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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » How to Stop the Trivialization of Mentalism (91 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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DynaMix
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Quote:
On Dec 22, 2015, Mr Salk wrote:
Quote:
On Dec 18, 2015, DynaMix wrote:

One of those IS possible - guessing a thought. One is simply NOT possible - levitating.

Mixing the two isn't the hybrid you think it is.


I don't jive with this world-view, and neither do my specs.

Small time prestidigitators like myself don't blip the radar of the professional mentalists. The parlors of America are enclaves of scurrilous sleights and psychological anathema.

Our First Goal is to entertain; not uphold the dogma of a fraternity of which we are not members.


Fair enough, and I'm inclined to agree. Just pointing out the other side of the argument.

I personally struggle pretty often with establishing a character...those struggles really only started to occur once I started doing higher end gigs for higher end pay (and I'm still a small timer relatively speaking).

IF I show any traditional magic these days its basically for family and close friends - this is my personal answer to the compromise. Family and friends saw me come from magic so they have a hard time believing me as a mindreader - rather than force it, I do hybrids as you state, and its a nice compromise as well as entertaining to both myself and the viewer.

I just wouldn't risk that for someone who is booking me to read minds. Just a personal view.
MagicalEducator
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"...entertainment first is at its extreme is a form of prostitution for acceptance..."

This has to be one of the largest and most interesting leaps of "logic" that I've seen here at the Café. People pay performers to entertain them. I as a performer (hopefully) get to decide the terms and conditions of this performance. Sometimes I decide that I'm happy just perform for free for a particular group and so I can choose to give it away for free. Other times I get to say no to bookers brcause I don't want to do what they've asked for. In all of the circumstances I get to choose whether I entertain or not. Using your thinking are all business transactions a form of prostitution?

People can perform any type of magic, mental magic or mentalist that they like. Who am I/we to sit upon high and judge them? That kind of stuff happens way too much in this forum. The same people who do this are the same people that sell all manner of secrets to anyone willing to pay. Check out all those little for sale hyperlinks from those who claim that mentalism is being trivialized. Sounds like people complaining about their lack of success and blaming other people for it. Why take responsibility for yourself when you can blame others.

Jeff
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Mr Salk
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I hope my posts with Bill Montana did not have an argumentative tone; that was not my intent. I'm perusing Expert Card Technique, also published (coincidently) 1944, and much of it is prescient.

I posit that's its night impossible for an amateur (like myself) to maintain a convincing mentalist persona, so it's a waste of time to affect the trappings. I sincerely don't believe my lack of effort to create said persona trivializes Mentalism.

Just trying to be mildly-entertaining (without throwing myself in the mud).
.


.
WDavis
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On Dec 22, 2015, MagicalEducator wrote:
"...entertainment first is at its extreme is a form of prostitution for acceptance..."

This has to be one of the largest and most interesting leaps of "logic" that I've seen here at the Café. People pay performers to entertain them. I as a performer (hopefully) get to decide the terms and conditions of this performance. Sometimes I decide that I'm happy just perform for free for a particular group and so I can choose to give it away for free. Other times I get to say no to bookers brcause I don't want to do what they've asked for. In all of the circumstances I get to choose whether I entertain or not. Using your thinking are all business transactions a form of prostitution?

People can perform any type of magic, mental magic or mentalist that they like. Who am I/we to sit upon high and judge them? That kind of stuff happens way too much in this forum. The same people who do this are the same people that sell all manner of secrets to anyone willing to pay. Check out all those little for sale hyperlinks from those who claim that mentalism is being trivialized. Sounds like people complaining about their lack of success and blaming other people for it. Why take responsibility for yourself when you can blame others.

Jeff


magicaleducator/jeff,

First please use my entire comment to quote me and not an ellipsised version that takes me out of context.

To clarify my point as it alluded you is this- when ones driving force is the entertainment of others at the expense of ones dignity or the dignity of others, it is the prostitution of said dignity for intially under my example financial remuneration followed by pursuit of acceptance( defined as the need to please others for ones own emotional/psychological needs) when the price tag becomes $0. HENCE, IN ITS EXTREME FORM.

Furthermore, let me clarify why I used the word prostitution. Prostitution is in denotation the exchange of sexual behaviors for financial compensation, this can also be used in a connotation as the providing gratification to another in exchange for a compensation of any type at the expense of ones self diginity.

And finally, in the business world, not all transactions are this way. As most transactions do not involve the violation of ones inherent dignity, the moment one compromises said dignity in exchange for compensation then yes they do become a form of prostitution.

Finally, as I read your last paragraph it contains a form of moral relativism-beyond the scope of this conversation so I won't address it. Though, this relativism is used to justify the trivialization.what has happened more accurately is described as the kinked curve model in economics.

