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John Clarkson
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Quote:
On 2003-10-20 17:32, christopher carter ... Its [mentalism's] closest contemporary cognate, I think, is professional wrestling.

--Chris
So, that's where I went wrong! Do you think I could forego the usual disclaimer if I do my Q & A in a mask and chartreuse tights?

Smile
John D. Clarkson, S.O.B. (Sacred Omphaloskeptic Brotherhood)
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"There is nothing more important to a magician than keeping secrets. Probably because so many of them are Gay."
—Peggy, from King of the Hill (Sleight of Hank)
Ian Rowland
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Re the firewalk... earlier this year, my friend Anthony Owen contacted me and asked if I'd help them build a firewalk and go 'over the coals' first to show that it works (because I've done x times before but Ali Cook hadn't, apparently, or had only done it once). I agreed, and had a pleasant day with the TV crew. TWO happy days, in fact, because on the first day the man who was supposed to deliver the wood didn't turn up! I've never heard of anyone presenting firewalking as a magic trick, but there are some people who think it relies on mind over matter, which isn't true, it just relies on physics. I guess this is the point of these sorts of demonstrations, but you'd have to ask the programme-makers - their show, their reasons.

To Mr Tony Razzano, thank you for your information and corrections. I was basing my previous comments on what I was told, and what I heard, at the time of my very enjoyable visit to San Jose, and I was complimenting the people concerned on the warm and cordial way in which I was received. There have been other members of the PEA who have contacted me privately to say that things are as I represented them in my previous post. However, I stand corrected. I respect your greater knowledge as to the facts, and I thank you for bringing them to my attention. I did not intentionally seek to misrepresent the views of the PEA as a whole or any individual members.
www.ianrowland.com . Working Magic.
christopher carter
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On 2003-10-20 18:33, John Clarkson wrote:
Quote:
So, that's where I went wrong! Do you think I could forego the usual disclaimer if I do my Q & A in a mask and chartreuse tights?

Smile



Sorry, John, that's kind of a trademark of mine. Smile

--Chris
canuck
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The PEA may not like it, but I don't see what the fuss is about. I'm only an amateur, of course, not making my living from this. And I wish some things were not so widely available, myself. However, it seems to me that with all the books, videos, etc. being constantly published, all the old material which is public domain at this point in time being available, and with gimmicks/tricks widely available in cheap plastic at Toys-r-Us, etc. or on the Klutz book rack, its hard to argue that some secret is being exposed. If someone were to take, for example, Richard Osterlind's method(s) for doing the center tear, and specificly describe them on TV, then there is an argument that that is both illegal and unethical. But to argue that the center tear should not be discussed on TV, I don't see what grounds there are for arguing against this, since it is an old and readily available method to anyone who does some research. Not that I'm personally happy to see these things exposed on TV - I'm not. But I don't see having any "righteous indignation" over it. And truth be told, knowing what I do, I am often fooled by magicians using techniques I know, but doing it in a way that masks it, or doing it so well I can't catch it. Just like the TT, in the hands of a good performer, the gimmics used don't matter. And for some things, like psychic readings, I don't think anything could discourage those who believe in this. Perhaps the PEA should ban its members from publishing books or DVDs on their magic, so as not to expose the "secrets", as well as banning them from teaching non-PEA members. That would be the logical way for them to control this. But the truth is, if magicians want to both publish their material and have it kept secret, there is no way to achieve both goals.
teejay
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Hi John
You certainly are an expert debater.
I am sincerely impressed by your skill but not by your arguments. You are also using a classic NLP technique that Milton Erickson originated(?). When the medical board would tell him to appear before them to have his licence removed for practicing hypnosis,
he would wait patiently for a chance to speak. He would then in his own words 'talk at great length. Going into more and more detail about less and less'.

Using all his analogue and digital language patterns as if his livelihood depended on it (it did!). The board would start slipping into various levels of hypnotic trance and lose all track of the proceedings.

