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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » Acknowledging it's all a trick (48 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Pit Boss
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Saw Garrett Thomas lecture last night. He said he likes mentalism, but ONLY when performed by magicians as part of a magic act. His reasoning? That when delivered seriously, people believe it's real and it frightens them, and it's borderline unethical.
Yeah. And I like balloon doggies, but only when twisted by a ventriloquist. Smile
Stevious
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On Sep 21, 2016, David Thiel wrote:
Having worked corporate almost exclusively for years, I don't think disclaimers are more common at all. What IS common is to say nothing either way. When asked I tell them that I am not doing anything they couldn't do. I explain that I accomplish what I do by using a combination of method, technique and intuition. This is absolutely true.

I call myself a mind reader because, ultimately that's what I am. Using techniques, methods and intuition, I really can reveal what you are thinking...and I can honestly say that I feel exactly ZERO percentage of guilt about this.

Saying "Gee...what you've just seen is all tricks" would strip the mystique away from the performance...and that would be deadly from a marketing perspective. Let me say (again) that part of the appeal of mentalism is the tantalizing possibility that what's happening in front of them just might be real. And on the heels of that "Hmmm....if he can do that, maybe I can too."

David


The last thing the audience wants to hear after a great performance is that it was all simple tricks done with sleight of hand and trickery, the whole show could be like a waste of time for them.

People will usually ask how it is done, if one uses a disclaimer it doesn't need to be so drastic. A great example is above, other simple explanations are provided by Brown and Banachek. They are so famous that it would be very misleading and risky if they lied in every interview that it is only psychology.

Equally they could ruin the art of mentalism by using a disclaimer: 'it's all tricks', and therefore it is not worth seeing.

When asked, to remain ethical, one does not have to use very dishonest... claims.
B_man2012
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On Sep 22, 2016, Stevious wrote:

People will usually ask how it is done, if one uses a disclaimer it doesn't need to be so drastic. A great example is above, other simple explanations are provided by Brown and Banachek. They are so famous that it would be very misleading and risky if they lied in every interview that it is only psychology.

Equally they could ruin the art of mentalism by using a disclaimer: 'it's all tricks', and therefore it is not worth seeing.

When asked, to remain ethical, one does not have to use very dishonest... claims.


Regarding Brown, I feel most of the laymen will believe that psychology is the MO for most of his demonstrations. He does use a disclaimer, at least in his TV-show Trick of the Mind, but most of the audience, including some (amateur) mentalist will buy the psychology explanations or they will add their own such as NLP or covert hypnosis. There are some that believe that he is psychic and they will continue to believe that despite any disclaimers or confessions. This is true for other performers as well, Banachek and others talk a lot about people coming backstage and asking them why they refuse to admit they have psychic powers.

My opinion is that disclaimers are, for the most part, redundant. Just imagine if during a movie or a theater play they stop after every scene and explain that the murder / UFO / talking bear was just the fabrication of the screenwriter and that it wasn't real. It is real in that context as is the mindreading you do real in that context you create.

I feel there's lot of grey area and that morals and ethics of performing mentalism and similar depend largely on the context.
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E.E.
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With great power, comes great responsibility.

An actor does not feel gulty for pretending to be something he is not, because he knows his audience knows that he is acting.
The thing with mentalism is that the line is very blurred. You can not admit you are just acting/doing tricks, because mentalism main goal is to entertain an audience by convincing them you possess some kind of psychic ability.

If you admit you are just using trickery (which we are not...) then you become a mental magician.

The math is very straight forward: If you say what you are doing is not real, then you must be acting... then you must be cheating to create the impression that you are psychic... then you must be doing tricks...magicians do tricks, then you are a magician and you are performing magic...with a mental theme!... so you are a mental magician... then what you call mentalism is just magic with a mental theme.


As I said in the beginning of this post- "With great power comes great responsability"
If you are not willing to take or assume that responsability, then don't take the job. You can still perform your mental magic and throw disclaimers willy-nilly, just don't pretend you are a mentalist.
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Mindpro
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Quote:
On Sep 23, 2016, E.E. wrote:
With great power, comes great responsibility.

If you admit you are just using trickery (which we are not...) then you become a mental magician.

The math is very straight forward: If you say what you are doing is not real, then you must be acting... then you must be cheating to create the impression that you are psychic... then you must be doing tricks...magicians do tricks, then you are a magician and you are performing magic...with a mental theme!... so you are a mental magician... then what you call mentalism is just magic with a mental theme.
You can still perform your mental magic and throw disclaimers willy-nilly, just don't pretend you are a mentalist.



