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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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John Arcanum
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Quote:
On Jan 26, 2015, Martin Pulman wrote:
Semi anonymous infrequent poster upon the magic Café,

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.



Some of the biggest names in the history of our Art were Psychic Readers, Tarot Readers, and Mediums. Some were not. It's certainly no secret that Psychic flavored readings such as Tarot have been the bread and butter of many full time workers. Mediums? You mean without whom there would be few of the common utility techniques that fuel our artistic expressions? I see a glorious tree of many branches whose roots dig deep into Spiritualism. Why is it you seem determined to uproot the tree in spite of it's roots?

Quote:
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.


"It is rarely an either/or situation except in the mind of one with an axe to grind" so sayeth confucius.

Exposure of artistic methods is only a fear to those without creativity.

Type define:mentalism into google and you get: The theory that physical and psychological phenomena are ultimately explicable only in terms of a creative and interpretive mind.

Personally I like to think of Mentalism as an Artform in which the nature and limits of reality are expressed, stretched, reversed, and reformed within the Vision of the Artist and the Audience.

Your opinion, of course, may likely vary. Such is the Beauty of Art.
IAIN
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Personally speaking, I have given many, many readings...definitely not psychic, definitely no advice given...what drives me up the wall are the blanket statements made by people about other people...because there are always exceptions...brief examples have been given on here where I've given short punchy character analysis/readings all of which require zero stock lines, hot reading and done under circumstances where the participant was completely in control...
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Sean Giles
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[quote]On Jan 26, 2015, John Arcanum wrote:

Quote:
Exposure of artistic methods is only a fear to those without creativity.


Spoken like a man that's never had his work exposed.
Martin Pulman
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Quote:
On Jan 26, 2015, John Arcanum wrote:

Type define:mentalism into google and you get: The theory that physical and psychological phenomena are ultimately explicable only in terms of a creative and interpretive mind.


Well John, I'll be happy to discuss the question of Mentalism vs Materialism with you on a philosophy forum, as that is an area that also interests me, but when you next google 'mentalism' it might be of more use to read the entry that actually relates to the performance art form, not the philosophical theory: clever as Bishop Berkeley was, I'm pretty sure he never performed a mental epic routine. Smile
John Arcanum
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[quote]On Jan 26, 2015, Sean Giles wrote:
Quote:
On Jan 26, 2015, John Arcanum wrote:
Quote:
Exposure of artistic methods is only a fear to those without creativity.

Spoken like a man that's never had his work exposed.

Fair enough. Looking at that statement in isolation of the thoughts in my mind swirling around it makes it seem harsher than I intended.

I've had my fair share of hecklers and harassers, though the only real methodological exposure I've ever fallen victim to was due to my own poor technique. Certainly not from a TV personality. What I intended by that statement was if your performance is a growth of your own Beliefs, Thoughts, and Passions then there is nothing to expose except your Soul, Psyche, Intentions as an artist. Which I would assume is the goal of your performance in the first place.
Quote:
On Jan 26, 2015, Martin Pulman wrote:
Quote:
On Jan 26, 2015, John Arcanum wrote:

Type define:mentalism into google and you get: The theory that physical and psychological phenomena are ultimately explicable only in terms of a creative and interpretive mind.

Well John, I'll be happy to discuss the question of Mentalism vs Materialism with you on a philosophy forum, as that is an area that also interests me, but when you next google 'mentalism' it might be of more use to read the entry that actually relates to the performance art form, not the philosophical theory: clever as Bishop Berkeley was, I'm pretty sure he never performed a mental epic routine. Smile

I would think the entry on the philosophical theory of mentalism is far more useful than the performance art definition to the members here. I didn't realize we had no room for philosophy.
IAIN
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Http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mentalism


Mentalism is a performing art in which its practitioners, known as mentalists, appear to demonstrate highly developed mental or intuitive abilities. Performances may appear to include hypnosis, telepathy, clairvoyance, divination, precognition, psychokinesis, mediumship, mind control, memory feats and rapid mathematics. Mentalists are sometimes categorised as psychic entertainers, although that category also contains non-mentalist performers such as psychic readers and bizarrists.

is this wrong?
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TonyB2009
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Quote:
On Jan 25, 2015, Martin Pulman wrote:
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?

I thought my answer was clear and unequivocal; no, they are not guilty.
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Martin, I don't know much about Derren Brown or Andy Nyman. My layman's impression of guys like Banachek or Randi or that crowd is that they are usually pretty careful about not exposing methods. My impression is that they may do things like (a) express skepticism about the reality of those phenomena, (b) offer to test claims under controlled conditions that preclude trickery, and (c) reproduce effects of these sorts while explaining that they are using naturalistic methods. While they sometimes may explain principles governing these things, they strike me as extremely basic points of the sort that, say, Penn and Teller might do with respect to magic, and would not extend to revelations of more sophisticated or subtle points. As an example, I know you're not talking about things like metal bending, but from what I've seen of Randi and Banachek's public presentations, they might say that it's easily done through naturalistic means and maybe even demonstrate a very basic bend, but would refrain from exposing the sorts of bending methods that they would reveal to the professional community (e.g., Psychokinetic Silverware). Again, I don't have an expert knowledge of these things, so if my impressions are wrong about these facts, by all means feel free to correct me.

