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bobser
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I hear what you're saying Astrych, but are you talking about the DB that's on TV? Because if so I'm with you. I trust DB, Magnum, Columbo, and Kermit far more than....
and suddenly I have to stop and think. Then I realise I don't know all those psychics and diviners, nor any of those TV people. By the way.... Derren Brown is a TV person. We know him just about as well as we knew Jimmy Saville. He is always switched ON. Parodying himself constantly like a professional TV person does.
Bob Burns is the creator of The Swan.
garett
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I really appreciate this debate. I don't usually like "self help" style programs. I can't stomach guys like Dr. Phil. I enjoyed Derren's shows, though, like Hero and Apocalypse, mostly because I took the attitude that he's a "magician." It didn't really occur to me that people might think otherwise, and believe that he is single-handedly transforming peoples' lives with "his powers." As someone else pointed out, the whole Romyudin thing was "Your Mind" ... so the onus of responsibility was placed on the participants, not Derren. Then Beesharp pointed out that Derren never bothered to explain what the limits of placebo and "positive thinking" are, and there's the ever present danger that someone could try to think themselves out of cancer etc. Which of course is the skeptic's standard response to "Well, if 'faith healing' can help some people feel better then where's the harm?"

It's definitely food for thought.

Being a huge, massive Derren fan-boy, he ultimately inspired me to get into MAGIC (emphassis on "magic" as opposed to "mentalism") as an adult. The one thing that has always made me uncomfortable is crediting applied psychology with things that psychology cannot explain or accomplish. He walks a fine line there. The video that Astrych linked to seems to be one of Derren's ways of dealing with that, by saying "I prefer magician because then you know to take this always with a grain of salt." And his book "Tricks of the Mind" explained a lot as well to the lay public. But if I were Derren, the thought of one single person wasting their hard earned cash on a book about NLP would have had me going on a public crusade AGAINST NLP in order to clear my name. But it's just me. I'm a still a big fan of his.
Astrych
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Yes, I agree with you Bobser. First of all Derren Brown is an entertainer and TV person. Iain said that DB takes credit for all of that changes but in reality there is a big team behind the scenes. Yes it's true (and DB mentions that there are real specialists involved in the process) but still, for me this is much more acceptable and ethical than for example what a lot of tarot readers do with no real knowledge needed to help others.

What I am worried about is that a lot of people do not understand that DB is an entertainer and a magician. For example this one:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=INxwzpCHjOY

It's strange because DB repeats very often these two statements:
"This show uses magic, suggestion, psychology, misdirection and showmanship" and "I am honest about my dishonesty".
Vanitas
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The first episode of Fear and faith was very good, but I really want to see next one: trailer was brilliant. One more thing I want to say about first episode; I thought Derren use more hypnosis.
mindguru
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The second episode wasn't as controversial as I had expected. In my opinion part one was better than part two. I expected part two to be good and controversial. what I got was interesting and lacking.
Slim King
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Quote:
On 2012-11-14 07:28, IAIN wrote:
I can't watch them...i'm experiencing an internal conflict with his more recent tv shows... he's been VERY vocal about about nasty evil tarot readers, talking about all that they do is scamming people, how person x is cheating you, how person z is only doing it for the money and has no official training/qualifications in what they are doing...and yet...

the shows are being shown under the derren brown, the mentalist, the magician, the anti-woo, critical thinking skeptic...yet, there he is (he and he alone) is going about enabling people to change their lives via his gifts/knack/abilities...because he is derren brown, and no one else can do this apart from him...

I find it strange... that, all of derren's anti-this, and they are scamming you-thats, he too is gently scamming the public...

but wait I hear you say, he's helping people change their lives for the better, surely you can't be against that? and no, no I'm not...what I am against is the double standards..."its ok if I DO IT, because I'M not scamming anyone, I'M not lying, and don't ask me about my qualifications!".

behind the scenes, we have groups of therapists, hypnotherapists, counsellors, psychologists, every care is given...great, well done... however, the delivery is that its about derren doing all of this, and he's not...he's scamming you for the sake of an entertaining show...i know he's a lovely man, extremely talented, one of the best mentalists of all time, and will forever be seen as so - I just think, this is inauthentic of him...he wants to help others, he wants to make a difference to people's lives, that is noble, lovely and wonderful of him to want to do this...

to use the usual arguments against him for a moment, why doesn't he train to be a therapist? why doesn't he just give those people the care/treatment/experiences regardless, and not make a tv show out of people's short-comings?

I feel very conflicted, and as I say, as entertaining as his shows can be, wooly-self-help, feel-good experiences? pseudo-scientific theory being used to deliver something to potentially 'heal' people? isn't that what he's rallied against for years? I am reminded of the line in one of the banachek books (i think on CMR) that soon enough, if you're not careful, you start believing in what you're doing is real...

