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The Magic Cafe Forum Index Ľ Ľ Right or Wrong? Ľ Ľ Ethics.... (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

The Dead Ranger
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Biloxi, Mississippi
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I wasnít sure where to put this so I picked here. If itís not the proper place, sorry.



I have been reading the forums around the net for a while now and have seen many topics about local brick and mortor magic shops, the internet, streaming video, payment not rendered for watching and rewatching effects online and "back engineering" them, etc., etc., ad nauseum....



Iíd like to make a few thoughts public if I may.



I think the real issue is ethics..... Not many people are "taught" ethical behavior anymore.



Itís not "wrong" to figure an effect out by watching another performer do it... but if heís trying to make a living teaching the effect it certainly is unethical.



Itís not necessary to buy every effect the local magic shop "demonstrator" shows you, but it is certainly unethical to scope him out then buy it (or some other effect seen in the shop) online just to save a couple of bucks.



Itís definitely unethical to "expose" a working magician (even if you just dis him while heís working).



I may be off base here, but why donít more "older" magicans take the "younger" magicians by the hand and help them with more than effects? I think the lack of an ethical community will do infinitely more harm to the art than all the websites, exposers, etc.



Itís just my opinion, I could be wrong.



Again, I ask forgiveness if this is out of place but I felt the need to get that off my chest.
Peter Marucci
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The Dead Ranger writes: "why donít more "older" magicans take the "younger" magicians by the hand and help them with more than effects? "



Well, ití a bit like hitting yourself on the head with a hammer: Eventually, youíre going to learn that you should stop.



Many -- certainly not all -- younger magicians think they know everything already.



Hey, Iíve been in magic for more than 50 years and, if I do it for another 50, I may start -- just start -- to know what Iím doing.



As for ethics, though, itís fairly simple: If you have to stop and ask yourself if itís ethical or not -- then itís not.



cheers,

Peter Marucci
The Dead Ranger
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Biloxi, Mississippi
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Howdy Peter;



I guess Iíll tip my hand here because I have to say that I believe you folks in the

"Great White North" have a better understanding of ethics than most of the folks here "down yonder"....



Also let me clarify that by "younger" and "older" I meant more experienced vs. less experienced (being over 40 myself but a "child" of only 8 months magically).



You say; "If you have to stop and ask yourself if itís ethical or not -- then itís not."



I disagree.... Iíve seen a lot of unethical behavior among folks in shops and on the net, etc. and most of it stems from the fact that they have no idea what ethical behavior is. Granted, most of the "violaters" tend to be:



a) from the U.S. (sorry if it offends anyone but itís been true in my experience)



b) young people (generally under 20)



c) obviously learning on their own from whatever sources they find.



This is not to be taken as a bash on "young folks" either..... I have met some very ethical young magicians. But Iíve also seen touring proís walk into a shop, open an effect under the premise of showing the

guy(s) at the shop something, then spending alot of time reading through the materials only to buy a pack of loops or flash paper before walking out..... What a "pro", huh?



Needless to say... after watching his "performance" in the shop.... I wouldnít watch his "performance" at the venue. Not only do I personally find his behavior in the shop unethical... it was just plain "bad form".



As I said in my original post.... I admit I was ranting a bit, but I felt that it had to be said.



Last but not least, may I add that having participated in a limited way in other forums, I have found this one to be the best on the net. To the moderators.... keep up the good work. To the users..... keep up the great posts. To those who disagree with me.. Itís not my intention to be disagreeable, Iím just old, opinionated, and not shy about speaking my mind.



_________________

Yer Olí Pal - The Dead Ranger
Tom Cutts
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Ranger,



I think you missed the wisdom in the line Peter quoted. Point is, if one has to consider if his actions are ethical or not they probably are not. Now, there are many more unethical actions that people do without thinking.



You are right that kids may have both no idea about ethics nor any role model for same. Get used to this, teenagers in general think they own the world... and the world ainít "Dew-ing" much about it but cashing in.



Unless a pro gets a hold of a kid before say fourteen, he is going to have a rough time figuring out ethics for a decade or two. I was lucky, I had a strict pro at a shop take a liking to me. I respected him and saw the wrath toward those who did not. I learned. I was rewarded with a lot of guidance through the pitfalls of magic shops.



Iím not always great at it, but I know when I blow it.



