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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Right or Wrong? » » Exposure in magic books aimed at laypeople (7 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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epoptika
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On 2010-05-03 22:21, Starrpower wrote:
This book is not about igniting an interest in magic. This book is about $$$, plain and simple.

This book is exposure, there's no two ways about it. It's professional secrets being distributed in public venues. If that is not the definition of exposure, what is? The Masked Magician exposed absurd garbage and was lambasted for it (I, personally, had to take the Fork Lift Levitation out of my act.) Somebody, somewhere (I'll pick Stan Allen since he first gave Joshua his widespread voice) decided that Joshua Jay should be an "insider." So now, he is protected and can do as he pleases with complete disregard to the consequences within the general magic community.

I personally am sick of the Big Shot Big Mouths in magic who think they can make the rules (as well as the Little Shots like epoptika who make condescending remarks about whom entry-level magic appeals to. There's a reason it's called "entry- level" my good man.)

If you think this book is appropriate, that's your opinion -- but be honest with yourself and never again voice concern over exposure, because you have just shown support for it.



"Little Shot"? Wow, you've really hurt my feelings now.

I think some of you guys are way too obsessed about your "secrets". Perhaps you ought to spend more time working on your presentation skills.
Josh Chaikin
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On 2010-05-03 20:50, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
Before you got that course, Josh, what were you interested in?


It's hard to say, I was 9 or 10 at the time. I did have an interest in magic, as much as any child around that age seems to have. I received it, which was strange, because my interest was unknown to my aunt and uncle. I would have to say that my largest interests at the time were probably video games and WWF.
truthteller
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On 2010-05-02 18:18, Rory Diamond wrote:
Just picked up a copy of Magic, The Complete Course, by Joshua Jay. I am sure Josh is a nice guy, and a great magician. His book is sold at Barnes & Noble, Borders, and more (Just noticed it in "Things you never knew existed" mail order catalog.)He even does "book signings" at these mall stores. I am astounded to see that the book contains so many tricks regarded as "trade secrets" to working magicians: invisible deck, coin in the bottle exposing a folding coin, using the same for biting a coin effect, torn and restored newspaper, linking rings, many tricks exposing a thumb tip, etc. The book is not only written by Joshua Jay, but has offerings from Gregory Wilson, Gene Anderson,(who are just as guilty) and many others. Why is it that it is ok for these guys to blatantly expose magic in mall bookstores and nobody says anything about it? Where is Walter Blaney and his foaming at the mouth "WAM" when it comes to these Magic Castle types giving away well guarded magic secrets and methods? These are not simple, entry level magic tricks with paper clips and rubber bands.. these are tricks that are being used in working magician's acts. This is not a tourist magic shop where you buy a trick and they teach it to you.. this is right at the local mall of Anytown, USA. Anyone can pick the book up and casually page through it- in fact many people do, the book is often featured on display when you walk into a big box bookstore. Also picked up a book called "Mysterio's Encyclopedia of Magic and Conjuring", again aimed at laypeople and sold at contemporary bookstores. Exposes "knots off silk", Super X Suspension, etc. written by a well-known magician. How is this not exposure of magic? How is this any different than the "masked magician"? Oh, I guess it is ok if you are well-known and you are SELLING the secrets to laypeople! Talk about a double standard...


I don't want to get into the "because it was always done" argument - that is not an excuse - but it does bring up an interesting question:

How do you feel about Modern Magic and the following Hoffman texts? Were these important to the growth of magic? Would we be where we are today without them? Does it matter that they were sold openly in book shops? Were they exposure then? Are they now?

What about Expert at the Card Table - arguably one of the most important books on sleight of hand ever written. It was intended for sale to the public. Was it exposure then? Is it now?

If a "mall" book store sold a copy of Hoffman or Erdnase today - would you consider that exposure? While I know many local and regional magicians who perform tricks they saw David Blaine do on TV - such as biting a coin or the invisible deck - I can think of probably more magicians (of greater artistic acclaim) that use material and techniques from Erdnase. Is selling Erdnase in a book store exposure?

Many of the illusionary principles described in Hoffman are still in use today. Is selling Hoffman exposure?

Which brings us to the simple question - where is the line? Should no magic books be sold to the public? Or just to the public at major book stores? Or should only certain TYPES of magic books be sold to the public, and the rest kept in magic shops.

Yet THIS begs the question - who do the magic shops sell to?

I know lots of teenagers that have bought great books and crummy dvds online - what set them apart from the laypeople in the mall prior to them keying in their mom's credit card number on the first magic site they came across?

