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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » Should we boycott Derren Brown? (30 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Martin Pulman
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In recent years certain Café voices have been demanding that psychic reading, tarot, mediumship, spiritualism etc be recognised as forms of mentalism. If this is true, it places us in a rather awkward position.

When I first became interested in mentalism and magic, over 30 years ago, it was understood that the one inviolable rule of our art form was that you did not expose effects or the techniques of other performers. Anyone so doing would be ostracised by the community and their products would most likely be boycotted. One only has to see the reaction to Brian Brushwood's exposing of the ID to see the strong reactions still generated by those indulging in exposure.

And yet-if "psychic" readings etc ARE legitimate branches of mentalism, then some of our biggest names have been-and still are- exposers. From Dunninger exposing fake mediums, to Banachek helping to expose fake psychics of all shapes and forms to Andy Nyman and Derren Brown's TV shows exposing readers, mediums, faith healers etc- our biggest names have been active in revealing the tricks and techniques used by people some here claim are mentalists.

So the question is really very simple and will hopefully put this to bed once and for all.

Are Café members accusing Derren Brown, Andy Nyman, Banachek etc of being exposers?
IAIN
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I think the distinction should be made between entertainment and marketing yourself as real; in the sense that what you are doing is not for entertainment...they are entirely different...sometimes, people with no experience of the former, mix it up with the later...

i think though, that all those things you list Martin, readings, tarot, mediumship and spiritualism ARE linked in with some performance styles of mentalism, and have been for many, many years... and are still used today...

so let's say none of the above are used in mentalism, and its just focused on (for example) ESP...and we give realistic performances of ESP ability far beyond what is seen as the norm...how do you feel about that? do you feel that gives people a warped view of what ESP is? does it encourage a false belief in ESP?

any person, no matter what their job, if they act dishonestly and try to scam someone, I am absolutely 100% against it...and I think those who think that they might be helping to truly take a step back and examine what and WHY they do the things that they do, because they may NOT be helping, however much they genuinely want to...

your question - "Are Café members accusing Derren Brown, Andy Nyman, Banachek etc of being exposers? "

my answer is no...though some have exposed methods...and a couple of times some have painted in too broad a brush stroke...
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Michael Zarek
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You can't expose psychic readings as the are real, you can expose fake psychic readings which I don't mind being done. (yea I know, just an opinion and stuff)

We are really making way too big of a problem from simple things, I believe I watched almost everything Derren recorded for TV and never have I seen exposure of anything that could affect anyone execpt completly fake readers who don't even try to be believable.

Few people who classify as real psychic entertainer (with an accent on "Psychic" and not "Entertainer") are for exemple Jerome Finley, Bill Montana, Neal Scryer... I can't see how any one of them or anyone else doing similiar work could have been affected by Derren's supposed exposure.

And as an added note. Yes I do consider the above 3 people to be mentalists.
But it doesn't matter really couse they don't call themself that and neither do I.
Reader discretion is advised.
Tony Iacoviello
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I think the question is silly.

Outside of a few magicians and mentalists, essentially no one in my country even knows who he is.
He did have a 6 episode series on a cable station (SYFY) 7 years ago, Mind Contol - Season 1, there never was a season 2.
Reviews of the show, at that time, were not good (even I found the show slow and dry, and I enjoy some of his work).

This goes to show that what plays well in the UK (and what we mystery entertainers might enjoy) will not always resonate with the audiences here.

As for magicians doing psychic exposure shows, to me it signals that they have no creative ideas.
They have been doing it since the early 20th century, and we readers are still here.

These so called exposure shows don't hurt my work, in fact I seem to have more requests after one airs.
TonyB2009
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If you prey on the misery of others and someone exposes you, they are not exposers. They are doing a public service.

If you are doing readings, mediumship effects, as entertainment I think you will find yourself safe from the exposers. So I say a big thanks to Derren, Dunninger, Banachek and the others you mentioned.
Slim King
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Quote:
On Jan 25, 2015, Martin Pulman wrote:
In recent years certain Café voices have been demanding that psychic reading, tarot, mediumship, spiritualism etc be recognised as forms of mentalism. If this is true, it places us in a rather awkward position.

Well Honestly it ISN'T true, since mentalists have stated that mediumship is part of mentalism for over a CENTURY .... not just recent years.
HOWEVER....In "Recent Years" people have diverted from the standards set by Al Mann, Annemann, Nelson, Carlyle, Reese, Doc Sheils, Uri Geller, The Piddingtons, Criswell Koenig and many of the grandadies of mentalism.
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Martin Pulman
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And your answer to my question Slim?

Are Derren Brown, Banachek etc guilty of repeatedly exposing our art form?
ProfessorJinksy
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It seems to me that maybe "entertainment" is not the best place to draw the line. If mentalists are actors and if mentalism is theatre, then "entertainment" just doesn't seem like the right word. We don't consider actors to be entertainers, do we?

