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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The words we use » » This is pathetic. (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

magicgetsgirls
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I was looking through a Random House Dictionary today, and the following is the definition for patter...

"Meaningless, rapid talk, mere chatter."
Although many could debate this definition does not depict what we do as magicians,(Wow, that was a lot of "D's"!) I beleive it does. In fact, many otherwise good magicians make me cringe when I see good effects turn to crap simply by the poor way they are being presented. (This obviously includes script.)

In my opinion, anyone who feels that a trick can be turned into a worthy effect simply by "pattering" is cutting themselves short. If you are one of these people, try and put some worthy time into writing your script.

Or better yet, think of a powerful idea / theme, and THEN find a worthy effect. Don't just find an effect you like and blabber about it. After all, magic deserves a lot more credit than "Meaningless, rapid talk."

Best of luck to you all.
Someone who can use his hands is a laborer. Someone who can use his hands, and his mind is a craftsmen. Someone who can use his hands, his mind, and his heart is an artist.
Peter Marucci
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Magic(etc.),
The dictionary definition of patter, and what other magicians mean by the word may be two very different things.

No one would argue that presentation isn't all-important.

And, sometimes, it is "patter" that makes the presentation; that's "patter", the magic definition, not "patter", the dictionary definition.
Mike Wild
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Webster's Magical Dictionary (yeah... I made that up) defines patter as:

pat·ter
1. One side of a dialog, related to the storyline or premise of a routine that aids, contributes to, or strengthens the magical effect in some way.

2. Something that a number of magicians do not fully understand or use properly.

Best,

Mike
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Jonathan Townsend
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Spoken part of script for peformance of magic trick.

The key to this is the script.
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Frank Tougas
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Patter is just a very old term appropriated by Vaudeville performers and used by magicians of that era. It is simply a slang way to denote what is said during the performance and this was understood by those in the business as in "My act has songs, dance and snappy patter."

It should in no way reflect blathering or lack of careful scripting. Mr. Webster does not know all or see all.

Personally I like Wildstones new dictionary entry. By the way here is one more..."the opposite of pitter"

:) Frank
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Peter Marucci
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Frank Tougas writes: By the way here is one more..."the opposite of pitter".

Aaaargh!

BTW, if I wanted to hear the pitter-patter of little feet around my house, I'd put shoes on my cat!

:)
Jonathan Townsend
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Dictionary of newspeak?

Pathetic is when the encyclopedia says porcupines can shoot quills.

Pathetic is when people expect those who do a thing to be able to explain a thing.

Pathetic is where sorrow would be wasted.

The Complete Magician's guide to language?
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prettylady1990
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I like your Mike. It's funny but true
Mike Wild
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I like my Mike too Smile That's me... funny but true!

Jon - Magicians do have somewhat of a language of their own, not only verbal, but physical as well. When I think and talk with my peers about magic, performance, illusion, etc., it's all in terms of line of site, angles, beats, etc. Do you think a non magician would thoroughly understand what is meant by the phrase, " wait 2 or 3 "beats", and then open your hand...".

After a while we start to think and speak more like philosopher mathematicians than like "normal" people.

Best,

Mike
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Jonathan Townsend
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Specialized language serves political purposes.

Those who understand a thing can discuss it in very plain language.

The beat goes on.
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Mike Wild
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RE: "Specialized language serves political purposes"

Agreed, it's also indicative of

1. Laziness, as in not working out the proper wording, opting instead to use common lingo and slang.

2. Low Self-Esteem, as in an attempt to make something appear exclusive and more important than it really is. i.e., "Sanitation Engineer vs. Garbage Collector.

3. Weak Social Skills, as seen in many people in my profession (information technology). Able to solve the worlds digital woes in a flash... but cannot carry on a normal conversation to save their lives. "How's the weather?" "Well, I'm not certain at present, but I could create a spanning tree algorithm to compute the probable answers to that..."

It's funny how specialized or cryptic language functions... even funnier how many people use it. I think it must be human nature... at some level.