'Don't forget to remember' that Milton initiated all those embedded language patterns to 'forget to remember to forget'.
One of the members of the board, who didn't realise what Milton was doing, years later told Bandler that he used to doze off. He would always wake up as the meeting was adjourned, without reaching a decision because of the lateness of the hour.
Some of the replies here are addressing your arguments about the issue instead of the issue itself.

Enough for now Smile
ESP Guy
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Quote:
I'm only an amateur, of course, not making my living from this. Perhaps the PEA should ban its members from publishing books or DVDs on their magic, so as not to expose the "secrets", as well as banning them from teaching non-PEA members.


Ah! There's the problem. People who aren't full-time workers don't appreciate the damage that is done by these programs. Any type of exposure belittles what we do and suggests that what we do is tricks. Terms like 'mentalist' and 'psychic entertainer' now equal 'trickster'. Or 'juggler'. When Ian exposes a cup of coffee as a shiner, he is suggesting that other things could be used as shiners. When he exposes envelope switching, he is suggesting that other items could be switched; billets, cards, predictions.

As a worker, I've had people come up to me after the show saying that they had seen these specials and were looking for these techniques. Just the fact that they were looking for these techniques had destroyed ANY sense of wonder, mystery, or astonishment.

Also, many folks in the PEA DO limit their products to PEA-members only. Many times it seems the only way to go.

Thom
John Clarkson
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Quote:
On 2003-10-21 04:29, teejay wrote:
Hi John
You certainly are an expert debater
I am sincerely impressed by your skill but not by your arguments
I did not make an argument. I raised an analogy and a few questions. If you are unimpressed with them, then it should be easy for you to show why they are unimpressive. If they are weak, you should be able to dispose of them readily. Instead, you spend your entire post criticizing (analyzing?) style. I wonder why...

Quote:
You are also using a classic NLP technique that Milton Erickson originated(?). ... He would .... 'talk at great length. Going into more and more detail about less and less' Using all his analogue and digital language patterns ...
Then, please, teejay, address the "less and less." It should be easy, don't you think?

Quote:
Some of the replies here are addressing your arguments about the issue instead of the issue itself
Actually, teejay, yours is the only one to do that. Let me see if I've got this straight. You believe I've cast some sort of Ericksonian spell over you that prevents you from addressing issues, so you spend your entire post discussing my style. Instead of musing about my style (to use the terminology you seem to understand):
    Pull your digit out of your analog and address the issues.

Quote:
Enough for now Smile
I quite agree! I would be interested, however, in hearing a thought or two about my analogy or the issues. I listed two or three or four in previous posts. Address the analogy or pick an issue, any issue. Or, feel free to raise any other issue you think is relevant to clarifying some ethic regarding exposure (leaving aside style and personalities).

Here again is a list of some questions I have raised:
    1. How do we define a secret or secret method used by legitimate performers?
    2. Are we obliged only to keep secret the methods used exclusively by magicians and mentalists, or must we also refuse to divulge information and methods that are used by magicians but are common to others?
    3. Are there circumstances which justify revealing these secrets or methods?
    4. What is the appropriate reaction to someone we believe has engaged in unaccepatable exposure?
    5. Any other issue that would explain ZERO tolerance.


:nose:
John D. Clarkson, S.O.B. (Sacred Omphaloskeptic Brotherhood)
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"There is nothing more important to a magician than keeping secrets. Probably because so many of them are Gay."
—Peggy, from King of the Hill (Sleight of Hank)
shrink
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John: Erickson was an expert are boring the ass of people to the point where they couldn't hold their attention externally. I think that's what Teejay was saying. (I prefer simplicity).

As for your other questions I (and this is my opinion).

Exposure programs should not be made by other magicians or mentalists in general. Especially if they are:

1)Exposing techniques being used by other magicians/mentalists.

2)Exposing the fact that mentalists in general use magicians techniques to the point where there is no wonder left in performance mentalism.

