The word "MAGIC" and its negative connotations

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Mr.Presidigitation, Nov 14, 2012.

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  1. I have always had a problem with the word "magic"
    Here I will tell you what I mean when I say that the word magic has negative connotations.
    Specifically the negative cultural associations that go along with the word magic/magician.
    When I and many laymen hear the word magic/magician I immediately connect it to geeky or nerdy persons.
    In other words magic is just not a cool word.
    As someone who has always been a main player I was always trying to protect my reputation.
    Of course I am a "magician" and I love "magic" but I do not welcome the magician stereotypes.
    I do not want to be seem as the weird and nerdy guy who does so called "magic"
    For this reason I never once in my life have referred to myself as a magician who performs magic.
    Believe me it makes a huge difference in regards to your persona and reputation.
    They will not see you as the guy who believes in fairies and pixy dust but an awesome person who can perform sick and amazing tricks.


    I am also displeased by the word magic because at these modern times we have a myriad of scientific knowledge.
    I would go as far as to say that the intellectual capacity of most people are on higher levels than they where in olden times.
    I guarantee you that no one is foolish enough to still believe in "magic"
    Only the most ignorant and backwards of people will believe in magic but in general the majority will not.
    what I propose is for people to stop referring to what they do as "magic" and come up with a new term.
    This of course is in hopes that the art form will be looked as less geeky and more serious and realistic.
    I am not a huge Criss Angel fan but I respect the fact that he calls some of his "magic"...mindfreaks.
    At least he tried.

    In this thread lets discuss alternative titles and tell me why you agree with me.
  2. #2 Seawood, Nov 14, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 14, 2012
    The way that I have always counteracted the problem of ‘magic’ and ‘magician’ as labels is by referring to myself as a Deception Artist, because people, don’t know what that is, ask. That allows me to quantify it as whatever I want.
    Its an old idea used by many, David Blaine used the term ‘street magic’ to differentiate himself form the top hat and tails stereotype, Derren Brown who refers to himself as a physiological illusionist. And of course Theory 11 itself has always marketed itself on the idea of being a hub of ‘Underground magic’.
    Realistically when it comes down to it, it is entirely up to you and what sort of work you want to do, David Copperfield was always just a ‘Magician’ and he is the 10th highest paid celebrity in the world.
    I think as much as anything, it is our own pretention that makes us worry about things like this.
  3. Out of topic but....
    I doubt David Copperfield or anyone of his sort can presently be as successful as they where back in the 80's or 90s.
    We are living in a different era.
    An era of technology and information.
    I always considered Copperfield as someone who was performing illusions and not magic tricks.
    He is not a a famous magician he is a famous illusionist and I am displeased when people refer to him as a great magician.
    All about semantics here.

    Also your term is pretty cool
    I wouldnt reffer myself that but I am ok with it
  4. A "sanitation engineer" is still a garbageman. Whatever "title" you come up with, you are only fooling yourself. Don't let the label define you but instead define the label. What I do is MAGIC.
  5. Of course you can define it yourself, but depending on how you introduce yourself the spectators perception of you may change. I feel like cringing when I tell someone I do magic, particularly people older than myself, as usually they're expecting the kind of thing you would see a 10 year old do after an hour or two on youtube. This is a good setup to impress them a bit when you can actually start to do some good magic, but it can be embarrassing.
  6. I do dislike the connotations of "magician" and "magic" in my city particularly. There are quite a few magicians here and most of them are of the 'lame kid's birthday party' variety. So I don't tell people I'm a magician, because of the association they have already formed. I've been toying with the idea of using 'paranormal illusionist' since that's what I'm shifting my focus to, but normally I just avoid labeling myself all together. Instead I generally just say I'm a performance artist (which also covers the other forms of performance I do as well)
  7. Don't let anybody label you. If somebody wants to scoff at the fact that you do magic. Then they aren't worth your time and energy.

  8. Actually David Copperfield IS a famous magician, and a great magician, no matter how displeased you are with that. Behind all this pseudo knowledge on what magic is and should be seen as, my guess is you're a guy who's starting out and doesn't want to be associated with silks and white rabbits. Here's how you avoid that stereotype, don't do effects with silks and white rabbits.

    Concentrate more on your magic and less on whether or not it's going to hurt your 'rep'.

