expected a book along the lines of Nevil Maskelyne's "Maskelyne on the Performance of Magic", or Hennijng Nelms' "Magic and Showmanship" or Brad Henderson's "The Dance"...

Regardless of the value of the message(s) contained in the quotes in this "book", it is only the uniqueness of the "book" (its collectibility) that gives this "book" essentially all of its value. ...

In reading the strident defense of this "book" by M/M's many friends, apologists and toadies, I cannot help but think of both the story of the "Emperor's New Clothes" and the quote attributed to P.T. Barnum (About a sucker being bornevery day). I also cannot help but think that those who so stridently defend the practices of M/M in publishing this "book" might be at least subconsciously motivated by embassarrment--embarassment in the fact that they got taken by this marketing ploy and now feel the need to justify their purchase less they be looked upon with scorn and derision by the "magic comunity" for having "fallen for it".



I simply disagree. While the book may have value for some because of its collectibility, for others it has value for content. Many have stated so on this thread and others. Now, unless you are saying that everyone who DID receive value from reading the book to be a toadie or syncophant, I am unsure on what you are basing your statement. Look again at the numbers of positive posts versus the number of negative posts from those who actually read or owned the book. While it is not a definitive sampling, I think claiming that the only value this book has is is collectible value is baseless - unless you have facts to the contrary.

I cannot speak for others, but I found the book an interesting experience to read. And I think that is the key. It was a a constructed experience, hence the request to not ruin it for others. I do not know if you had that experience.

I know people who did, and they found the book thought provoking. (Sadly, I knew what the contents were ahead of time, so my appreciation was purely intellectual, not visceral as others who I know experienced.) Perhaps you still desire to call those of us who had an interesting experience with this book liars or toadies? I would not consider those who did NOT care for the book to be morons or Maven haters. We all have different tastes and we all get different things from different experiences.

However I would ask those who did not care for the book is they bought the book, opened it [bold]unknowing of the contents[/bold], and had the realization of what they were reading come to them? (Or did they know about it already?) Did they then ask themsleves, "What is this about?" And then did they think about it, and why someone would have done this, what the author might be trying to convey?

Now, I ask this not to enter again into the argument about people who had not bought the book being the most outraged on these forums (though still a question I find interesting), but to place one's experience in perspective for us. Did they have the intended experience, or was their's like so many, tainted by having the "punchline" tipped in advance?

However, as Turk has said clearly, he was expecting one thing - an expectation which while based on the ad, was not perhaps an accurate expecation, as Lance pointed out earlier. Also, one's experiences in magic may not have provided a fertile ground for Max's message to have taken seed. Afterall, Turk's interpretation of the "secret" is only one, and not the only one. I know of others who walked away with different and more personally profound readings of the text. I am not going to say either of them is right, only that because of who they are, and what they see, they had different experiences. I find Schoenberg's music riveting, others find it annoying.

Quote:

Brad in his last post attempts to attack and belittle me andmy cognitive skills by stating:

"Magicians are terribly literate people. It amazes me, and others, that most everyone interpretted the "secret" phrase to mean a literal secret. I believe, and have it on excellent authority, that their use of the term was in a more literary nature. (Heaven forbid magicians think outside their own little boxes of meaning constructed for their own little worlds.)

So, even now Turk, it seems you have fixated on the word secret and insist on reading it as some piece of information with intrinsic value."

First off, when the advertising copy gave NO CLUE OR WARNING that the ordinary meaning of the word "secret" was NOT being used, people have a right to expect that the ordinary meaning of a word is the actual meaning of the word being used. To only discover that that was NOT the case AFTER having purchased the "book" was disingenuous on the part of M/M and it is disingenuous on Brad's part to suggest otherwise. And excuse me for expecting to recieve a piece of information of intrinsic value. I wonder if Brad realizes how ridiculous it sounds to people to have him suggest that they should spend their hard-earned money and to NOT expect something of intrinsic value is being purchased. Granted, if a person knows in advance that the object has no intrinsic value, then he may freely spend his money for the same and cannot later be heard to complain that it does not have any intrinsic value.



