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Alan Wheeler
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If you are ready, the definitive answer may be here:

Ear Biscuits: Are Magicians Acually Cool?

As Rhet says in the podcast, "This is not a joke. This is serious."
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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George Ledo
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My whole problem with this question is that you can't lump "magicians" into one envelope. The people we call "magicians" (as well as those who call themselves "magicians") fall into a lot of different categories, including:

Those who went to a local trick shop, or online, for the first time, and bought one packet trick which they did for someone that same day.

Those who belong to a magicians' organization but don't perform.

Those who only perform at the local magic club.

Those who make a part-time income from performing magic.

Those who make a full-time income from performing magic.

And lots of combinations of the above, plus lots of other categories.

Also, whether they are cool or not depends on the viewer. Many years ago when I was doing my cards and doves act, most people who watched me thought I was very good at it, but a few who didn't watch me (and just made a value judgement) thought I must be a dork.
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donny
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The heart here is a comparison(unknowingly, I'll wager) between a large stage performer (big dynamic actions required. -Unnamed, but "Anthony the Magic" likely) on a small stage and a subtle performer (Zabrecky) on a small stage. Podcast opinion: some magic is cheesy and outdated (reason unknown, 80s music maybe) and some is really cool (not sure why).
It's not their senses that mislead, it's their assumptions.
Ray Pierce
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"Are Magicians Actually Cool?" The simple answer is, No. Magicians by and large are socially dysfunctional people who buy secrets in a misguided attempt to psychologically dominate others. Yes, some rise above that to become great entertainers but the large part of the bell curve of mediocre magicians are not cool. We need to admit why many of us were attracted to magic to understand why the magic "stigma" is founded in reality. We found out that by learning a secret, that we could place ourselves in a false superiority over others. Some of us learned to transcend this initial appeal to learn to inspire wonder and amazement from our audiences. Others did not. Isn't the goal to transcend the level of mediocrity and create and inspire richer experiences from our audiences? The rest will simply be happy to fool others. To make themselves feel superior due to their knowing a secret that some don't. It's the cheapest of rewards and results it a shallow victory. Only by understanding the more enlightened approach to the gift we have the potential to give can we hope to elevate our art into something that elicits the respect we need to make magic into the art form we ultimately desire.
Ray Pierce
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Mindpro
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Very well said Ray. The answer is absolutely NO! Magic itself has lost its cool including awe and wonder, so how possibly cool magicians be cool?

And cool for what, learning a secret? Performing some trucks? Making a youtube video that screams "I know a secret and how its done" (to share what is not even theirs to share), and "look at me and what I know/can do"? All of this is the antithesis of cool.

What's really a shame is that a magician even has to ask this without knowing the truth.

Go ask a kid what is cooler a fireman or a magician? Firemen always. Go ask an entertainment committee whats cooler a magician or a hypnotist? Hypnotist, hands down.
Dannydoyle
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I would like to define the term "magician" if we can. Because without actually knowing who we are talking about, the question can never be answered.

The large problem is that for some reason in magic there is an acceptance that anyone who purchases an Invisible Deck, a Thumb Tip learns the 21 card trick and buys 500 business cards from Vista Print is now a "magician". They are equal in knowledge and stature to Copperfield all in the name of "brotherhood". (This by the way is the equivalent of thinking every Kareoke singer is in the same category of Roger Daltry. But nobody seems to believe that.) They sit on the internet and pontificate about theory, all while doing other jobs to earn a living. IS there a difference?

So the idea that we lump in ALL "magicians" into a single category and then try to ask this question is absolutely ridiculous. So please define the word "magician" and we can have an actual answer that is meaningful.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
George Ledo
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I brought this up here a few years ago and it didn't go over too well...

Back when I was a high-strung teenager haunting the local magic shops and hanging out at my IBM ring, the term "amateur magician" was in use and accepted pretty much by everyone. It wasn't a judgement call or a comment on the person't ability: it was simply a description of the fact that he or she didn't make a living at doing magic, IOW, he or she was a hobbyist. Someone would say, "I'm an amateur magician," and that was that.

At some point later, there were serious and often heated discussions and arguments about the term "semi-professional," as if it somehow made someone "better" or "higher up the ladder" than an amateur. The discussions went on to argue about percentages, time in magic, and so on and on. And, believe it or not, there were even some about the difference between a "semi-professional" and a "part-time professional." Some of these discussions were beyond ludicrous... but they were hilarious.

Now it's all one big envelope, which makes questions like "Are magicians actually cool?" totally pointless.
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Dannydoyle
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George you're right it is NOT a judgement. Yes the discussions get heated, because of EGO.