So my question to you, since you know a lot more about these guys than I do, is whether your premise that they expose these methods is really accurate, or is any "exposure" limited to extremely basic principles? If the latter, then there may not be a contradiction here that needs explaining.
Withnail
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Quote:
On Jan 26, 2015, IAIN wrote:
Who is making these claims? Is it just slim?


Don't be silly iain. Why would slim suddenly want to raise his profile on the Café all of a sudden by courting controversy?

It's not as if He's selling anything is it?

Oh... Hang on...
Yet again that oaf has destroyed my day
truman
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Quote:
On Jan 25, 2015, Martin Pulman wrote:
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.


If there are inviolable rules of mentalism, they are only held as such until they aren't. Washington Irving Bishop exposed Anna Eva Fay's methods before embarking on a successful career of his own. I recently bought Franz Polgar's autobiography, and he exposes Hanussen's methods. I've seen Kreskin more than once expose methods that he doesn't use to make his routines seem more genuine and baffling. (Watch him blatantly expose a method during his newspaper test here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=qhiMii2mbCg. His ACAAN is pretty impressive and worth a watch, too.)

Would any of us have boycotted Bishop or Polgar? Kreskin received the Dunninger Memorial Award from the PEA in 2012 (and Derren Brown did in 2006), and if anyone's feathers would have been ruffled by any problematic exposure issues, I think theirs almost certainly would have been. Richard Osterlind withstood tremendous pressure from a certain faction of mentalists when he started to release instructional DVDs, because they objected to his exposure of methods... to other mentalists!

The exposure that Derren Brown engages in is part of the history and future of mentalism.
kasper
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Ive came to the realization that mentalists have turned mentalism into a fundamentalist religion in of itself.
Michael Zarek
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Quote:
On Jan 26, 2015, Martin Pulman wrote:
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.


It's not an either/or situation and I said why in the very first post.
You can't expose psychic readers who do it for real (like most in our community), even if we classify palm readers and other spiritualists as mentalists than it still doesn't make Derren or anyone else guilty of exposing mentalism.

For example Derren's mediumship routine from his latest show, it's framed almost like an exposure of mediums but a compentent fake or real medium could perform his act right after Derren's and it would only be Derren that could fear exposure as he's the only one that actually used trickery.

Most of the published or unpublished methods from those more spirutal based "Mentalists" can not possibly be exposed.
Reader discretion is advised.
IAIN
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Why don't we expose all the mentalism devices and methods to the public and save them all!
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MatCult
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Okay, you've convinced me. How do I get involved in the boycott?
"Disbelief in magic can force a poor soul into believing in government and business."
truman
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Quote:
On Jan 26, 2015, MatCult wrote:
How do I get involved in the boycott?


Don't watch his Penguin Live (Pre-recorded) Lecture (Interview). Smile
Slim King
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I think that you've been given enough rope and now it's time to answer the second question....
The first question in the title of the thread is easily answered by those of us in America ... It's silly since Brown has no show to boycott and virtually no one knows who he is...AND the show he did have was a one off and no one picked up a second season.
Not sure if you'd boycott him in the UK .. Your call.

The second question is easily answered.

I think we can all agree that in the USA The Amazing Kreskin is one of the greatest Menatlists EVER!!!!

Yet Banachek's boss (And I LOVE Banachek) blatantly attacks Kreskin and uses a back handed comparison to SYLVIA BROWN (RIP)

So YES!!!! The Pseudoskeptics even attack one of our own!!!! THE AMAZING KRESKIN....

http://archive.randi.org/site/index.php/......=w-fluid

One of many attacks on Kreskin.
THE MAN THE SKEPTICS REFUSE TO TEST FOR ONE MILLION DOLLARS.. The Worlds Foremost Authority on Houdini's Life after Death.....
IAIN
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You are brilliant, Slim..I wished you did more of these...

You a very clever man, well done...
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truman
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Quote:
On Jan 26, 2015, IAIN wrote:
Why don't we expose all the mentalism devices and methods to the public and save them all!


They're all publicly available already for those who care to obtain the books and read them. I picked up a few books in Tannen's a few months ago. I didn't have to know a secret handshake, whisper a password, or show a membership card to walk out with some of the guarded secrets of the art. They did ask for some money, however.
Slim King
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Another attack on two mentalists... I'm sorry that any performer who decides to perform 24/7 (As some great magicians also have) is attacked in this way. It shows an adolescent intolerance for another's viewpoint and performance style.
http://archive.randi.org/site/index.php/......ler.html
THE MAN THE SKEPTICS REFUSE TO TEST FOR ONE MILLION DOLLARS.. The Worlds Foremost Authority on Houdini's Life after Death.....
truman
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Quote:
On Jan 26, 2015, Slim King wrote:
The Pseudoskeptics even attack one of our own!!!! THE AMAZING KRESKIN....


Slim, I looked at the link you posted, and it's quite innocuous. I've been more offended by some sneezes. Granted, they were loud, uncovered, and facing my direction.
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