I've had the same question Martin. Mentalism is placed precariously between magic and mediumship (or psychic ability). Too far in either direction and you've crossed the line. While "entertainment purposes" is one significant distinction, it seems to not be the perfect line. Many mediums are quite entertaining. Many mentalists are not. And as I said above, "entertainment" seems like an odd standard by which to judge a theatrical performance or performer.

Just some thoughts. Sorry, no answers here. Reply hazy try again.
Bill Cushman
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"And as I said above, "entertainment" seems like an odd standard by which to judge a theatrical performance or performer."

I'm missing something ProfessorJinksy; I'm not sure why actors aren't considered entertainers. I would think they fall under that umbrella. I certainly hope to be entertained by a theatrical performance or performer. Sometimes other things too, but always entertained. What do you hope to get out such a show?
mastermindreader
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Yes- actors are entertainers. Theater is entertainment. So is classical music and literature, if you think about it.

Some types of entertainment have deeper levels of meaning than others and aren't always entertaining to the same audiences.

If your mentalism act isn't entertaining, who would want to see it? You certainly won't be getting many repeat audiences. And if you are intentionally presenting it as something other than entertainment you are approaching a dangerous ethical line as what you're doing is no longer mentalism.

Did you know that back in vaudeville comedians were often referred to as "actors" as well?
Slim King
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Quote:
On Jan 25, 2015, Tony Iacoviello wrote:
I think the question is silly.

Outside of a few magicians and mentalists, essentially no one in my country even knows who he is.
He did have a 6 episode series on a cable station (SYFY) 7 years ago, Mind Contol - Season 1, there never was a season 2.
Reviews of the show, at that time, were not good (even I found the show slow and dry, and I enjoy some of his work).

This goes to show that what plays well in the UK (and what we mystery entertainers might enjoy) will not always resonate with the audiences here.

As for magicians doing psychic exposure shows, to me it signals that they have no creative ideas.
They have been doing it since the early 20th century, and we readers are still here.

These so called exposure shows don't hurt my work, in fact I seem to have more requests after one airs.

I agree. Virtually no one knows of Derren Brown here in the states. And he has no show, so there wouldn't be anything to boycott.
THE MAN THE SKEPTICS REFUSE TO TEST FOR ONE MILLION DOLLARS.. The Worlds Foremost Authority on Houdini's Life after Death.....
Martin Pulman
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It really is a simple question, Slim. Are you accusing Derren, Andy Nyman, Banachek etc of being exposers of mentalism? It's not like you to avoid a question?
TonyB2009
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Quote:
On Jan 25, 2015, Slim King wrote:
Virtually no one knows of Derren Brown here in the states. And he has no show, so there wouldn't be anything to boycott.

That is hardly relevant to the initial question. To 70 million people he is a household name. Aside from John Edward, can any US mentalist make that claim?
mastermindreader
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I don't even think that John Edward can make that claim anymore.
Tony Iacoviello
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Quote:
On Jan 25, 2015, TonyB2009 wrote:
Quote:
On Jan 25, 2015, Slim King wrote:
Virtually no one knows of Derren Brown here in the states. And he has no show, so there wouldn't be anything to boycott.

That is hardly relevant to the initial question. To 70 million people he is a household name. Aside from John Edward, can any US mentalist make that claim?


Is this relevent to the initial question?
At least Dave's goes to the question posed in the thread title. He is unknown here and there is nothing to boycott.

As for the question asked, does Brown, Banachek, or Nyman expose mentalist secrets? Not one of them have programs that air here, so some of us cannot answer.
Martin Pulman
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Odd that those who argue loudest for psychics to be accepted as mentalists grow suddenly quiet when asked a simple question that logically follows from that claim. Or else come up with convoluted and absurd reasons to avoid answering the question.

Are Brown, Nyman, Banachek etc guilty of exposure of fellow mentalists - the greatest ethical no-no in our art?
mastermindreader
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I'm happy to answer, Martin. But I figured you'd already know what my answer would be.

No, they aren't guilty. They're all brilliant entertainers and highly accomplished mentalists who've earned well-deserved success.
Bill Cushman
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Yes, and that is your answer as well Martin, correct? The title of the thread is meant to be ironic. Whether DB is or isn't known here isn't what's relevant.
Martin Pulman
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Bill,

The question isn't really about Derren Brown. It is about the claims being made on a daily basis on the Café that psychic readers, tarot readers, mediums etc are actually mentalists. If that is the case then, logically, some of the biggest names in the history of our art are actually guilty of exposing fellow mentalists.

I think the claim that readers, spiritualists, faith healers, dowsers, astrologers etc are performing mentalism is absurd. But the situation seems very clear. Either they are not mentalists -in which case Brown, Banachek, Nyman etc are not guilty of exposure; or they are mentalists- in which case the performers I've mentioned are some of the biggest exposers in the history of our art form and should be permanently ostracised from the mentalism community.

It really is an either/or situation. But I'm not surprised that some Café members appear to have grown oddly shy and are unwilling to follow through the logic of their previous statements. After all, they would be publicly accusing some of the most talented and brilliant performers in recent years of one of the worst crimes you can commit against fellow mentalists - exposure of their methods to the general public.
IAIN
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Who is making these claims? Is it just slim?
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