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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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The Hermit
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When I see Bill Montana, I see a con man that isn't very good. I have attended a lot of metaphysical gatherings. I have never seen stuff like that in almost 50 years. He likes to say he is a scam artist. He may be. His approach whatever I may think of his method seems to be to make people think they had an experience of something. I don't see him doing a Gypsy candle scam. I suspect his talk isn't walked much. Once again, it's degree of bad intent. If he takes people on a metaphysical experience, little harm.

Quote:
On Jan 27, 2015, Davit Sicseek wrote:
Quote:
If they want to give Sylvia Brown thousands for a reading, it's their problem. We may not like it, but it's not our place to protect them.


I could agree witht his if I believed they were doing it for entertainment. Its not for entertaintment though is it?

How confident are you that your own spectators and customers see the mentalism your practice as just 'entertainment'?

I hate the likes of Sylvia Brown, but believers want to believe. I hate the scum that prey on people that are in distress. I also believe in karma. You won't stop them no matter what.

I hope they are entertained. My whole premise is about ancient beliefs and modern living. It draws from all forms of ancient science. I don't tell their future or talk to dead people. I try to give the a different way of looking at the universe by using standard mentalism methods.
mastermindreader
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Quote:
On Jan 27, 2015, Davit Sicseek wrote:


How confident are you that your own spectators and customers see the mentalism your practice as just 'entertainment'?


All of them? I'm sure there are many who see it as real (but, nonetheless entertaining). You seem to be suggesting that if some people view mentalism as real, it is therefore fraud. The logical result of that position is that we should stop performing mentalism because some might think it's real regardless of any disclaimers.

As I noted elsewhere, I'm sure there are some who believe that Disney's Haunted Mansion is real, too. But I don't see disclaimers posted at the entrance or skeptic crying that it is a fraud.
Davit Sicseek
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Quote:
I hope they are entertained. My whole premise is about ancient beliefs and modern living. It draws from all forms of ancient science. I don't tell their future or talk to dead people. I try to give the a different way of looking at the universe by using standard mentalism methods.


Entertainment seems like an odd descriptor. I'm sure that teachers of all stripes and bosses up and down the country hope that their students/staff are entertained by their interactions. It is but a secondary by-product.

If I go for language lessons I hope to be 'entertained' - but the entertainment is largely incidental, I go to learn a langauge.
If I go to a public lecture, I hope to be 'entertained' - but the entertainment is largely incidental, I go to be informed and challenge my views.
If I go to a therapist, I hope to be 'entertained' - but the entertainment is largely incidental, I go to improve my life.

I would hope that most interactions I have with a professional of any sort can be entertaining. Given the choice between a dull mortgage advisor and an entertaining one, I'd rather an entertaining one. Entertainment is still not the reason I go to speak with one.

Entertainment is a mask that some performers hide behind. I am very skeptical of it.

Then one needs to think of the consequences of otherwise harmless, belief forming interactions. You might have good intentions - but a competent performance only reinforces their belief. They take note of your disclaimer and constraint at the start - "Don't ask me questions about dead realtives" - they witness your powers, percieve value in the 'method' and go on to procure the services of someone who will answer those questions.
Quote:
As I noted elsewhere, I'm sure there are some who believe that Disney's Haunted Mansion is real, too. But I don't see disclaimers posted at the entrance or skeptic crying that it is a fraud.

What percentage of attendees at Disney's Haunted Mansion is real? Less than 1%?

What percentage of attendees at a big ticket psychic show believe it is real? 75%+?

How would you estimate the potential for harm from the belief in the above two examples? Are terrible life decisions really being taken after a trip to the Haunted Mansion?
Send me the truth: davitsicseek@gmail.com
reese
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The horse is not only dead it got bashed into pudding... and it's still being beaten! There's more to heaven and earth than you can shake a stick at... if that's your idea of a good time. So sayeth St. Groucho.
The Hermit
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[quote]On Jan 27, 2015, Davit Sicseek wrote:
Quote:
I
Entertainment is a mask that some performers hide behind. I am very skeptical of it.

Then one needs to think of the consequences of otherwise harmless, belief forming interactions. You might have good intentions - but a competent performance only reinforces their belief. They take note of your disclaimer and constraint at the start - "Don't ask me questions about dead realtives" - they witness your powers, percieve value in the 'method' and go on to procure the services of someone who will answer those questions.


Head spinning. I'm not responsible for what they form in their head that I didn't put there.
Davit Sicseek
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Its not that complicated.

A "real" but well intentioned portrayal creates or reinforces belief that consitutes an enabling condition that results in them visiting a less reputable perfomer who causes them harm.

By advertising yourself as real - you are benefiting from what is at least partly formed in their head. You intensify that belief through your performance. Then wish to wash your hands on the consequences.