Doesn't it take more work to find out that the magic books are in the games section of B and N than it does to enter in "magic shop" in your favorite web browser?

What entitles one person to the information and denies the other?

Is it the claim of being a magician?

Ok - I'm a magician. NOW can I buy the book?
Quote:
On 2010-05-03 23:01, Rory Diamond wrote:
Let's get real here.. you are not simply "sparking an interest" when you are giving away invisible deck, a folding coin, a Blaney/Super X Levitation, and a thumb tip. You are doing it for the almighty buck. With the thousands of other tricks out there, why would you include these? Because they are the tricks of most working professionals out there.


Sounds like "most working professionals" are hacks.

Are you saying we should only teach stupid, unusable tricks that no one does in beginners magic books?

That will REALLY spark an interest in magic!!!!
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I don't know, I'm kind of torn here...

On the one hand, I would venture to say that the vast majority of us got started with a book or magic set marketed to the general public at a library, book store, or toy store. Without any of those being on the market, very few of us would be magicians today. (Of course, after seeing my double lift, some of you might think that is a good thing!)

Those are some awfully good, professional-caliber effects in Josh's book. On the other hand, I'm not sure explanations of any of those aren't available on the Internet for free. So at least folks would be paying something for Josh's book. They would have to actually go to the store and pick it up and open it as opposed to making a few clicks of the mouse while planted on their rapidly spreading backsides.

Part of the problem with exposure is that the more we call attention to it, the more we fan the flame. Remember the hype with the second MM special? "The show ten thousand magicians don't want you to see!" The protest of magicians only caused MORE viewers to tune in.

It seems to me that if one has a problem with Josh's book, one shouldn't buy anything from Josh again. Further, one should probably write Josh and explain this to him. If another doesn't have a problem with it, I agree that he should at least be consistent about it and not howl when someone else does essentially the same thing.
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Jonathan Townsend
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So you're just saying that the narrator of the masked magician specials did not sound enthusiastic enough? And maybe if they gave him a bigger budget he could have explained the really good stuff like Copperfield's Statue vanish and the latest Jim Steinmeyer works?
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Starrpower
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On 2010-05-04 13:54, epoptika wrote:

"Little Shot"? Wow, you've really hurt my feelings now.

I think some of you guys are way too obsessed about your "secrets". Perhaps you ought to spend more time working on your presentation skills.


The "little shot" was in jest; I was not intending to offend you (if I did, it's an added bonus!)

All seriousness aside, I think you are missing the point. Truthteller, you absolutely miss it; you're entire post was about the selling of secrets.

The people commenting here are not "obsessed with secrets," (at least, I am not.) The way I understand it, Rory's commentary is about the hypocrisy of the magic community, not anger that tricks are being exposed. I think too many posters here are addressing the issue of exposure and missing the larger observation regarding the way the arrogant "Good Ol' Boys" view themselves vs. "the magic peons."
Jonathan Townsend
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Those who respect the craft and audiences are not usually so involved in the tiny market for selling magic tricks/props/routines. What works for one person might not make sense for another. One size does not fit all. There are no easy answers to finding what works for you and magic tricks are not puzzles to figure out from ad descriptions. So until you let go of the "clever me figures it out - you can't figure it out" mentality, the "i have the latest trick" fashion addiction ... you might have to stay a "magic peon".
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Starrpower
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On 2010-05-04 20:02, Jonathan Townsend wrote:

So until you let go of the "clever me figures it out - you can't figure it out" mentality, the "i have the latest trick" fashion addiction ... you might have to stay a "magic peon".


Um ... you still don't get it.

This thread is about hypocrisy. My "magic peon" term was in reference to the way the "Good Ol' Boys" see us ... anyone not in their little elitist circle. How you interpet this as being an issue of "you can't figure it out" is beyond me.
truthteller
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On 2010-05-04 19:44, Starrpower wrote:
All seriousness aside, I think you are missing the point. Truthteller, you absolutely miss it; you're entire post was about the selling of secrets.

The people commenting here are not "obsessed with secrets," (at least, I am not.) The way I understand it, Rory's commentary is about the hypocrisy of the magic community, not anger that tricks are being exposed. I think too many posters here are addressing the issue of exposure and missing the larger observation regarding the way the arrogant "Good Ol' Boys" view themselves vs. "the magic peons."


But unless we can come to terms with what constitutes exposure (which is the context in which the caste system inequity was raised), then accusations of an old boys club are irrelevant. We can't get to that step without determining the first.

We need to look to other books which we consider valid and or having crossed the line and then compare what you are accusing as exposure today to those. That way we remove the personality of the author from the equation.