Value is driven down as others jump in to make a buck but lowering prices forcing others to do the same to maintain market share as general magic/mentalism products all suffer from price elasticity of demand.

Walter
WDavis
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On Dec 22, 2015, Mr Salk wrote:
I hope my posts with Bill Montana did not have an argumentative tone; that was not my intent. I'm perusing Expert Card Technique, also published (coincidently) 1944, and much of it is prescient.

I posit that's its night impossible for an amateur (like myself) to maintain a convincing mentalist persona, so it's a waste of time to affect the trappings. I sincerely don't believe my lack of effort to create said persona trivializes Mentalism.

Just trying to be mildly-entertaining (without throwing myself in the mud).



Mr Salk,

I appreciate this post the most of all you have provided on this thread so far Smile.

Though I do disagree with you as the ability to perform mentalism as an amateur and maintain character. What I posit is happening is you are wishing to demonstrate abilities without any possible connection to who you are as a person. You admittedly are a performer who does not drive his primary income from performing, I would suggest you take a tally of your personality, mannerisms, and interests. After this is done, take a tally of your effects you perform and the ability that is demonstrated (not based on personal opinion of effect or it's "coolness"). Now see which abilities and personality attributes can be connected. You will find that not all of ur abilities and effects mesh with who you are as a person. This dissonance is hat has led to your write-off of character. But of you link them and slightly exaggerate your existing personality attributes that support your effects that fit. Character comes naturally and so does believability and value (both thru self and others opinion)

Yes it's work, but not hard or difficult, but character development is important. Plus such an exercise allows you to be more cognizant of self and grow as a person- always good.

Walter
MagicalEducator
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Walter,

First off, I'm happy to quote that of your argument which is pertinent to the matter at hand. This practice is commonly noted by the quotation/ellipsised format shown and is fairly standard practice amongst the pseudo-intellectual set. I would quote more of your writing but a shovel and bucket would be required given the sheer volume of verbosity and pseudo-intellectual nonsense. Much of your post has tried to link the performance of mentalism to that of theoretical economics which quite obviously doesn't transfer to the topic at hand. Your somewhat contested theory applies to monopolies and not micro craft markets that would be mentalism. I should think that free market system is working quite well in these rather small markets.

I'd like to postulate another theory which may answer this question quite a bit more directly. I call it the Grow a Pair theorem. Rather than having a bunch of middle aged whiners sit around and complain about their lack of show success, access to markets, price they get paid for shows,etc. perhaps they could actually learn to take responsibility for their own shortcomings. I know that it's much easier to blame someone else rather than do anything about improving the problem. Can't afford a house...blame the immigrants who've jacked up the prices of homes in the neighbourhood and the list goes on and on. From housing prices, to jobs, to access to school and so much more. It's all the same argument for people not taking responsibility for their own circumstances. It's always easier to blame someone else for their perceived problems. In this case we blame the magicians for the trivialization of mentalism. here's a news flash...perhaps the trivialization or mentalism has to do with the lack of entertaining mentalists! Too many performers doing things in the exactly the same way. Too many "pure" mentalists hawking their treasured secrets to those very same magicians that "trivialize" their art.

jeff

ps. You've clarified the word prostitute and unfortunately I completely understand what the word means. My mother was a prostitute and so I know how to use the word correctly. You've used this very degrading description for a great number of people who may be new to the art of mentalism. This description applies to them why? Is it because it suits your argument? All very self serving and extremely convenient. I'm certain that they appreciate your welcome to the profession. Nice to be able to put things into neat little piles isn't it?
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WDavis
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Jeff,

Where do I begin with this...

First, you brought the ellipsis quote into play, now you say it's used by the pseudo-intellect. This is followed by alluding to my words as feces thru your shovel and bucket phrasing, but additionally you say I am also pseudo-intellectual? So are we peers? As you are using the pseudo-intellectual standard and you identify me as one also. What are you trying to saying here? Take your stance rather than insult me.

Secondly, all economics is theoretical! That said this model does apply to monopolies as well as oligopolies. Our niche market is an oligopoly where there are few dominant players who control most market share. This point was targeting the commercial sales of products within the community and not the sale of performance services to consumers.

Thirdly, small markets are vastly inefficient by nature. I won't elaborate this point as it is beyond the scope of this thread.

Fourthly, I agree with you on the importance of accountability for ones actions as well as inaction. Though I would prefer to clarify the topic of trivialization of mentalism.
This thread has multiple facets within it and people have mixed and matched. The trivialization of the niche market within performers has been addressed above, what is left is the term mentalism.