The idea that it is bad is beyond ludicrous you are right. I like to fish for example. I fish a lot, whenever I can and I know a LOT about fishing. BUT I am NOT a professional fisherman, and I am not on the level of Babe Winkeleman. I would never assume because I can catch some fish and use the same gear and know how to tie the same knots, that I am on his level. It is my hobby. Same with golf, and all my other hobbies. The knowledge that there is a difference in the distinction does not bother me. For some reason in the magic world this is an issue.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Mindpro
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So true
Dannydoyle
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What do you mean by that? I'm as good a fishermen as ol Babe!
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Mindpro
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You're probably as good of golfer as Babe.

I meant the EGO part and the "For some reason in the magic world this is an issue."
Dannydoyle
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I'm nowhere near as good a golfer as I like to think.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
donny
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"All professions are conspiracies against the laity" (George Bernard-Shaw 1906)
So I mitigate you point a bit, Ray.
It's not their senses that mislead, it's their assumptions.
B.W. McCarron
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I used to think that the magician Bill Bixby portrayed on the TV series "The Magician" was cool.
Nowadays, lay people think that David Blaine is cool.
The old guy doing magic with soiled silks at the kids birthday party? Not so much.
danaruns
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You guys are arguing about (and deriding) those who call themselves "magicians," and I'm comforted that I don't think I know a single person of the kind described here by MindPro; i.e., the socially awkward person who uses magic to attempt to psychologically dominate others. I've always heard about such people, but I'm blessed never to have known any. The magicians I know simply love magic, love the rush of entertaining people, and love performing. And that's cool. A few, I suppose, no longer love any of it, as the realities of being a magician have beat them down over the decades, and yet their cool remains.

The magicians I know are cool. All of them. From Naathan Phan and Robert Ramirez, to Misty Lee and Misty Mew, to John Lovick and Jim Steinmeyer, to Pop Haydn and Rob Zabrecky, to Jeff McBride and Mat Franco, and to students, amateurs, semi-pros and pros you've never heard of, each and every one of them is cool, and each loves magic for what it is, not what it can do for them socially. Then again, I don't know anyone who is physically or emotionally 12 years old. I know artists, craftsmen, enthusiasts, and students of all skill levels, and each one is in magic for magic's sake, not in some dysfunctional attempt to be perceived by others as "cool" (even if they may have started that way when they were 12).

Maybe uncool magicians are everywhere, and I'm just fortunate to not know any of them. I just know that I'm super lucky to have lots and lots of cool magicians in my life. Those who surround my life are most definitely cool, and that leads me to the conclusion that magicians overall are cool.

Maybe if you're concerned with who is cool, you are not cool.
"Dana Douglas is the greatest magician alive. Plus, I'm drunk." -- Foster Brooks
Senor Fabuloso
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"Are Magicians Actually Cool?" Yes I am. Drops the mic and walks away with swagger.
No matter how many times you say the wrong thing, it will NEVER be right.

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Charles Gaff
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I like to think I'm cool to every kid that gets a bit of wonder in their eye when their experience with the world expands just a bit. On the other hand, we live in the information age. So often, they are awed, but then their brains must figure out the method. Like mentioned earlier, it becomes a quest for secrets. This isn't the Dark Ages where I would be hailed as devine, or hung as a heritic. ((Just kidding, I'm not that good.) I am.)) Many people think "magic" is silly. Someone thinking they are smooth by lying to your face, distracting you to do the dirty work, all while hitting on your girlfriend.

Cool is just a category. It's fluid. But if you are truly entertaining, and not just a glorified babysitter or ego maniac that thinks they are better than people who will probably forget about you in 20 min and a double, than cool is an acceptable word. If that's what you think cool means, anyways.
critter
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I've met very few uncool magicians. Lance Burton has to be one of the coolest dudes on the planet.

Luckily the definition of "cool" is also broadening to include us socially awkward dorks as there's less social stigma in being passionate about something.

I also can't think of very many magicians who do it to "dominate" anyone. Most I've met saw someone do something beautiful with the art and fell in love with that. A Cardini, or a Lance Burton, or a Teller. There are so many inspirational people in magic creating beautiful things with it. That's pretty cool.
"The fool is one who doesn't know what you have just found out."
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critter
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I would also point to the success of the Comic Cons and how many magicians frequent them. This event has gone from small local events 20+ years ago for fringe interests to the cultural epicenter of entertainment- the medium that tends to define what is cool in the public eye.

I'm not saying I'm cool, I have a Klingon language app on my phone and collect coins and vintage Halloween decorations, but most magicians I'm aware of are pretty cool. Heck, look at Pakar Illusi from this forum, dude is a movie star!

Magic is (mostly) cool. Magicians are (mostly) cool.
"The fool is one who doesn't know what you have just found out."
~Will Rogers


"This I offer in explanation of how it was that I found myself in my undergarments as I sat in my cell attempting to plot my escape."
~Professor Phineas Valeyard, Miskatonic University Dept.of Psychodynamic Natural History.

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longhaired1
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A lot of people think IT'S cool that I'm a magician, not that I'M cool because I'm a magician.
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