Defining "exposure" clearly is a hurdle, so I think it is wise to look specifically at the topic under consideration - what constitutes exposure in a book.

So, I asked my question about books.

If those questions can be answered and they yield a working litmus test THEN we can apply it to a magic elite like Josh Jay THEN we can decide if he got an unfair pass.

But right now no one has done any job at all of convicting these books in any sort of historical or social contexts of being any sort of actual exposure.

I think you would have to answer the questions I posed before you could hope to.

Just trying to help.

Somebody, quick. Get a rope.

(Now, if you want to address the caste system in another non-exposure context, that would be great. But again, you would have to actually establish what you are saying is happening is ACTUALLY happening - then right and wrong can be adjudicated.)
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On 2010-05-02 18:18, Rory Diamond wrote:
Just picked up a copy of Magic, The Complete Course, by Joshua Jay. I am sure Josh is a nice guy, and a great magician. His book is sold at Barnes & Noble, Borders, and more (Just noticed it in "Things you never knew existed" mail order catalog.)He even does "book signings" at these mall stores. I am astounded to see that the book contains so many tricks regarded as "trade secrets" to working magicians: invisible deck, coin in the bottle exposing a folding coin, using the same for biting a coin effect, torn and restored newspaper, linking rings, many tricks exposing a thumb tip, etc. The book is not only written by Joshua Jay, but has offerings from Gregory Wilson, Gene Anderson,(who are just as guilty) and many others. Why is it that it is ok for these guys to blatantly expose magic in mall bookstores and nobody says anything about it? Where is Walter Blaney and his foaming at the mouth "WAM" when it comes to these Magic Castle types giving away well guarded magic secrets and methods? These are not simple, entry level magic tricks with paper clips and rubber bands.. these are tricks that are being used in working magician's acts. This is not a tourist magic shop where you buy a trick and they teach it to you.. this is right at the local mall of Anytown, USA. Anyone can pick the book up and casually page through it- in fact many people do, the book is often featured on display when you walk into a big box bookstore. Also picked up a book called "Mysterio's Encyclopedia of Magic and Conjuring", again aimed at laypeople and sold at contemporary bookstores. Exposes "knots off silk", Super X Suspension, etc. written by a well-known magician. How is this not exposure of magic? How is this any different than the "masked magician"? Oh, I guess it is ok if you are well-known and you are SELLING the secrets to laypeople! Talk about a double standard...


I'll answer this in two parts. The first is the gratuitous reference to Walter Blaney and WAM. WAM ceased to exist in 1998 after the fiasco with the lawsuit against the Masked Magician. I was a charter member of WAM. WAM received so little support from the magic community at large that it was not feasible for them to continue operations. Even with attorneys who were willing to take on the cases on a pro bono basis, there were still expenses to be met and major inconveniences for people who were actually working. The case was timed incorrectly. I'm sure the attorney didn't realize that you can't sue for damages that have not occured. That's Law 101.

Regarding the "exposure of magic in a book intended for lay people." All of the magic organizations have a minimum retail price for books that teach magic secrets. I believe the current MSRP for a book of this type is $10.00.

This is basically no different from the Mark Wilson Complete Course in Magic which was written by a magician whose fame is considerably more widespread than Joshua Jay's, and which teaches secrets on the same level, including a suspension quite similar to the Super X. If anyone is laboring under the misconception that Mark's course was written for magicians, then I would suggest that you actually study the book.

=========================================================

Maybe I should point out the way that some of the magic organizations view exposure vs. teaching.

Exposure is usually non-transactional. That is, you tune into a television show or you surf the internet and BINGO! there is some fool showing you how a thumb tip works.

Teaching is transactional. You pay for a lesson, the teacher teaches it. Your pay may be monetary. It may be payment in kind. But something changes hands from each side. You pay for a download. You download it. The person selling the download gets the money, you get the information. How good that information is depends on the person who wrote it for the seller.

How much damage is done to magic by a $20.00 book? To be blunt, I think it is very little. Most people don't read any more.
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truthteller
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Bill,

What if a kid's school does a magic program and they bring in a magician to teach some tricks to an entire class. would it matter if the school paid - if the teacher paid? What if the magician does it for free?

What about an after school program where the parents pay for the program per se but the magician comes in and teaches to all the kids who may or may not have an interest or would have sought it out? Does the parents fee cover the transactional element? Again, what if the magician does it for free?

(I think the transactional rule is interesting, just trying to flesh it out. thanks)
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I think a factor is being left out. What is being taught?
Invisible deck? folding coin? haunted key? Balducci levitation?