That is it, really quite simple. I might ad it is still the same whether one admits they are using trickery or not. Still a magician or mental magician. Magician's try to complicate it. Most that say or believe they're mentalists are not. They can not even be real and honest with themselves. What you have stated is very clearly offered. It only gets cloudy when it gets in the hands of those claiming to be mentalists that aren't.

I wish these types of performers could let go of the mentality that they are mentalists and just be proud and content being a magician or mental magician rather than all the extra efforts and claims just to twist it and justify it in their eyes. It doesn't need to be that complicated and thwre doesn't need to really even be a debate.
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I usually leave people to make up their own minds after a show. Off stage I make no force claims and describe what I did as a piece of entertainment. "Were you entertained?"

On stage the whole thing is an act and I can do and say anything just like you can in a stage play. I find it funny that if I was in a stage play I can claim that this woman is my wife and these youngsters are my children and at no stage does anyone come on stage and say "Actually he is not married to this women and those are not his children he is just pretending." So during my show I act according to the routine I am doing. Generally I don't like to make statements and prefer to just lead the audience and leave them to make up their own minds.
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IAIN
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Quote:
On Sep 23, 2016, E.E. wrote:
If you admit you are just using trickery (which we are not...) then you become a mental magician.

The math is very straight forward: If you say what you are doing is not real, then you must be acting... then you must be cheating to create the impression that you are psychic... then you must be doing tricks...magicians do tricks, then you are a magician and you are performing magic...with a mental theme!... so you are a mental magician... then what you call mentalism is just magic with a mental theme.


and
Quote:
On Sep 23, 2016, E.E. wrote:
If you are not willing to take or assume that responsability, then don't take the job. You can still perform your mental magic and throw disclaimers willy-nilly, just don't pretend you are a mentalist.


genuinely interested in this...

so, what if you don't say its trickery, but you also don't want to say you are psychic or some kind of master of psychology?

what then?
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IAIN
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To be clear, what if you say you are *something else - whatever it is* that doesn't cover those three things of:

trickery
psychic
psychological type

if its still "mind-based", is it not allowed to be labelled as mentalism?
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E.E.
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You raise a good point. Got an example?
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Alan Wheeler
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One example is Kenton's signature disclaimer, which he asked that others NOT use verbatim:

"It's not fake. It's not real. It's symbolic."
The views and comments expressed on this post may be mere speculation and are not necessarily the opinions, values, or beliefs of Alan Wheeler.
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IAIN
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Well, look at the term mentalism from a philosophical angle...

"the theory that physical and psychological phenomena are ultimately explicable only in terms of a creative and interpretative mind"

then think about the shifts in how mentalism has been presented, even the opening paragraph from Annemmann himself decrying about turbans, crude eletronics and so on...the new age and hippy stuff from the 60s onwards, its all shifted a little or a lot...

and then how someone could be labelled as an empath 100 years ago, when (maybe) they were naturally good at understanding micro-muscle facial movements?

or how we understand how powerful the imagination is, or what we are starting to understand about what "voices in our head" actually are for some people?

why do we choose not to progress in little ways here and there? I understand that the two main ways or presenting mentalism is either psychic or psychological (and you could argue that anything and everything we do could be under that umbrella term - 'psychological') - can be very believable and 'impressive', but why don't we progress and evolve a little too?
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E.E.
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Ok...

I guess that if the source of your power is your mind, whether by claiming psychic/psychological abilities or something else that is "mind based" it can be labelled as mentalism.

I get your point, Iain. Progressing and evolving is good, as long as you are following the right path. If you don't, all of the sudden the final product will no longer be mentalism. It will be something else.

Consider this following analogy...

Rock and roll is called rock and roll for a reason (A certain kind of beat, certain kinds of instruments, etc) if you decide to evolve and start using different rythms, different instruments, a different beat... well that's no longer rock and roll. It's something else.

You can do very well with that something else, and that's good, but you can't pretend you have a rock band when you don't.
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Mindpro
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Quote:
On Sep 23, 2016, Shrubsole wrote:
On stage the whole thing is an act and I can do and say anything just like you can in a stage play. I find it funny that if I was in a stage play I can claim that this woman is my wife and these youngsters are my children and at no stage does anyone come on stage and say "Actually he is not married to this women and those are not his children he is just pretending." So during my show I act according to the routine I am doing. Generally I don't like to make statements and prefer to just lead the audience and leave them to make up their own minds.