There is no reason to have to beat ethics into people. If they donít get it, you canít make them. Ethics and respect can only be learned.



You will find long time performers all over the board in terms of their ethical distinctions. Many are still in the pubescent "everything is for the taking" stage.



At every step there are those that are responsible for the lack in ethics. Pointing fingers will solve nothing.



They must learn by your example. It is the only way.



Let me share an example from my day today.

I have with-held the source out of courtesy. Those who know me may ask.



From another board:



New guy: Iíve never had a regimented routine to practicing. recently though my practice levels have dropped off drastically. Iím practicing less now than I have for years so I know I need to change something. Thatís why I would like to know how everybody handles practicing.



I would really appreciate any input into this as I need to change my current ways pronto and I need all the ideas I can get.



(I did edit his post for brevity- tom)



Professional Writer: Iím wondering if by "practicing" you mean working on sleights, moves, etc. as opposed to "rehearsing" in which you perform each trick exactly -- with full script, blocking, movement, costume, etc. -- as you would in performance.

I have met many, many magicians who clearly do practice enough but even more clearly donít rehearse enough. I donít think Iíve ever seen the reverse.



I am not assuming that you are in either of these groups, but if you are dissatisfied with your current regiment, you may wish to try spending more time rehearsing and less time practicing.



New Guy: By "practicing", I mean the whole deal. How long do you spend with the cards? (not performing)

I wanna know peopleís practice routines and habits. Iím not looking for straight advice as such, more an insight into how other people operate.



Tom Cutts Yes. you could make it a lot clearer, so, props to Professional Writer.

As important as total time in contact with a deck, is the break down of rehearsal vs practice vs idle exercise.



I used to spend an hour a day just doing one handed flourishes. It is absurd and very contrary to my performing style, I donít do flashy card stuff for the public. If, however, I told you that hour was commute time and the cards were able to keep me from going bonkers in stop and go traffic, then it might make sense as well as have some bearing.



So, how you spend your six hours is equal if not more important than the volume of time spent.



And if youíve read this far I might as well give you something you can use. Decide on an amount of time YOU will stick to and a schedule you will stick to. Consistency is more important than quantity. You might only find an hour every night. You might find two hours four nights a week. Whatever it is, stick to it!



New Guy: To Professional Writer & Tom:

Please donít take offence to what Iím about to say because the last thing I want is a hostile situation, however, Iím sorry if I bothered you by asking what I thought was a straight forward question about your habits. Obviously, we continually misunderstand each other, I wasnít looking for advice of any form, I donít understand why you feel obliged to give it, maybe I really didnít make myself clear enough. Itís good advice, I feel itís just "off topic" if you like.

Anyway, thanks to the other 2 for their replies. I merely thought that hearing how people prepare, practice, rehearse, discipline, etc. would be interesting. Obviously, nobody wants to play with me.



Tom Cutts

Quote:
Originally posted by New Guy:

I would really appreciate any input into this as I need to change my current ways pronto and I need all the ideas I can get.

I would surmise from the above statement that you were open to advice. First thing you did was reject the first ideas because they were not what you wanted to hear. I wish you had said you just wanted to play before I took time trying to help you.



Howís this: I practice two hours a day. How much advice, help, ideas did you get from that? OK so Iím being bombastic. You canít tell but Iím standing on my desk.



Let me lay it out for you. You need to rethink your approach of practice being something done in volume, rather than focused intent. That is the point I made and I believe what Pete was trying to tell you.



Efficiency in practice, getting the most return on your time, seemed to be your intent in posting. Did you just want people to tell you they practice longer, or they listen to ABBA when practicing, or... OK, not ABBA how about Captain and Toniel (Iím proud I canít spell that).



Learning to effectively and efficiently do something is key to excelling in it. So, do you just want to play or do you want to learn to perform magic?



Your choice, just let us know up front if youíre just playing around. It will make the answers you get more concise.



Iím jumping off my desk now. No harm no foul.



Thud...



Tom Cutts


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



This is what one experiences on a daily basis in magic. The new know-it-alls ask questions wanting only the answers they desire, not the truth.



This is why those of greater experience let the fools be foolish. Until they learn their folly they can not escape their ignorance. Any "teacher" would be wasting their time.



And yes, to a lesser degree I was a fool once upon a time.

Smile



_________________

Tom Cutts

Your Newest Moderator!