I know it is an uncomfortable truth - but can anyone who has not been in the game for a while NOT recall a situation (or 100s) who actually verbalises their belief in a performance AND their intention to go and get a personal reading for themselves?
Send me the truth: davitsicseek@gmail.com
reese
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Guess what I'm thinking about your "uncomfortable truth".
mastermindreader
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Quote:
On Jan 27, 2015, Davit Sicseek wrote:
...
Then one needs to think of the consequences of otherwise harmless, belief forming interactions. You might have good intentions - but a competent performance only reinforces their belief. They take note of your disclaimer and constraint at the start - "Don't ask me questions about dead realtives" - they witness your powers, percieve value in the 'method' and go on to procure the services of someone who will answer those questions.


It seems then, that you are questioning the validity of realistic mentalism as a performance art. If that's the case, are you telling us that we should get out of the business? For even if we come out and call ourselves magicians, surely some people will still believe.

Which makes me wonder why you are even bothering to participate in a mentalism forum.

Or are you just trying, as I suspect, to stir the pot a bit? (Because you can bet on the fact that I'm going to continue to perform as I always have with or without your approval. If you want to call me a fraud, just come out and say so.)
TheDirectionalist
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I believe that sometimes we tend to take things too seriously. It's really all about entertainment. I know that in my own acts, I will seemingly explain the procedures and provide false processes as to how I'm doing what I'm doing..

But also, usually I will throw something completely unexplainable in there at the end, providing something impossible. My last show I performed a coin bend at the very end, and had someone come up afterwards and ask me if I really had telekinetic powers. Sometimes, even if you tell people that what you are doing isn't real, or that you believe what psychics are doing isn't real, it only makes them want to believe more.. Oddly enough.
The Hermit
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Quote:
On Jan 27, 2015, Davit Sicseek wrote:
Its not that complicated.

A "real" but well intentioned portrayal creates or reinforces belief that consitutes an enabling condition that results in them visiting a less reputable perfomer who causes them harm.

By advertising yourself as real - you are benefiting from what is at least partly formed in their head. You intensify that belief through your performance. Then wish to wash your hands on the consequences.

I know it is an uncomfortable truth - but can anyone who has not been in the game for a while NOT recall a situation (or 100s) who actually verbalises their belief in a performance AND their intention to go and get a personal reading for themselves?

As to earlier remark, I don't disclaim. I don't advertise as real or not real. I provide a performance that has a theme and a set of effects designed to create an affect. I am neither more or less reputable. If you are implying that I am doing something that causes them to form a belief in supernatural phenomena and then causes them to visit a bogus psychic that does them harm, you are connecting a lot of imaginary dots. I did once do such a convincing sponge bunny routine that a man wanted to buy my magical bunnies to start a sponge bunny farm, but that's a different story.
Hawkan
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Quote:
On Jan 27, 2015, Slim King wrote:
In my mind it is a discrimination against those who believe.


I may be reading too much into this, but I think I have heard the same disturbing thing coming from groups of -ists who are confrontational on another level. But the thinking is the same.

Hĺkan
morgaine_le_fey
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Aren't 'psychics' -- with their genuine psychic powers -- supposed to know all (and much more) of the participant than mere mentalists can discover -- with their fishing, cold reading and dual reality techniques?
If so, why then do they seem to use the very techniques mentalists (i.e. entertainment) use?
Those of us who have studied parapsychology on a serious level will tell you that, beside obvious statistical hits (e.g. you'll always have 5/25 ESP cards right), there is nothing out of the ordinary out there.
Iain, thank you for the perspectivism-link!
And I follow Bob in his despair Smile
These discussions have been around since forever and it's interesting to notice that anno 2015, when we all claim our audiences have evolved so much, some performers really haven't.

Defintions perhaps?
To me, mentalism is a subtle, savant and intelligent form of illusionism in that it doesn't focus on the tangible (outside) but the intangible (inside). Inside processes are intimate, tap into our emotions. But we use the same techniques a top salesman would use: amplify the emotion to get a desired result. Ethically we have a huge responsability towards those in our audience with shattered emotions -- they might be touched in a way we did not intend. We are not therapists or psychologists (some of you might be) and therefore we cannot interfere/intervene. Just suggest they seek counseling.
Psychics are mentalists Smile who go way beyond this point. They are mentalists gone bad if you want.
Or, maybe this: a mentalist will temporarily suspend disbelief, a psychic will endeavour to make you believe for as long as is possible.

It's all here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confirmation_bias

xx Morgaine
reese
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Interesting wiki link but I disagree with your comparison of "psychic" & "mentalist" as a definitive statement. Sometimes they might be horses of a completely different color.
morgaine_le_fey
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Quote:
On Jan 28, 2015, reese wrote:
Interesting wiki link but I disagree with your comparison of "psychic" & "mentalist" as a definitive statement. Sometimes they might be horses of a completely different color.


That's no problem at all: it's definitive-as-I-progress.
This in not an issue that will ever be solved IMHO.
Unless we 'evolve' into this: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/......-4929838
IAIN
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Here's an example of confirmation bias...

I do not think we should bother trying to discuss this any further because all that's been needed to be said, has already been said, countless times...people telling others what works with regards to readings and mentalism without ever doing either (more than maybe a couple times) gives them a warped perspective on what goes on and how it all works...

So if they want to carry on, let them, because its not from a true perspective, based on first hand experience...