Most pure Mentalists feel that magicians performing mental magic and labeling themselves as mentalists cheapens the term mentalism. this situation is common among all specializations, the national association of social workers is fighting to protect their title now for decades as it implies a level of education, clinical training, professionalism, that you don't get from someone who's employer gives their job that title. It's a truth in advertising. Personally, I take umbrage when I go Into a bank and am asked if I want to talk with their investment banker. Why? because those people are investment advisors selling mutual funds, not the raising or providing of capital for institutional companies -I was an investment banker and know what that term means. And as such I still want to protect it.

I agree the cloning of performer style/patter/etc is a sad byproduct, but it has more to do with laziness. It's the laziness of the performer to create a persona and script that work for them that leads to trivialization. Most people don't care, because they don't care enough to do the work so they copy. It's easier that way.

I can't speak for others, but everything I've put out on the market I use and am willing to personally talk anyone who bought my products thru them, so they can use them effectively in a manner that fits them.

Finally, regarding the term prostitution, I didn't refer to anyone as a prostitute. I used the word prostitution in an example to highlight what entertainment as the primary driver is and at what point and how far is the person willing to go to satisfy that driver. I can read based off your replies, your not looking for a conversation but rather someone or something to attack. Hence, your liberal use of qualifying words, misrepresentations, and rudeness.

Have a good day sir,

Walter
MagicalEducator
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You can mask your intentions in all the double speak you like but the bottom line is that you accuse those new to mentalism or heaven forbid those that perform mental magic as prostituting themselves. When questioned about it you accuse me of being rude and not wanting dialogue. Again, why accept any responsibility for the current state of affairs when you can blame others. This kind of nonsensical dialogue does nothing to enhance the state of mentalism.

Jeff
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WDavis
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On Dec 23, 2015, MagicalEducator wrote:
You can mask your intentions in all the double speak you like but the bottom line is that you accuse those new to mentalism or heaven forbid those that perform mental magic as prostituting themselves. When questioned about it you accuse me of being rude and not wanting dialogue. Again, why accept any responsibility for the current state of affairs when you can blame others. This kind of nonsensical dialogue does nothing to enhance the state of mentalism.

Jeff


I will reiterate for you, I never called anyone a prostitute. If you take the time to reread what I wrote, I said (pasted below again for ease of reading)
Quote:

Of which I would like to point out some thoughts for your consideration on this idea of entertainment first?
Who's entertainment are you performing for?

Secondly, consider that psychologically this mindset of entertainment first is at it's extreme a form of prostitution for acceptance.
I highlight this, because if someone offered you $1 million dollars to throw yourself on the ground and flounder in the mud on the street for their entertainment, you would.
Now as entertainment is first- we can keep lowering this payment pricetag and you would still do it. Eventually, we get to $0 dollars, if entertainment is truly first you will still do it because you are driven to entertain first. If you don't then you must admit entertainment is not your primary goal.



Never in this statement did I ever call anyone a prostitute or that mentalists or magicians were prostituting themselves.Your posts tread very close to libel Jeff.

Have a good day,
Walter
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On Dec 23, 2015, WDavis wrote:
Quote:
On Dec 23, 2015, MagicalEducator wrote:
You can mask your intentions in all the double speak you like but the bottom line is that you accuse those new to mentalism or heaven forbid those that perform mental magic as prostituting themselves. When questioned about it you accuse me of being rude and not wanting dialogue. Again, why accept any responsibility for the current state of affairs when you can blame others. This kind of nonsensical dialogue does nothing to enhance the state of mentalism.

Jeff


I will reiterate for you, I never called anyone a prostitute. If you take the time to reread what I wrote, I said (pasted below again for ease of reading)
Quote:

Of which I would like to point out some thoughts for your consideration on this idea of entertainment first?
Who's entertainment are you performing for?

Secondly, consider that psychologically this mindset of entertainment first is at it's extreme a form of prostitution for acceptance.
I highlight this, because if someone offered you $1 million dollars to throw yourself on the ground and flounder in the mud on the street for their entertainment, you would.
Now as entertainment is first- we can keep lowering this payment pricetag and you would still do it. Eventually, we get to $0 dollars, if entertainment is truly first you will still do it because you are driven to entertain first. If you don't then you must admit entertainment is not your primary goal.



Never in this statement did I ever call anyone a prostitute or that mentalists or magicians were prostituting themselves. Your posts tread very close to libel Jeff.