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Scott F. Guinn
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If I can paraphrase Tom in a much shorter post: The teacher canít teach until the pupil is ready to learn.
"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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Burt Yaroch
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As the topic of ethics has preoccupied the greatest thinkers of nearly every modern era I hardly think it is fair to call it simple. Nor would it be reasonable to make it the only single line proof of logic (If I am thinking then it is unethical). In fact I would argue that the more ethical persons among us are such precisely because they DO stop to think if their actions are ethical. I donít think it ever becomes an unconscious reflex.



ďAct in such a way that you always treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, never simply as a means, but always at the same time as an end.Ē -Immanuel Kant



Ethics...hard.



But is it up to the pros to teach ethics to our younger magicians?



Iíve already touched on this subject with Tom and Scott on another post and I do understand their frustrations with refractory students, echoed in Peters comments. I really do. (Especially if this happens on a daily basis. It must be aggravating as heck.) Quite obviously if so many pros have this problem it is real and not percieved. And I will conceed (and there was much rejoicing) Smile that the pros do not have a responsibility, ethical or otherwise, to educate these upstarts. However (Doah!), responsibilities aside, I donít know if that should stop one from making an attempt.



To avoid stepping off a cliff once again, Iíll dispassionately answer my question with a quote from Steve Brooks:



"Can we change the attitudes and personalities of others? We can try and hope for the best."



Now thatís simple. Smile
Yakworld.
Peter Marucci
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Dead Ranger makes an interesting (and probably true) point, in saying that a lot of people simply donít know what ethical behavior is.

Some time back, in my Showtime column in the Linking Ring, I did a routine about the Three Little Pigs. A reader liked it and worked on it for some time, adding gags, bits, and patter -- which is good, because thatís why I write the stuff.

At a magic convention, another attendee asked the first man if he could use the routine. The performer said all he (the second man) needed to do was look it up in the Linking Ring.

But the second guy wanted all the first guyís gags and patter. Which was NEVER published and the first guy, justifiably, refused.

SO. . . the second guy simply followed the performer around with a small tape recorder and eventually taped his entire routine -- and later proceeded to use it.

Now, I doubt that there is any way that anyone could persuade the second guy that his taping of someone elseís routine was unethical; he just wouldnít get it.

And so it is with a lot of people today. These are the children of the parents of the permissive society; weíll probably have to wait another 20 years until the "backlash" generation kicks in.

And by then, Iíll be too old to care! Smile

cheers,

Peter Marucci
Scott F. Guinn
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I think all we can do is take responsibility for ourselves--to be the kind of people we know we should be, to treat others as we want to be treated, to apologize when we offend, to admit when we are wrong, to give when we are asked, and to lead by example. Then, if someone asks for advice, we can give it--but we can't make them follow it! In the end, we are each responsible for our own actions.
"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
My Lybrary Page
Peter Marucci
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We are each, indeed, responsible for our own actions, Scott.

But thatís a hard sell today, where everybody blames somebody else for everything.

(i.e. "My mother made me a serial killer. And sheíll make you one, too, if you buy the wool.")

However, as long as there are a few who keep the flame of responsibility burning, there is still hope.

cheers,

Peter Marucci
Tom Cutts
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YakandJak,



If you have to ask yourself if you just ran through a red light, you probaly did. At the very least you did something you know now was risky if not outright wrong.



Ethics are that red light.
Burt Yaroch
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Smile

Smile

Smile



Nice anology Tom (keep it simple for me).



I see where youíre coming from now and I totally agree. If you are reflecting upon a PAST action, questioning its ethics, you probably already know the answer.

(But would an unethical person even ask?)

Smile



I was thinking more along the lines of a future action I have yet to perform. Then the answer to ones conscientious pause may not be so predetermined.



You have wisdom beyond your years Sir. (Unless youíre like 105 and then youíre just old.) Smile



(And if I just offended any 105 year old Cafe members I would like to retract my previous statement, issue a formal apology, and ask you how you learned to use a computer.)
Yakworld.
Masimax
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Yesterday I saw a tv show where a magician performed some big illusions and then explain them.



I think that is not ethical.



Itís better to do a show than to do a public

explanation of magic secrets.



What is your opinion on this kind of performance?



And if someone asked you to do the same, what would you do?



Massimo
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