I am not against metaphorical healing, life changing experiences, nor the urge to enable people to transform themselves into a brighter and stronger version of themselves...what I find problematic, is that after years of being told by derren and those that mimic him (sorry, but there's plenty that have) - that anything like this is wrong, immoral, unethical and whatever else...its the double-standards of it all that irk me...what next? Derren's little ginger book of self-helping whimsy?

don't want to sound harsh or heavy about it, as the vast majority of us love derren on many levels, and in all interviews he has been nothing other than eloquent, funny and charming..its just THIS IS REALLY ANNOYING ME!

sorry...
so he sold out then ....
THE MAN THE SKEPTICS REFUSE TO TEST FOR ONE MILLION DOLLARS.. The Worlds Foremost Authority on Houdini's Life after Death.....
Slim King
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And please don't think I always mean that in a bad way. Many of us will succumb Smile
THE MAN THE SKEPTICS REFUSE TO TEST FOR ONE MILLION DOLLARS.. The Worlds Foremost Authority on Houdini's Life after Death.....
mindshrink
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EVERY THING IS RELATIVE,CHANGE IS INEVITABLE....just my two paisa Eatern philosophy.
Derren is reinventing himself both as an entertainer and maybe also 'growing' personally/spiritually.
As an iconoclast myself I am able to understand the way he is probably thinking.
Vanitas
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I watched Episode 2 of Fear and Faith yesterday and I am really disappointed. Maybe it's just my delusion, but I find it a bit pointless, incoherent (there wasn't too much commons with first Episode) and the end was... well I think "incomplete" is the right word.
kal
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I just stumbled on this and have to say it seems to a common mistake creating a disagreement, notably from Iain (and possibly Bobser who seems more at odds with Derren himself), that happens when comparing magicians to 'charlatans'.
"Are we not lying, etc etc. Double standards ad nauseum"

The simple fact is that Derren can be seen as parallel to 'woo' merchants and therefore be viewed as hypocritical or superficial. And on that level it works; the superficial level.

When you look at the true import of something, it's motive, then you see a wide differenation. Derren Brown is motivated to create this show expressly to help people. He could just as easily have ridden the 'mentalist doing stunts' formula ,for far more money and personal glory, than these elaborate plans to help one individual and, by watching, the audience at large have done.

Palm readers, psychics, charlatans and frauds are motivated by greed and money. Their brand of self-help is to help themselves. Both sides may lie, deceive or leverage their image, but one has a genuine desire to improve your life, the other is only out to make their own better, regardless of the impact it has on you.

Is there a more ethical honest way? Sure. For a magician? Maybe not. No matter what he does from now on his past will always reflect on Derren. Why not be a therapist? Because not everyone can do that, or WANTS to. Because maybe changing one life isn't the best use of your resources when you can entertain millions and possibly affect the way a million people think about their lives and the world.

No one's pefect and I refuse to defend Derren, as many are expected to, as some flawless idol. However, he clearly wants to help people, if all the fakes and phonies and woo-merchants out their were the same we wouldn't have half the complaints against them as we do.
I'm always honest about when I'm lying. And I'm always lying...
lane99
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No, Derren Brown's motivation is not to help "people". His motivation is to help himself. Just as with the charlatans and frauds.

As for palm readers and psychics, unless you're one of them, it's rather presumptuous to claim insight into their motivations.
stefo
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He is an entertainer! If what he does is bad, Channel 4 would fire him. Public wouldn't like him. He wouldn't be able to sell out his shows.
Everything he does on TV is carefully planned by some great minds and I think these minds(Richard Wiseman, Andy Nyman, etc) do more work than Derren, but that's another topic.

lane99 you say it's "rather presumptuous to claim insight into their motivations", yet you do the same when it comes to Derren Brown.

Whatever DB does, it entertains the crowd, nobody's hurt and that's it! If we're gonna go into motivation of an entertainer, then motives of the entire Café would be questionable.

I can't believe this turned into such a fuss. We can't look at what an entertainer gets, but rather what an audience gets from the experience, be it people watching/participating live or over TV.
Shrubsole
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Quote:
On 2012-11-15 05:19, quicknotist wrote:
Personal Development. That's where the money is.


That's why I'm skint! I never developed personally.

:lol:
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kal
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Quote:
On 2013-04-24 13:02, lane99 wrote:
No, Derren Brown's motivation is not to help "people". His motivation is to help himself. Just as with the charlatans and frauds.

As for palm readers and psychics, unless you're one of them, it's rather presumptuous to claim insight into their motivations.


How is it possibly presumptuous?

"I have an amazing ability to change your life....give me money first"

Not much wiggle room there.