Have a good day,
Walter

This is a statement far out. You are saying that, if you do not want to work for free, you should get in another line of business. It is a job to entertain. Like being a cap driver is a job. You do not see cap drivers giving rides for free. And, yes everybody and everything has a price tag.
You should ask. Is my work making me happy?
Then you can put a price tag on your work after that.
WDavis
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Munken,

Thank you for your comments, but I believe you have misunderstood me (I believe this the case as you may have not read all my posted comments in this thread and others regarding the business side of performing). I believe people should be paid for their work. Additionally, I believe the buyer will offer the lowest amount possible based on perceived value and the seller (entertainer) will only accept the amount and or type of compensation s/he needs to be satisfied for the work rendered.

What I was highlighting is when entertainment first overrides all other factors, as I said above AT ITS EXTREME, people would willingly humiliate themselves for acceptance (this can also be read as recognition).

Now as a monetary paid performer, you are providing a service of entertainment for financial compensation. This entertainers primary driver is financial compensation to satisfy living expenses and other obligations. This is done via a medium of entertainment. And entertainment of the audience is a secondary driver not the primary.

For the non-monetary paid performer, compensation comes from another means depending on the circumstance of the performance.

Finally, I agree with you about the importance of enjoyment of ones work, but disagree it is the first question. if happiness of ones work is the first question, then most people would quit their jobs as they are unsatisfied in the workplace.

Walter
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Maybe we should stop worrying if we're entertaining, and instead worry about creating art.
Professor Philemon Vanderbeck
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Mindpro
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There ya go, and preservation and rebuilding of our industry. In the process some will get crunched.

Some great insights here, but as you can see, many are simply incapable of understanding the greater picture other than only how it pertains to themselves. Isn't that where the trivialization really begins? The more these people speak, the more it only proves the point.
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My silence can be seen as my answer to the question...
Robb
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Well, the conversation was healthy for awhile... No longer.
Mindpro
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Isn't it interesting how the OP hasn't responded or participated to the deliberate and intentional stirring up thread he started? Gotta love magicians.
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If I can rudder this bucket back into the jet-stream...

Are there actually any working Mentalists who feel that amateurs are trivializing The Craft through incompetence, overexposure, hybridizing or other reasons?

And if so, how does Trivialization adversely affect their work?
What do you propose to do about it?

As the voice of a reasonable amateur, I can tell you we are relentless. Patronizing us on obscure forums will fail; you'll never chide us into classy. We are just ignorant flubbers with gaffes hanging out of our sleeves (and cash in our pockets) straining to hear your whispered secrets so we can impress girls and uncles.
.


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MagicalEducator
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On Dec 23, 2015, Mindpro wrote:
Isn't it interesting how the OP hasn't responded or participated to the deliberate and intentional stirring up thread he started? Gotta love magicians.


Why? Do they all do what you're suggesting? And what is it that you're suggesting they do? What if one was to say "Gotta love mentalists"? as in they always know better than everyone else. How is that even possible? I guess that's what makes them mentalists.
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MagicalEducator
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On Dec 23, 2015, Mindpro wrote:
There ya go, and preservation and rebuilding of our industry. In the process some will get crunched.

Some great insights here, but as you can see, many are simply incapable of understanding the greater picture other than only how it pertains to themselves. Isn't that where the trivialization really begins? The more these people speak, the more it only proves the point.


Is it defined as great insight because you agree with it? Is that what makes it great? Are people incapable of understanding or do they simply disagree with your flawed/self serving arguments? This impasse doesn't trivialize anything. The trivialization occurs when you dismiss all other ideas as inconsequential and make yourself the grand arbitrator of all things pertaining to mentalism. The same goes for Walter and his economic model of the prostitution of mentalism. When one doesn't agree with him they get told that they haven't read their previous posts correctly. Always the blame game from people who know better. My theory of the trivialization of mentalism is the great number of performers who sell their wares anywhere they can. If people were truly interested in changing anything that would be a place to start. Blame the magicians? Stop selling your precious secrets to them. Blame the Internet? Stop hawking your products and have a little more respect for the art you claim to value so much. Even esteemed members of that organization that is not to be named do this. You can buy their work on Amazon thanks to Marketplace of the Mind. You can't have it both ways and still blame magicians.

Jeff
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WDavis
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Jeff,

My two comments to you in response so not derail this thread again,

I never disagreed with you regarding the influx of performers selling their wares ( if you truly read and understood my application of the kinked curve model you would see your argument resides within mine). I am open to opposing opinions as long as it is thru CONSTRUCTIVE dialogue without disparaging comments, because is how people grow and learn.

Finally, stop taking my words and twisting them on a public forum to intentionally or unintentually taint my character and image. I said it politely, now I will be direct, you are treading on libel defamation of my person, by falsely accusing me by twisting my words as fact against me. I have proven you have done so prior and if you continue to do so, I will escalate to higher authorities.

Good bye sir,
Walter
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