There is no attempt to belittle here. It is just a truth, a truth I and others have observed. Secret is a big word. And I think, given the thorough disclaimers in Minch's ad (as parsed for us earlier by Lance) that it was reasonable to understand that we were not going to be talking about metholological secrets. Look again at his post. He did an excellent job of pointing out exactly why one would reasonably not assume "secret" was being used in its ordinary sense. In fact, though I am flattered you received value from the Dance, I would never have considered it to be a book about "secrets". Nor would I consider Nelms to be a book about "secrets". I think to talk about secrets in either book would be to use the word secret in a non-traditional sense, for our field, as well. So your argument I find confusing. In one case, it would be ok to use secret in a non-traditional sense, in another case, it would be wrong.

But I am forced to ask, what is your point? Is it that upon buying this book you were disappointed and felt taken advantage of? If so, then I must remind you of the buy-back offer which you could have taken advantage of. Then, it seems, there would be no reason to be upset. So, if anyone was upset, and felt mislead by the ad, they had recourse to full recompensation. Seems to me that using words like "sucker" and "fallen for it" seem a little harsh and even downright libelous, no?

As to the intrinsic argument, I believe, and will discuss shortly, that the book (as best I understand your definition) DOES contain intrinsic value. So, I will appreciate in the future a conscious attempt on your part not to place words into other people's mouths.

Quote:

In that regard, I find it very interesting and telling that neither Brad, Payne or Lance will unequivocally state that the "book" has intrinsic value. Instead, they argue apples to oranges by stating that books don't have to have intrinsic value in order to be valuable. By this are they implicitily suggesting (and conceding) that the "book" has (little or) no intrinsic value but has other ephemeral qualities that make it valuable in its own right. They keep talking in analogies such as a good movie that can make them cry. Well, if that is the criteria (i.e., crying), this book must have been a literary success in that I suspect many of its purchasers must have cried when they opened the "book" and saw those wonderful 100 single sentence quotes on those predominantly blank pages.



I think this was the paragraph which I found most troubling. I, and apparently others, are unclear what you mean by intrinsic worth. So, I wrote about different reactions to different "texts" and defered to you to see if that is what you meant by "intrinsic worth."

As for the apples/oranges analogy though, it may be true. Do we evaluate a treatise on physics according to the same criterion as we do a poem by Elliot? Are novels and magazines to be judged the same?

I think a good example of this "extracirricular" nature would be: is a book on literary criticism to be judged the same as a how to manual?

Does a book on literary criticism have intrinsic value? I have to defer to Turk here. If it does, then I think the Protocols does. The Protocols is a commentary on magic. And rather than present it discursively (to borrow language from Suzanne Langer - linguist), he does so presentationally. It really is an interesting idea if you think about it.


Now, while I think on those lines the Protocols does have intrinsic value, I can also say that, as in other fields when this has been done, the commentary offered in this manner may not resonate for a lot of people. I will even go so far as to say, they will not like it. And even so far as to say, some people just won't get it.

And that's ok.

Turk suggest Max could have "spelled out the secret" in a one line post.
Quote:
Oh sure, there was the underlying theme that magic is dying because all of its secrets are being revealed. But, was that really the subject for a "book" and not just a post on the Internet or a statement in a "real" book?
I disagree. For one, I do not think that Max intended us to all walk away with the same experience, much the same way as a poet does not want everyone to walk away with the exact same meaning of his work. For Turk to think one could do so, misses the point. (And I also think Turk's simple interpretation of the book's secret misses the mark too.)

Also, Max's manner of offering his commentary was done so "presentationally," meaning it was designed not to be a denotative offering, but one more closely akin to that one has when viewing a painting or reading a poem. You participate with the work, you, ideally, have an experience, and from that you walk away with a conception - ideally one similar in mind to that of the author's intent. (Which is still not to say that the author has one intent or one meaning solely in mind.)

Now, if all this sounds a little heady, it is. It is aesthetic and linguist/semiotic theory. And it explains what the Protocols was in FORM. It was not a one line post, it was a "text" (again, a technical term) designed to produce a feelingful response in the particpant. And unlike many aesthetic texts, this one intended to encourage thought, specfic thoughts, about our art. And as the Bannon book encourgaged me to think about my art in ways I would not/could not without having read it, as did the Benson book, and Lance's book, I think that intrinsic value IS present. The book is a catalyst for thought. Max collected symbols - in this case quotes functioning as symbols - in an intentional manner desgined to convey meaning to the reader which transcends the literal meaning of the elements (quotes) themselves yet could not be conveyed without the participation of those exact elements (quotes). (This of course reference Tillich's definition of symbols). In other words, The Protocols is not just a book of quotes. The quotes point to something beyond. The reference to Vernon is more than just a reference to Vernon. The Protocols is a literary work, not a mere "magic book."