With Derren however, if he wanted to he could just make shows where he doesn't help people, yet he decides to make shows with a positive spin on making others lives better. Again, the motivation is clearly evident. By making the choice you show the kind of person you are. Charlatans want money, they choose to help others only for their money. Derren Brown is choosing to help others because he can, and possibly because he cares and wants to give back.
I'm always honest about when I'm lying. And I'm always lying...
Jerome Finley
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Quote:
On 2012-11-14 07:28, IAIN wrote:
I can't watch them...i'm experiencing an internal conflict with his more recent tv shows... he's been VERY vocal about about nasty evil tarot readers, talking about all that they do is scamming people, how person x is cheating you, how person z is only doing it for the money and has no official training/qualifications in what they are doing...and yet...

the shows are being shown under the derren brown, the mentalist, the magician, the anti-woo, critical thinking skeptic...yet, there he is (he and he alone) is going about enabling people to change their lives via his gifts/knack/abilities...because he is derren brown, and no one else can do this apart from him...

I find it strange... that, all of derren's anti-this, and they are scamming you-thats, he too is gently scamming the public...

but wait I hear you say, he's helping people change their lives for the better, surely you can't be against that? and no, no I'm not...what I am against is the double standards..."its ok if I DO IT, because I'M not scamming anyone, I'M not lying, and don't ask me about my qualifications!".

behind the scenes, we have groups of therapists, hypnotherapists, counsellors, psychologists, every care is given...great, well done... however, the delivery is that its about derren doing all of this, and he's not...he's scamming you for the sake of an entertaining show...i know he's a lovely man, extremely talented, one of the best mentalists of all time, and will forever be seen as so - I just think, this is inauthentic of him...he wants to help others, he wants to make a difference to people's lives, that is noble, lovely and wonderful of him to want to do this...

to use the usual arguments against him for a moment, why doesn't he train to be a therapist? why doesn't he just give those people the care/treatment/experiences regardless, and not make a tv show out of people's short-comings?

I feel very conflicted, and as I say, as entertaining as his shows can be, wooly-self-help, feel-good experiences? pseudo-scientific theory being used to deliver something to potentially 'heal' people? isn't that what he's rallied against for years? I am reminded of the line in one of the banachek books (i think on CMR) that soon enough, if you're not careful, you start believing in what you're doing is real...

I am not against metaphorical healing, life changing experiences, nor the urge to enable people to transform themselves into a brighter and stronger version of themselves...what I find problematic, is that after years of being told by derren and those that mimic him (sorry, but there's plenty that have) - that anything like this is wrong, immoral, unethical and whatever else...its the double-standards of it all that irk me...what next? Derren's little ginger book of self-helping whimsy?

don't want to sound harsh or heavy about it, as the vast majority of us love derren on many levels, and in all interviews he has been nothing other than eloquent, funny and charming..its just THIS IS REALLY ANNOYING ME!

sorry...


!
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Slartibartfaust
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Quote:
On 2013-04-26 15:57, Shrubsole wrote:
Quote:
On 2012-11-15 05:19, quicknotist wrote:
Personal Development. That's where the money is.


That's why I'm skint! I never developed personally.

:lol:



Thank you sir
I LOVED THAT
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Jerome Finley
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Quote:
On 2013-04-27 17:40, kal wrote:
Quote:
On 2013-04-24 13:02, lane99 wrote:
No, Derren Brown's motivation is not to help "people". His motivation is to help himself. Just as with the charlatans and frauds.

As for palm readers and psychics, unless you're one of them, it's rather presumptuous to claim insight into their motivations.


How is it possibly presumptuous?

"I have an amazing ability to change your life....give me money first"

Not much wiggle room there.

With Derren however, if he wanted to he could just make shows where he doesn't help people, yet he decides to make shows with a positive spin on making others lives better. Again, the motivation is clearly evident. By making the choice you show the kind of person you are. Charlatans want money, they choose to help others only for their money. Derren Brown is choosing to help others because he can, and possibly because he cares and wants to give back.


Your statement here appears to be falling very short of the mark *OR* purposefully "hanging out* on the far ends of the Derren spectrum...which is it?

Ummm...D.B. and his crew have produced plenty of television shows, logged several hundred public and private performances (and mighty successful ones at that!) which *ABSOLUTELY DID NOT HELP* anyone but those involved; mutual investors, creative and sponsoring talents included.

Let's also not forget the days when Derren claimed that what he did was real, authentic, genuine (etc) and was *RAMMED HARD* for those very same claims. If you need examples of a double-standard, this is probably it. I suppose it's okay to make certain unfounded claims and fleece the public until you're caught outright and exposed and THEN it becomes "suitable" to back step the mess you've created and head in the opposite direction, no?