    Also, what is a 'main player'?
  9. But I do believe in magic. I don't believe in supernatural powers but rather the "magic" that happens when our brain cannot explain something therefore it seems to be supernatural. Even if people here the word "magic" and immediatly think some kid in a top hat cap and wand, once you show them what you actually do that image should be SHATTERED.

    Interesting read by the way.
  10. I would agree with you but then we would end up with two wrongs,
    And two wrongs dont make a right,
    A person who has accumulated a vast amount of experience and understanding makes a right,
    That person is not you,
    That person is me.

    You say this and u are correct however the distinction is faulty.
    The idea of calling yourself a magician who does magic is silly imo
    If you call yourself a "mindfreak" you have created a definition.
    Definition = Creation
    They will forget for a while that you are actually some dude performing "magic" tricks.
    That is if you really sell it and differentiate yourself from the stereotypical party clowns.

    1.Actually no hes not,
    He is famous for his stage illusions and he is technically an illusionist.
    It looks like you have your definitions all wrong bro.

    2.Fortunately that is quite the polarization of the actual case.

    3.A Main player is someone who is of importance,
    The name can be different in different situations but in the end of the day a main player is someone who is known, someone who is important, someone who is in charge- a position of power.. ect
    Remember back in high school those kids who sat at the cool table?
    I was one of them.
    Remember that time where you had group project in college?
    I was the leader.
    You know that cool guy you call because you have nothing cool to do?
    I am that guy.
  11. Well said Randy,
    I walk around all day with a deck of cards in my hands practicing different flourishes and manoeuvres, and if someone asks me why I'm doing them I tell them its because I'm a magician. They usually laugh at me but I don't pay attention to that, and I keep practicing, because I see myself getting better everyday (which isn't that hard when you aren't a great magician to begin with like me).

    Dear Mr. Predigestion,
    You are actually wrong about that. He is in fact an illusionist, but thats not what he's famous for. He's famous for being a magician. If you ask someone on the street who David Copperfield is, they'll tell you that he's a famous magician. They won't say that David Copperfield is a famous illusionist. Most laymen don't know what an illusionist is.

    I applaud you for your humour! However, you have mentioned in the past that you aren't trying to be funny, in which case you should talk to a therapist or something because you may have Asperger Syndrome or Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
  12. Huh. A reasonably lucid post only partly screwed up with your trite schtick. Didn't see that coming. Here's something I take particular issue with.

    Magician, please! You're talking to the wrong guy about this. The paranormal is still big business. The shut-eye market is extremely lucrative and many mentalists have made good money by working with it. And I'm not referring to just con artists either. Craig Browning has used his talents on believers to actually help save them from genuine predators seeking to exploit their beliefs. And this is quite aside from the fact that superstition is alive and well. And the fact that the majority of my countrymen believe in angels.

    Shut-eye market aside, fantasy still has its appeals. I'm a horror hound and can tell you based on empirical proof that throughout a century of horror cinema, the supernatural threat has been the most consistently popular. Mad scientists, space aliens, and psychos have all gone in and out of vogue, but the mystical, weird and magical remains consistent. People like this stuff. Neil Gaiman and Ray Bradbury are best-selling authors. Lord of the Rings was one of the most beloved movie series of all time. If you're suffering from the image problem that speculative fiction has, then it's your own fault for not being cool enough to shake the stereotype.
  13. Anyone trying as hard as he is to seem important is clearly not. He's a troll, stop feeding him.
  14. I didn't say there isn't a market for this paranormal stuff.
    Jim Callahan a genius in his own right has had some success
    Even he would never say that what he is performing are magic tricks.
    It would take all the credibility he has away in a instant.
    He is a mystery artist.
    Regardless the amount of ppl who still believe in the paranormal are lower.

    Are you implying that the ignorance of laymen makes something not true?
    Ignorance = creation? lol
  15. #15 ReservoirRed, Nov 15, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 15, 2012
    So you're saying, he is an illusionist because that's what he is famous for? You just scolded a forum member for implying he is a magician because the public thinks of him as a magician. That's the same thing brah. Are you implying one person's ignorance makes something not true?

    My definitions are spot on brah, but if you really wanted to get into it, the oxford english dictionary defines us all as illusionists, including you with your incredible double lift, and a magician as one who actually performs the supernatural.

    Copperfield didn't walk on stage when he was 10 and start sawing women in half brah, he gained recognition as a magician, and now he is a famous.