We are not talking about psychic healing or any frauds that may be happening.
Its that simple. What has happened is that a number of magicians have had the opportunity to make some good cash out of creating an exposure programme. But in the process they are taking money from those who earn their living this way. Or pleasure from those who perform as a passion.

Going back to religeon just for one moment. Is their any scientific proof to back up the claims and stories of certain religeons? And if not should we expose them as being examples of mass mind control?
John Clarkson
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Quote:
On 2003-10-21 12:11, shrink wrote:
John: Erickson was an expert are boring the ass of people to the point where they couldn't hold their attention externally. I think that's what Teejay was saying. (I prefer simplicity).
I got that, shrink. Still no reason for someone to tuck tail and run from the issues. If the issues are that banal and boring, I wonder why the persistent vendetta against certain individuals who have, in the opinion of some, violated some ill-defined code of conduct. Seems like the boredom would be consistent.

Quote:
As for your other questions I (and this is my opinion).

Exposure programs should not be made by other magicians or mentalists in general.
The term "exposure programs" assumes we all mean the same thing by "exposure". Clearly, we don't. That's why I think a discussion of the issue is important.

Quote:
Especially if they are:

1)Exposing techniques being used by other magicians/mentalists.

2)Exposing the fact that mentalists in general use magicians techniques to the point where there is no wonder left in performance mentalism.

We are not talking about psychic healing or any frauds that may be happening.
Its that simple. What has happened is that a number of magicians have had the opportunity to make some good cash out of creating an exposure programme. But in the process they are taking money from those who earn their living this way. Or pleasure from those who perform as a passion.
I think we probably agree in general principle, shrink. The difficulty, as usual, is in the details.

Quote:
Going back to religeon just for one moment. Is their any scientific proof to back up the claims and stories of certain religeons? And if not should we expose them as being examples of mass mind control?
Discussing that issue may violate the Café's rules. I don't really care if a religion has any basis in fact. The question is whether it is disrespectful or even acceptable to take a person's sincere belief (whether it is rational or not) and manipulate it by deception for profit or personal satisfaction. I think mentalism can be performed without doing that and that discussion can help us think about how.

:nose:

P.S. Excluding this one, I managed to respond to you in a dozen sentences (to your thirteen)--- surely brief enough to accommodate nearly anyone's attention span! Smile
John D. Clarkson, S.O.B. (Sacred Omphaloskeptic Brotherhood)
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"There is nothing more important to a magician than keeping secrets. Probably because so many of them are Gay."
—Peggy, from King of the Hill (Sleight of Hank)
brownbomber
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Hi John,

I've attempted to provide some answers to the very valid questions you raise, I hope that the debate will continue to focus on the issues.

>>1. How do we define a secret or secret method used by legitimate performers?

We define it by the context in which it is used, just as a piece of music, a work of art, or prose. There's nothing particularly complicated about this in other mediums, there needn't be for the performance of mentalists and magicians either.

>>2. Are we obliged only to keep secret the methods used exclusively by magicians and mentalists, or must we also refuse to divulge information and methods that are used by magicians but are common to others?

I'm not sure I understand what you're referring to here - perhaps furnish some examples?

>>3. Are there circumstances which justify revealing these secrets or methods?

Of course, but more relevant and obvious are circumstances like the TV series we're discussing where they do NOT justify exposure. This is a simple tacky cash-in by some mercenary, or to put more kindly, misguided magicians and mentalists.

>>4. What is the appropriate reaction to someone we believe has engaged in unaccepatable exposure?

This is a personal issue, or one for the appropriate organisations to decide. As with all forms of justice, everything should be judged on a case-by-case basis. I, for one, know that I will no longer purchase books or effects by those involved in this particular series.

>>5. Any other issue that would explain ZERO tolerance.