Best,

Mike
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"Question Reality... Create Illusion"
CamelotFX
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Other than transitions while the crew moves the props, stage magicians (the Pendragons, for example) don't talk. They sort of dance and pose. Mrs. Pendragon looks better in a catsuit than Teller. Hahahaha!
Jonathan Townsend
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OMG... the images of Penn and Teller doing the Pendragon act... funny!
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muzicman
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All professions have their own lingo and uses of words. It is interesting sometimes to listen to the words my co-workers use from a laypersons perspective. I work in telecom and a very highly technical, leading edge environment. My 10 year old daughter heard me explaining a technical solution to a complex problem to a co-worker over the phone. She said when I got off the phone.. "I have no idea what language you were speaking". It was funny after that to listen to technology lingo conversations in the workplace. All professions have their own lingo, and different meanings of what would be considered ordinary words.

Patter to me is the spoken part of my act. It is not meaningless and presents the verbal images of who I am, and why I'm there. To me, magic without patter is somewhat empty. This is not true for all effects so don't flame me. I just feel that without patter, it just becomes a visual puzzle to the audience. I love patter, as it allows me to transform an ordinary trick into a great effect. Patter matters!
Daniel Faith
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Don't jump to conclusion magicgetsgirls.
Patter goes much deeper than what you get as a definition out of a dictionary.
Daniel Faith
Bill Palmer
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This discussion has gotten into areas which are misunderstood by most magicians.

As magicians, our technical language or "argot," has evolved to contain elements from the different arts and technologies that it encompasses. The definitions for these will not be found in a normal dictionary, unless we look to the third or fourth meaning in a list of definitions. Dictionaries such as the Webster's Collegiate Dictionary or the American Heritage Dictionary are not intended to serve as specialized technological dictionaries. If you look up medical terms in one of these dictionaries, the definition you get will not necessarily be totally accurate. So, let me go a bit further.

For example -- "patter" will have the most basic definition, which has already been given above. However, in musicals, the word "patter" refers to not only some of the scripting, but more often to songs with very fast lyrics, such as "Modern Major General." That's called "a patter song."

As magicians, we have adopted our own argot, or "inside language," not only for the purpose of concealing meaning from the outsiders, but also to make our conversations and our descriptions of things more compact. There is no reason for us to say, "Holding the top two cards as one, in perfect alignment, turn them face-up on the top of the pack," when "execute a double turnover" accomplishes the same thing in about 1/5 of the words.

However, some words also have a negative context, as does "patter." Too often, our scripting is no longer a script, but meaningless babble that serves as a semi-rhytmic accomaniment to equally meaningless movement.

And that is what we should try to eliminate.

Over the past twenty years, I have NEVER referred to the words spoken while performing any of the items I have written up as "patter."
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Jonathan Townsend
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Quote:
On 2004-11-10 14:30, Bill Palmer wrote:
This discussion has gotten into areas which are misunderstood by most magicians.
...
Over the past twenty years, I have NEVER referred to the words spoken while performing any of the items I have written up as "patter."


I suspect your audiences would not hear your presentations as patter.
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BarryFernelius
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I never use the word "patter" unless it is preceded by the word "pitter." Smile
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tommy
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In England con men often use the term "Patter" It means to talk persuasively. As in “I gave him the patter and he fell for it, hook line and sinker” Or “Be careful, he is good with the patter, he could make you believe black is white” I would not be surprised if the word, in this context, is not centuries old. It is similar to the way magicians use it. It sounds like it comes from persuasive chatter to me. Con men and magicians are both in the business of deception and it makes sense that they might use the same terms. Look at how many terms have come from the card table experts that are now used by magicians and visa versa.
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swiftshifter
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Why is it exactly that many magicicans fail to uderstand that though a trick, by itsself, will work and probably even amaze, patter is also a part of the trick? It's like getting a space shuttle into orbit, the slightest speck of dust during construction would lead to disastrous results.

Just some thoughts.
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