Not everyone's cup of tea.

So, I will also agree, that for many, the form of commentary and in this case misplaced expectations may have prevented the reader from having a valuble experience, personal, intrinsic or otherwise.

Quote:


Look, Brad and Payne and Lance are not going to convince the vast majority of the magic community of the truth and value of their position on this "book". Likewise, I am not going to convince Brad, Payne, Lance and the other friends, apologists and toadies of M/M of the truth and value of my positon on this "book". So the time has come to end this discussion. And those coming on this board and reading this 12 page discussion for the first time, will just have to make up their own mind about the value of this "book"-- intrinsic value, collectibility value, or otherwise.

I think that we all can agree that M/M, because of their stature and reputation in the magic comunity, were financially successfully able to perpetuate this "...erudite humor of MAX MAVEN" upon the unsuspecting magic community,...and leave it go at that.


Mike


As I have said, I am not an apologist for the book. If you didn't like it, you didn't like it. I do take issue with people who make false claims about either the book or the men behind them. I do find it incredibly rude for someone to unilaterally decide when a discussion is over. It is childish (a statement I will stand behind) and perhaps even belies a fear that they will be shown in error.

But you cannot make claims about other people and choose not to let them respond. I would have thought you above that.

So, in conclusion, the book is not everyone's cup of tea. Is it a good book, or a bad book? Well, I think given the nature of the presentation of the commentary, a lot of that IS dependant on the person participating in the text. If someone hated it, I will agree with them that they did. I would hope they would be mature enough to allow others to have had different experiences.

But I will say that M/M felt they had something worth sharing, and they did. To impugn their intentions or imply that they "took advantage of us" is irresponsible - unless you have proof to offer.

To say that those who enjoyed the book, or got something out of it, are toadies or syncophants is as arrogant as saying that those who did not are moronic. There are lots of reasons why people would not have "liked" the Protocols, and they are each entitled to them. So, let those who did receive value from the work do so without the name calling.

Brad
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Brad,

"I do find it incredibly rude for someone to unilaterally decide when a discussion is over. It is childish (a statement I will stand behind) and perhaps even belies a fear that they will be shown in error.

But you cannot make claims about other people and choose not to let them respond. I would have thought you above that."

Regardless of your long post and your above statements, further post by you adds nothing to your prior posts. Same for me. And since this topic has apparently divided into two camps and neither will change the mind of the other, further posts are not productive. We have both stated and restated our positions on this book to exhaustion. That was why I claimed that the discussion should end. Nothing essentially new; just a rehash of prior points.

Under your theory, this thread could go on forever as you make claims and I make claims and we each continue to respond to the other, ad infinitum. If you feel the need to have the last word, by all means, respond to this post. If not, please move on. But,...I just bet that you will feel the need to have the last word. We shall see. You might surprise me.

Mike
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Quote:
On 2006-03-22 16:43, Turk wrote:

Under your theory, this thread could go on forever as you make claims and I make claims and we each continue to respond to the other, ad infinitum. If you feel the need to have the last word, by all means, respond to this post. If not, please move on. But,...I just bet that you will feel the need to have the last word. We shall see. You might surprise me.

Mike


Ah yes, and have you stopped beating your wife? This is perhaps the oldest of tired internet forum games. Again, I would have thought you above that.

In truth, I thought your post interesting and different from the others that came before. I thought the idea of intrinsic value, though unclear from your writing, worthy of exploration. I was dissapointed that you ended up going down some of the same tired accusatory paths as others, but you, Turk, did bring a side to this discussion that had not been considered. I am sure you felt that way, or else you would have not opened up a thread dormant for 2 months, no?

And because you clearly felt it worth reopening this thread, I and others thought you deserved the respect of a reply - if only in an attempt to help understand what it is you were intending. You brought a different perspective, and if it had value, one that could possibly add to the discussion and change people's perspectives. If you did not think that was possible, why even bring it up?

But it is your belief that the discussion is at an end and more fruitful conversation is impossible. So, by claiming it to be over, you are asserting that you are right in this belief and others who might continue wrong. And by the fact that others are interested in talking, proves that your assesment is incorrect. If the conversation was over, it would be over - as it was until you reopened discussion. In the field of philosophy, they call this a "performative contradiction."