See above: I believe there will rarely be black and white cases in such an area, however, I hope most of us are in agreement that the series we're discussing is (a) very poor hackneyed television, (b) blatant exposure of working mentalists' and psychic entertainers' methods and (c) a crude way for Channel 5 to cash in on C4's success with programmes such as Mind Control and David Blaine.

Would be interested in hearing others' opinions.

Ian, I'd respectfully refer you to Shrink's considered response to the firewalking phenomenon - 'physics' indeed. The programme almost gleefully reported how those poor believers were allowed to burn themselves - I found it very offensive. My father used to love spoiling films for me - 'it's only a piece of celluloid, you know'. As so much in life, firewalking is an example of process as metaphor - an essential component of our lives as human beings.

BB Smile
Scott F. Guinn
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Quote:
On 2003-10-13 19:48, shrink wrote:
Geller never does any effects on tv now and is much less respected or popular than he was before. He has just about zero credibilty these days at least in the UK. No one that I know of takes him seriously.


I'm not convinced that's a bad thing. Geller never billed himself as a psychic "entertainer" but as a real psychic who actually had special powers others didn't and who could reveal things to you. He was more like a bogus "faith-healer" televangelist than a mentalist.

I see nothing wrong, in this case, of exposing such people in the tradition of Houdini, who exposed Spiritualists--frauds who were bilking good people out of there money in exchange for false hope and lies.

I know there are those here who disagree with me on this, but I feel it is completely unethical, even criminal, to actually claim real powers when you are using simple tricks and techniques of magic and mentalism. Having done so, you have crossed the line from "entertainer" and moved to "fraud" "charlatan" "con man" and "crook."
"Love God, laugh more, spend more time with the ones you love, play with children, do good to those in need, and eat more ice cream. There is more to life than magic tricks." - Scott F. Guinn
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BonzoTheClown
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Quote:
I feel it is completely unethical, even criminal, to actually claim real powers when you are using simple tricks and techniques of magic and mentalism. Having done so, you have crossed the line from "enetrtainer" and moved to "fraud" "charlatan" "con man" and "crook."


Does this extend to catholic priests who solidify blood in little tubes? Or priests who through their blessing can effect transubstantiation. Personally I would no more ridicule this than spiritualists that have their own rituals or beliefs.

Marc Climens
John Clarkson
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Quote:
On 2003-10-21 21:53, BonzoTheClown wrote:
Quote:
Scott Guinn: I feel it is completely unethical, even criminal, to actually claim real powers when you are using simple tricks and techniques of magic and mentalism. Having done so, you have crossed the line from "enetrtainer" and moved to "fraud" "charlatan" "con man" and "crook."


BonzoTheClown: Does this extend to catholic priests who solidify blood in little tubes?? Or priests who through their blessing can effect transubstantiation. Personally I would no more ridicule this than spiritualists that have their own rituals or beliefs.

Marc Climens
Marc, no one has suggested that beliefs be ridiculed. In fact, the discussion centers on how to avoid that. If people believe in the paranormal, it may be a type of contemptuous disrespect or patronizing ridicule to simulate paranormal feats for them while pawning off the trickery as real.

Although I've seen no convincing evidence of it (and a belief in it is not a prerequisite to performing mentalism), perhaps there are people who can bend metal with the sheer power of their minds. I doubt that these people, however, would be here in a forum for magicians. Moreover, since they are doing "the real thing," they have nothing to fear from exposure shows; in their case, there would be nothing to expose.

:nose:

*********************************

Quote:
On 2003-10-21 19:22, brownbomber wrote:
Hi John,

I've attempted to provide some answers to the very valid questions you raise, I hope that the debate will continue to focus on the issues.
...
Hi, BB!

Good to hear from you. Yes, I hope the discussion will continue to focus on issues, as it has finally begun to do.

I want to address some of your comments, and will do so later. Let me, though, give others some breathing room and a chance to chime in. Also, I'd like to think a bit about your statements before I comment; they deserve studied consideration.