I think it is also about what is being taught, not just the book being sold.

s
truthteller
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Sponge - are you saying then that only crappy tricks should be taught? What is the line?

I think, for many, it boils down to "is it a trick that I do?"

And what is the difference between teaching the trick in a magic book sold at a magic shop and teaching the trick in a magic book sold in a book store?

Should the magic shop restrict sales only to magicians?

What does more harm, an ellusionist style dvd that teaches great tricks to people with internet connections who may go out and butcher them, or a book on the shelf at barnes and noble that may be picked up by a (now) layman only to be never looked at again?

What about magic masters that sold invisible decks to thousands of lay people in malls? Was that exposure?

Where are the lines and why should THOSE be the lines?
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In my opinion if you are selling effects to the public then you should be called on it, no matter who you are.

Brad, as for the books you mentioned that were sold to the public. I would have to say that they should have never been published and sold to the public. Perhaps then their would be far less magicians and the art would be respected and not on the same level as mimes(not that there is anything wrong with mimes. Smile )

The magic community would be far more tight knit. Entrance into the community would require one to seek out a member of the community and demonstrate to him/her an eagerness and willingness to learn about the art. Then and only then would he be allowed to enter the profession.

Perhaps less magicians would equal more talented magicians? I see less magicians as a good thing.
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Jonathan Townsend
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On 2010-05-05 14:23, Bill Palmer wrote:...Teaching is transactional....

Bill, that may have been true a generation ago - currently we are living in an economy of attention. And so the "exposure" transaction is one of attention. As to the "teaching" transaction - what teachers do you know who have set forth works which permit the teacher to verify each step in the student's instruction - IE to know what has been taught?
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Starrpower
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On 2010-05-04 23:53, truthteller wrote:
But unless we can come to terms with what constitutes exposure (which is the context in which the caste system inequity was raised), then accusations of an old boys club are irrelevant.



We hold these truths to be self-evident ...

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I may not be able to define exposure, but I know it when I see it.

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Jonathan Townsend
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But Starrpower, that would leave us all having to ask you each time we wanted to know. And what if you are busy at that moment we need some help? Can't we have something we can use ahead of time to avoid getting into that situation of having to call you at odd hours?

Quote:
On 2010-05-04 23:53, truthteller wrote:...what constitutes exposure...


If a non-magician can read it or watch it and understand that guile is being used to make something which is not appear to be... then we have a strong case for potential exposure. If a non-magician can obtain such an artifact - it's exposed. If it's on ebay available to all and sundry - it's exposed.

That work for a framework and definition?

Do we need to proceed to haggle over the price in dollars?

Do we need to proceed to haggle over what we mean by "indecent exposure" when we already have lurid ads pointed at insecure children offering specious social skills?
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the Sponge
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On 2010-05-05 16:50, truthteller wrote:
Sponge - are you saying then that only crappy tricks should be taught? What is the line?


Crappy tricks? Wow, not sure what to say there. LOL I think in some cases it is a matter of presentation.

Why not? It was good enough for us. Readers probably thought either 1. these suck, magic sucks and moved on. 2. these suck, let me do more research and find better ones.

what happened to working up to something, crawling before walking, paying dues, etc.?

I don't have the Jay book, but if those tricks (invisible deck, folding coin, and the like) are "revealed" why? It's not like they can perform it without the props. It's just a hook, a gimmick.

s
Jonathan Townsend
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On 2010-05-05 19:21, the Sponge wrote:...It's not like they can perform it without the props. It's just a hook, a gimmick.

s


A lure into the magic shop. Come hither and see what else lies waiting behind the shiny glass counters - in plastic bags labeled with names alluding to mysteries and wonders.
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the Sponge
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On 2010-05-05 16:50, truthteller wrote:
What does more harm, an ellusionist style dvd that teaches great tricks to people with internet connections who may go out and butcher them, or a book on the shelf at Barnes and Noble that may be picked up by a (now) layman only to be never looked at again?

What about magic masters that sold invisible decks to thousands of lay people in malls? Was that exposure?



Come on now. stick to the argument. It's not about the mall or magic shops or terrible presentations. One thing at a time.

Quote:
On 2010-05-05 19:25, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
Quote:
On 2010-05-05 19:21, the Sponge wrote:...It's not like they can perform it without the props. It's just a hook, a gimmick.

s


A lure into the magic shop. Come hither and see what else lies waiting behind the shiny glass counters - in plastic bags labeled with names alluding to mysteries and wonders.

basic tricks do the same thing for those who have a real interest.

no, who cares about magic stores. only book sales. It is really, "Buy THIS book cause it contains the GOOD tricks REAL magicians use."
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