Or is it that you believe that only those who disagree with you have no reason to comment anymore. Afterall, in making your statements upon reopening the thread, you must have thought your point had some worth or value - intrinsic or otherwise. Why else would you have made them? So, arrogant as it seems, you must believe that your point of view would weigh meaningfully on the subject, thereby proving that the subject was not either decided or at a stalemate.


I tried in my last post to address the concept of intrinsic value, the idea you brought recently to the thread, and am sorry that you would rather close discussion than explore the idea you presented. It was my intent to call attention to the intended "literary nature" of the Protocols (a phrase used by Minch in discussing it) and hopefully expose more of the intentions behind the work.

This is not to say that it would change anyone's "like or dislike" for the book, but it is clear from your post, at least, that many misunderstood what the book was meant to be.

I think knowing that is a good first step.

You might notice that the semiotic discussion is new to the thread, and one you are directly responsible for. Previously, our talk here revolved about baseless accusations about the author and publisher. We were covering new ground. I am sorry you cannot see that.

Regardless, I thank you for making a small attempt to reopen discussion with a new idea, I am only sorry that you see it necessary to call names and close discussion, rather than follow through on the point you reopened the thread to make. I am also disapointed you would play the "last word" game that so many insist on playing on this forum. When a topic is closed, it is closed. (As, I will point out again, this one had been for some time.) You cannot say things that misrepresent other's thoughts or demonstrate an unclear understanding of the discussion and expect discussion to cease.

You know better than that.

It is the hit and run nature of the internet, I suppose.

Best,

Brad
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Turk,

I drew up a partial response to some of your comments but had to turn to work instead. In the meantime, the thread raced ahead. I'll post some (hopefully) concise thoughts here and just leave it at that.

Earlier, you wrote:

Quote:
A few points that I held off putting in my last post:

Lance comments: "I disagree that the book earned its value only from the marketing of it....It's not really effective to point out that the book has no "information," since its purpose wasn't to impart information."(Emphasis supplied by Turk)

Thank you, Lance, for making my "collectibility" point.


Actually, I didn't make that point for you, and I'm not sure what to make of your attempt to reframe my comments as such. You seem to imply that a book either imparts information or it has collectible value, and those are the only two options in play. This book doesn't impart information as much as it simply makes a statement -- a social commentary -- and much of the reading experience is garnered not just in what it says but how it says it. Either the reader appreciates this or he doesn't, but I've read many books in my lifetime that were composed of short passages that were seemingly chaotic sometimes and ill-organized when in fact the author was gradually wending his way toward a point. It's not the imparting of information along the way that's the thing; it's the staging that's set for the final realization.

As you noted, Max could have made his final point in an Internet post or in an inch or two of magazine column. Granted. But to me this would be like cutting to the chase by singing only the last line of the song.

You further commented
Quote:
In that regard, I find it very interesting and telling that neither Brad, Payne or Lance will unequivocally state that the "book" has intrinsic value.


The others have offered their positions on this. For my part, the reason I haven't unequivocally stated that the book has "intrinsic value" has nothing to do with the book but with the very concept of "intrinsic value." Whether something has inherent and objective value is an epistemological problem that has gone unresolved for millennia, so we're not going to untangle it here. Let me just say that I can't easily get with the idea that something has value when no one is there to value it. So, when you rest the majority of your points on a concept that I can't accept, I don't have much to say about it.

Finally, I will let Payne and Brad tell you how they feel on this third matter, but for myself, I can't imagine what I've written here in response to you or anyone else that warrants the characterizations you've made. I don't find that to be a healthy manner of discourse.

With all due respect, your posts now seem less like discussion and more like argument in search of opponents. Since that's a game I usually don’t enjoy playing, I'll sit out and watch for a while.

Cheers,


Lance
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What's with all this rambling semiotic nonsense? The fact still remains that many people bought the book expecting some kind of practical secret and were sorely dissapointed when it turned out to be something very different. What compounded the problem was that people were told to keep the contents of the book a secret - a rather large inside joke - and I think in turn many people felt, rightfully, ripped off. Forget the art for a moment; magic and all its wares is not cheap. Books, tricks and DVD's (considering the production values on many of these turkeys, the majority are verging on extortion) are expensive - maybe too expensive for any kind of marketing subtleties or inside jokes.

Kindly

Bonedaddi
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