Regards,

John

:nose:
John D. Clarkson, S.O.B. (Sacred Omphaloskeptic Brotherhood)
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"There is nothing more important to a magician than keeping secrets. Probably because so many of them are Gay."
—Peggy, from King of the Hill (Sleight of Hank)
BonzoTheClown
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Quote:
Marc, no one has suggested that beliefs be ridiculed. In fact, the discussion centers on how to avoid that. If people believe in the paranormal, it may be a type of contemptuous disrespect or patronizing ridicule to simulate paranormal feats for them while pawning off the trickery as real.


This is why I gave an example in the Christian context. Are these examples I have given indicative of con artists or fraudsters? Why would this not be unethical but unethical for a spiritualist which was what Scott seemed to imply?

You see most of us at the Café live in a country which has been predominantly been formed on Christianity. Now before anyone jumps or clutches their chest I am not saying this is a bad thing, but it can narrow or shape our views and remove objectivity as it can do in countries shaped by other religions. It was not until pretty recently that religions, other than those which were monotheistic and took part in organized worship, were accepted legally as religions because of inherent bias.

Marc Climens
Scott F. Guinn
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If you read my entire post above, you will see that I do mention the bogus faith-healer televangelists. Can't remember the name at the moment, but there was one a number of years ago who was caught using a small earpiece through which was transmitted information about specific people in the audience from cards they had filled out earlier with prayer requests for healing. This situation was shown in the Chevy Chase movie "Fletch," but it was based on fact from an actual incident.

Now I am a Christian, and I do believe that God can supernaturally heal people. However, this guy was clearly a fake, claiming supernatural powers and knowledge he did not have, using simple trickery, and bilking honest, needy, well-meaning people out of their money. And guess what? he went to jail, as he should have.

So I do not believe it matters what the "arena" is. One is a "Jesus" con man, while another (claiming actual powers when using simple tricks) is a "secular" con man. Whether the people believe or not isn't the issue. The issue is whether the guy is TRYING to MAKE them believe he has actual powers--to place their faith in those powers--when in fact he doesn't. They are no different than the con men who take the life savings of little old ladies for a a supposed "sure-thing" investment opportunity, when they are really just knowingly taking their money and skipping town. Whether the little old lady believes the guy is honest and an actual investor only dictates if she personally loses the money. It's still fraud, either attempted or perpetrated.

I wouldn't want Frank Abegnale, the con man made famous from Leo DeCaprio's portrayal in the movie "Catch Me if You Can" operating on me as a surgeon, or piloting my plane, etc. Whether I believe he is qualified or not, HE ISN'T! And that is exactly my point.

So what is the difference between people like this and priests, etc? The "Psychic" who is using billet switches, center tears, "psychic surgery," impression devices, nail writers--whatever magic and mentalism techniques he uses--KNOWS that he is NOT really psychic. He doesn't even believe it himself. he is acting. The devout priest, whether Catholic, Buddhist, whatever (and however misguided) actually BELIEVES in what he is doing (except for the knowingly fraudulent like the televangelist I mentioned earlier). He is not using magic tricks or techniques that he knows are entirely physical and natural and claiming they are supernatural. THAT is the underlying difference. One is a fraud who knowingly and willfully perpetrates deception to part people from their money to line his own pocket. The other believes he has found the true path and is trying to lead others to it.
"Love God, laugh more, spend more time with the ones you love, play with children, do good to those in need, and eat more ice cream. There is more to life than magic tricks." - Scott F. Guinn
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Xiqual
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Hi Tony,
Don't you think you should define exposure?

Many PEA members have books that teach/expose
methods.