I'm not for Derren and I'm not against him. I find the man charming, intelligent and massively talented...I don't think that much is up for debate.

That said, you can't have it both ways (though I admire him for trying).

To end, I'll present something which may or may not work in his own defense and that is, "Whether we are charlatans or not, doesn't mean that we can't be effective." - Gene Nielsen (from an interview made popular by Enrique Enriquez, "Invisible Readings", 2007).

JF.
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Slartibartfaust
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Are we saying if he "helps people" what's the harm?


are you serious????????


first he doesn't let's get that sorted

second it is flim flam of the highest order
he gets a pass becasuse WHY?
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kal
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Why is that any act must be a 100% reflection on a person in order for it to have validity? Everytime people try to talk about a performer, or celebrity, or anyone I feel, they create an ideal that is so far beyond what is possible.
Derren Brown is a magician, he performs shows and has a history. In all those shows has he helped people? No. And suddenly any attempt to do so is not valid or acceptable in it's own right?

This thread directly relates to one particular show and how Derren took aim at the charlatans who try and win people over through homeopathy, or faith healing or out-and-out psychic gifts. In that vein I believe that his motivation on the show separates him from those very people.

He did not set out to make money off of these people. He helped them, as he saw fit, because he wanted to. A fraud/conman/psychic/palm reader has no intent but to get paid. That basic, fundamental difference, is why there is distinction, in my mind, between them despite the fact they both employ similar methods, ideas, strategies and effects.

As for saying 'he helps people what's the harm', then yes. What is the alternative? Would it be better if he never dealt with the subject at all, or if he exposed the magic fraternity and it's methods while trying to be 'honest'? Should he just fake it like the sham-artists and making a buck and to hell with the punter?

Yes, very much so he gets a pass. That's the argument. He gets one because WHY he is doing it compared to others is a little bit more noble. I find it strange that because he's a magician and he's lied and tricked and is continuing to do so that somehow he can have no valid input or affect on a person's life. Certainly not without first giving up magic and only doing it 'straight', as if non-magician's (even of the best intentions) are pure and good and totally above board in everything they do and every decent act they perform (which is the impossible ideal that many seem to be setting here).

But I digress, my original point was simply a response to what makes Derren different than the out-and-out 'psychics' offering 'help'? Motivation pure and simple. He's not doing it for the money, he doesn't have to perhaps some could argue, and that's enough to differentiate him in my mind. Is he going to be pure and good and perfect and honest? No, but why is that a requirement to do something positive?
I'm always honest about when I'm lying. And I'm always lying...
andyfisher
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I believe that Derren is simply dealing with the same double bind that any mentalist who becomes successful enough to have to court the media must face - we must 'lie' in order to frame our art form as something more than 'tricks' and in doing so we are attributed with abilities and insights into the human condition which mean that we will be elevated above others who cannot demonstrate these things.

From there, society is likely to force us into a position where we will be required to take up a moral position on pseudo science, mediumship etc. 'No comment' can only take the performer so far - the media are hungry to know who we are off stage and where we stand in relation to these issues. In my opinion Derren has adopted a really interesting approach - he refuses to make claims for his own abilities - all interviews I have seen when he is asked the origin of his talents sees him steering clear of the path Uri, Lior and others have chosen to walk (again, I make no value judgement on them - they are simply choosing a different and equally interesting way forwards) and has decided instead to reflect on ways in which we are all capable of demonstrating the power of our own minds. By exploring the placebo effect, the power of belief, logical fallacies etc, he is inviting the lay public to think for themselves about the role we all play in our own deception!

Is Derren a self publicist and motivated by success and material gain? Of course and why should he not be - any one who has an issue with this should reflect long and hard about their own motivations. He is an entertainer first and foremost, and an excellent one at that. If he were a singer or an actor, we would not be discussing whether he has 'helped' anyone by his choice of roles or song choices would we? I know that his recent material has moved away from obvious performance and towards inviting his participants to reflect on their own approach to life but don't many of our effects do the same thing? A drawing duplication alludes to the fact that we are not alone in our mental universe but can be reached by others. Metal bending says 'the world is plastic and we can change things at will'. Our effects are narratives - I would argue that Derren's wider frame does much the same thing - it is affirming and gives his viewers pause for thought.

Yes I am in Derren's camp I suppose but I hope that I am not a fanboy or indiscriminate in my support. I do not feel he has done any harm. Has he 'helped' others? He has entertained many, challenged people's paradigms, ignited much debate both within and outside of the magical community and is negotiating the double bind of the mentalist while reinventing himself to remain saleable without selling out. He's certainly helped raise the profile of mentalism in the UK over the last decade but he doesn't owe us anything - reinvention is surely an artist's prerogative?
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