Also, despite all of his disclaimers and discussions on the subject, some people think derren is psychic...again, this is because of the individual's beliefs...
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Martin Pulman
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I'm sure the "real" psychics, tarot readers etc would be delighted if their increasingly prolific claims and product pushing on the Café were never allowed to be contradicted.

As someone else said: attempts to silence dissenting voices seems to be a growing trend among those who profess "faith".

I'd be delighted to never have to mention the subject again- but the threads and the claims and the products seem to be churned out with mind-numbing regularity these days. I don't think people peddling such beliefs on a mentalism forum- often for big bucks- should be given a clear run.
IAIN
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Everytime I read this thread I think "oh right, so-and-so is talking about people who say they are psychic and its not in an entertainment setting, and that person is giving a lot of advice on stuff they are not qualified to do so..".

100% agree with that, personally.

But then I read another post by them and it seems to be aimed any one who even dares adds some kind of analysis to a reveal, or does readings whilst being hired to entertain...

So which is it?
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David Thiel
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I took my grandchildren to see Peter Pan in the theatre some time ago. I had as good a time watching their faces when he started to fly as I did watching the actor. Their eyes lit up and there were these expressions of literal wonder. At the end, when we were charged with saving Peter by believing in him, we all clapped. Did that mean we believed in the actor...or just that we were entering into the idea of the play?

The conversation on the ride home wasn't about the literal reality of fairies...it was about the play and how well the actors performed and how realistic it looked when the actor playing Peter and then Wendy.. started to fly.

It was entertainment. It had a very clear agenda, if course...even an underlying author worldview that was being shared. Fair enough...

Now...if the actor had stood in front of my grandchildren and told them he really could fly...and he would impart some of his secret knowledge to them in exchange for their milk money, I would have explained about pulleys and lighting and condemned the actor as a jerk...a fraud...a con man. The quality of his acting skills would have become immaterial because of the way he abused those skills as well as the tech that helped him "fly."

One presentation was a SHOW and the other hid a FRAUD.

It is a matter of the intent and focus of the performer.

David
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kinesis
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I'm a mentalist and a Tarot card reader. I don't claim to be psychic and make that very clear with every sitter. I make sure that the sitter knows what to expect (and what not to expect)from a reading. Although Tarot can be 'entertaining' I don't advertise it as such. Tarot is all about self exploration, it's about clarity, It's about examining issues from a different angle, it's about gaining perception. During a reading I rely heavily on my own intuition and life experience to give readings. Sure the cards have specific meanings but that's just a springboard for more intuitive interpretation. I don't particularly like Tarot readers being bundled in with psychics. I can see why they are but from my own experience and by the way I deliver Tarot readings they are very different.

O/P Should we boycott Derren Brown et al? - No Should we expose fraudulent psychics? If they are abusing people's trust and exploiting vulnerable people for financial gain - Yes.
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one - Albert Einstein






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IAIN
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I give lots of readings, sometimes it built into a mentalism based presentation, I have a good strong preamble that makes everything absolutely clear if its for a straight read...if its within a presentation then its just part and parcel of the presentation...

I am imaginatory based, I am open about what is going on, and have given around a hundred readings over the past few years to people on here, via pm and face to face...everyone got a chance to give me feedback, rate me for accuracy and general content as well as for accuracy...they can also absolutely tell me when I'm wrong too...

I have helped people to no longer visit psychic mediums and other such people because I felt it was the right thing to do, and I have pointed out warning signs to look out for scam wise...i also give out numbers, email and web addresses for charities and specialists if the person insists on talking about something I am not willing to deal with...i also have (believe it or not, a good way with people), I am very good in dealing with those situations...

I have also consulted with friends who are psychologists and therapists, read for their colleagues to test my way of doing things, I have spent a great deal of time working on this, and making sure I am water tight on what I am doing...i am also happy for others to disagree with what I do, they are allowed to do so...

I learned how to give readings by learning as much as possible from people who I consider to be the best, Enrique and Scott Grossberg are two of those...and I have learned the act of reading by doing it I busy bars and pubs firstly, for 6-12 hours every week for locals, drinks, believers in psychic ability, other readers, regular everyday folk, barmaids, devout skeptics and anti-theists and all things inbetween...

Zero advice, some things are off limits, all made clear, its fun, engaging, different, non psychic and it lasts 10-15 minutes tops. Certainly sometimes less...it is not traditional and there's no hooped earrings, candles or dim lights...i can describe situations that they relate to, personalities that kind of thing, and they kinda join in...telling people about themselves is not just the realm of the reader btw...its about having a well rounded character that shapes how and what you reveal during a performance...

I am personally against giving advice, fortelling the future and chasing hits...unless its green and sticky...

I do not personally approve of mediumship either...

I believe that some people think they are psychic, do not use our techniques and are generally decent people...

I do not believe in mediumship nor psychic ability personally, but I am more than willing to accept that others do and live regular, decent lives too...

There are also some con artists out there, and exist in nearly every field...

Shouting, mocking, bating people you feel are unethical does nothing...engage with them, you may be wrong or you might be making too many assumptions or not know the full story...dont be arrogant in your beliefs, always question and test them out...
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