Herein lies another problem or concern. People come to a play knowing it is a production based on a story and that the people in the play/cast aren't real and are actors playing a role. Fine, great.

That is NOT how people come to see a live performer presenting their show. If you are a magician, they don't expect you to be an actor playing the part of a magician, they truly expect a magician (contrary to many magician's own beliefs of they are an actor portraying a magician. That's their THEIR approach or premise). If you are a mentalist, they expect you to be a mentalist, which usually means psychic or having real such related abilities.

Like much of this thread the vast majority is from the performer's perspective and belief. It is not the same as they audiences, bookers, clients, promoters, agents, etc. They expect you to be what you claim, and even more so what they believe it to be. They expect what they believe it to be is real. So all this talk about do you (as performers) use a disclaimer, are they a magician, mental magician, or mentalist, it as E.E. said being able to be what you claim you are as real and in the eyes if those people, audience, bookers, promoters, agents, etc.

At some point you have to stop thinking it is all about you and work from the industry's perspective and that of those our shows are for. It's the denial of this or lack of true understanding of this, combined with many variations of "performer's thinking" that creates the problems and contrast.
Mindpro
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Yes, while Iain may be correct, it is not how our targets see it or us. It can be much different that our deep analyization and technical delving.
IAIN
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Yeah, I do kinda agree...i've said many times before, don't consider myself a mentalist, haven't done in ages...

looking back, though it was great - I want 'more' and 'different' and 'personal to me'...

going back to your example...

even though the band Taste were at its core, an irish blues/rock band, it still had (at its core) irish folk, jazz, rock, blues, RnB elements in it...and Rory Gallagher will forever be one of the finest blues guitarists...but he could also express himself on a mandolin, play rock n roll on one, even though he would play traditional gaelic folk songs on it too...

i agree there's a cut off point, but its not much of a step away if you look at someone like Muddy Waters and Hendrix in some ways, but its also a huge leap in others...you could easily see them both play together (pretty sure they did), but Hendrix took all those techniques, and by playing with people like Little Richard, Isley Brothers and many others - he eventually expressed himself via those same techniques...

does that not still make him (at heart) a bluesman too? just a different version of one...
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IAIN
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On Sep 23, 2016, Mindpro wrote:
Yes, while Iain may be correct, it is not how our targets see it or us. It can be much different that our deep analyization and technical delving.


maybe its a cultural thing, in the uk people are more than willing to talk openly about beliefs and non-beliefs, there's far less believers over here (statistically) than the states...

one of the benefits of giving lots of readings in different busy bars in london is, you get such a wide spread of people - and there's no room for manouvering...you are sat face to face (well, I like 'em to sit next to me) with that person, and you get all kinds of people believing in all kinds of things - and that comes spilling out of them very quickly...

there are no outs available as a reader...not really...you live and die by what you say...so you learn very quickly how people's own filters kick in and how that can be either interesting and fun, or potentially dangerous...

not everyone interested in a reading is also a bona fide 'believer' - especially over here...

lots of those "most haunted" shows (with a psychic medium and NV cameras with a presenter) are seen as ridiculous to most, there's just a small and strong-minded stream of believers who will never engage in reasonable debate about what they see...
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Mindpro
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For sure there are differences in our areas. I've been saying that since the beginning of the Euro-mentalism movement. Even the way we refer to mentalism is not just different, but opposite. Your whole explanation of one on one reading, person to person in a bar, isn't even a thought in any reference I've made when I speak of mentalism. I'm talking about a "show" (full performance) in front of an audience (a body of people). Again, even by this basic difference in "mentalism" at the foundation anything that follows will certainly differ. The fact that you even think of that style of presentation and readings as mentalism is not even at all what I was referencing when I speak of mentalism. You are right, cultural differences for sure.
IAIN
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Yup - certainly not talking about mentalism stage shows, have zero experience in that field...

surely that's all we can do here - just talk from our own perspective...never seen the point in creating unecessary divides when there's no need for them Smile
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Mindpro
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It's not creating a divide it's only acknowledging it exists. It is also the primary basis for the wide differences in this forum. If these foundational differences exist at this level, everything that follows will only follow suit. People are often talking about two different things more often than not. Two different things being referred to as the same thing - mentalism. I think members forget the foundation of this forum. People seem to want to twist it (and mentalism) to their personal needs and interpretations.
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Quote:
On Sep 23, 2016, Mindpro wrote:
People seem to want to twist it (and mentalism) to their personal needs and interpretations.


And what is wrong about that?
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