I feel saying "zero tolerence" is really broad.
Thank you,
James



Quote:
On 2003-10-19 23:28, Trinity wrote:
The PEA's official stance on exposure is zero tolerance. ZERO tolerance. Any
action by a member that violates that policy is cause for expulsion from the
PEA. Best regards,
Tony Razzano,
Vice President, PEA
Still with the Chinese circus Smile
pxs
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The key seems to me to be the elements of (a) actual deception AND (b) intention to deceive

A magician does not "actually" deceive because it is clear (or implied) that he is "just" performing tricks

A priest may or may not "acutally" deceive (this depends on one's stance as to the truth or otherwise of their faith). But a priest does not "intend" to deceive anyone: he or she (usually) believes in the truth of what is preached

A fake psychic, however, both actually deceives and intends to deceive. Such a person can justifiably be criticised and their falsity proved
teejay
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John
First let me say that I am a great admirer of Milton Erickson (particularly that anecdote), good discussion AND your highly articulate and well mannered postings in this matter.

If my post came across as being criticism rather than discussion I apologise. The issue you ask for seems to me to be clear. The name of the programme was
Secrets of the Psychics Revealed. The issue imho was a lot of friends, former customers and associates of the people involved feel that their confidences have been betrayed for MONEY.

If people feel betrayed they feel betrayed.
Anybody 'explaining' how they are 'wrong' to feel betrayed is ...? This is not a trifling discussion of whether some effect is good, bad or garbage, but this is an emotional issue with some people.
I'm quite sure it is being discussed elsewhere with more force. Smile
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The 'fraudulent psychic' really is so rare that there really isn't any need for exposure of psychics.

Tricks and devices maybe used for ritualistic purposes. They have for a few thousand years and still are by main stream religion. Imagine I was to go around as faith healer and faked a number of healings. Now let's say through the power of belief in me one or two people were healed. Would my use of a trick be justified to garner enough belief to effect a healing? Or would it be justified if it enhanced the spiritual experience (e.g. glass vial filling up with blood that sort of thing) or convinced an intinerant rogue to 'get religion' and change his ways?

Btw. Popov the earpiece guy you mentioned before - his exposure did little, he is still preaching and collecting money. Showing how to bend spoons and move a compass, switches, misdirection etc. does not protect people. It is questionable even if methods employed by the very few bogus con artist psychics people so often quote (they just have a high profile in the media because it makes for an interesting story) are exposed it'd make a difference. Few readers and psychics want to take your life savings. It is like people are afraid of this unknown thing out there - lock your doors, argh the fake psychic is going to rip off grandma!! The exposure of these things on TV is just exposure nothing more. If a somebody is acting fraudulently call the authorities, but don't make a TV show exposing techniques used by mentalists and psychic entertainers - pretty much exclusively.

Marc Climens
John Clarkson
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Quote:
On 2003-10-22 08:26, BonzoTheClown wrote:
The 'fraudulent psychic' really is so rare that there really isn't any need for exposure of psychics.

... It is questionable even if methods employed by the very few bogus con artist psychics people ... are exposed it'd make a difference. Few readers and psychics want to take your life savings. ... If a somebody is acting fraudulently call the authorities, but don't make a TV show exposing techniques used by mentalists and psychic entertainers - pretty much exclusively.

Marc Climens
It seems we may have an additional issue, then: are these exposure programs ineffective or harmful? Marc, you seem to be arguing both sides of that issue simultaneously!

We still haven't talked much about the fundamental issue of what "exposure" is, but we keep talking about it as though we all agreed what it means. For instance, I don't see that revealing the physics of firewalking has anything to do with magic or mentalism. Therefore, I would not not put it in the category of proscribed "exposure." Others seem to disagree.

I think the issue of whether exposure is effective or harmless is something we can only discuss fruitfully after we come to some agreement about what constitutes unacceptable exposure. Or, if we can't reach agreement, at least we can reach some clarity of the various definitions.

Smile
John D. Clarkson, S.O.B. (Sacred Omphaloskeptic Brotherhood)
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"There is nothing more important to a magician than keeping secrets. Probably because so many of them are Gay."
—Peggy, from King of the Hill (Sleight of Hank)
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