  16. What I'm saying is that saying that David Copperfield is a famous magician, and using magical jargon like illusionist doesn't mean he's not a famous magician. Someone saying that he's a magician and you NO, he's an illusionist, is like someone saying "John is in prison" and you saying NO, "John is in a correctional facility".
    It's the same thing.
  17. Excellent point brah.
  18. It's worse, he is saying "John is not in prison, he is in cell block C"
  19. See, that is your problem. You are still performing "tricks" and not "magic." If you perform magic, they will never forget what they saw and, more importantly, what they felt. Obviously, your great intellect fails to comprehend the difference.
  20. My, aren't we full of our self. . . amongst other things. . .

    I'll lay money on it that David could certainly make it in today's world even if he was starting out just as he did in the 70s. . . you see, he was a good looking kid with some talent that lucked into a handful of situations, ended up with a long term contract with corporate money behind him and voila! In fact, this is EXACTLY how Blaine, Angel and most others meet with high level success; it's the BUSINESS part of SHOW has amazingly little to do with what you think you're going to be doing.

    I can guarantee you that this statement isn't just wrong but off by light years. Going back to Copperfield, there are hundreds that honestly believe the man can fly and swear that when he does, he flies out over the audience. . . I've personally worked in clubs where I've been asked to not do certain effects because the patrons associated it with Voodoo, which is a huge part of their culture and yet most of these people were highly educated, top pay professionals living in Beverly Hills and Bel Air.

    The other thing I'll point out is that when Mentalism and certain forms of Bizarre Magick are presented properly they invoke belief from the audience in order to gain that psychological edge that separates what we do from common trickery. Too, there is a growing aspect of these two fields in which the goal is to be seen as a genuine Shaman or Wizard and I will tell you from first hand experience, this is the stuff religions are made from. . . and BTW, I'm surrounded by 5 major colleges in Western Massachusetts so let's not think I'm playing to uneducated fools.

    For as long as you insist on looking and approaching magic with the mind set you've shared the chances are high that you'll stink and what you do will be seen AS A TRICK. You see, the "Magic" happens when we, as performers, invest our own sense of wonder and "belief" into what we do . . . or so I've been told by a handful of old timers . . . go ahead, mention the name of most anyone of note over the past 45 or so years because I've heard this from nearly ever one of them INCLUDING Mr. Cynic himself, James Randi.

    Forget everything you think you know about magic for the moment and go back to when you had absolutely no understanding of the craft. Remember how the simplest of tricks affected you and tell me that wasn't "Magic". . . there's not a single individual involved in magic that didn't start from that position and then decide to find out how it was done. For me it had to do with a little Choo Choo Train and seeing a young lady cut in half using it . . . that was roughly 50 years ago.

    Yes, most people today "know" that there is a trick to it and too, most actually don't care to know what the mechanics of such things are simply because they enjoy the mystery and don't want to ruin it. The problem is when a novice comes into the scene and after learning a smattering of techniques suddenly thinks themselves to be an "expert" when in truth, they only known "tricks" vs. how to create "Magic". . . there's a huge difference between the two and it's rare to find those that are willing to not only learn what those differences are, but how to apply them in order to become that "actor" playing the role of the Magician.

    Back in my box pushing days there was one particular instance that I relished in nearly every family show we did. . . that instant when I unlocked the table and pushed the two halves of a recently sawn damsel apart. . . it didn't matter if it was a Thin Model styled Sawing or the big clunky Thurston cabinet, the audience gasps! That sound is more invigorating than the applause that follows. Knowing how to create that instant in any effect, is what makes us MAGICIANS, not dropping hundreds or thousands of dollars on a trick.

    A SUGGESTION: Set aside your cynicism and newly adopted belief that Intelligence demands non-belief in the fantastic or miraculous. Allow yourself to be right-brained enough to see what we do through the eyes of the laity and that child within yourself that's been suppressed and forgotten about. Until you can set aside your invented pragmatism and look at what we do as an "art form" and thus, give yourself permission to create the seeming reality of MAGICK you're only going to be doing tricks and be seen as a trickster and not someone that can walk into a room and instantly be seen as someone "special" -- "magical".

    Don't laugh, there are many of us that enjoy that sensation and understand the nuances tied to it; it's a merit badge of sorts.

    Strive for it!
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