Ever so often you will read in dealers’ ad copy the term „easy to perform”. As some investigation of mine in the magic community has shown, the majority of the magicians (amateurs and pros alike) feel attracted to ads using these or similar ad copy.
Understandable, because who’s not interested in taking the shortest and easiest road to a trick? And if easy to perform means that I can „concentrate on the presentation”, because I don’t have to worry about the technique/mechanics of a trick or routine, so much the better!
A lot of magicians want to create the impression that what they perform is not easy, but an art. In the advertising they claim to be artists (most of them even exceptional ones). They claim their art is unique, of quality and of the highest standard. They claim that it took them years to master, and they still have to practice for hours each day. They want to create the impression that performing their magic took them a lot of studying time (in reality it does), requires a special talent along with incredible skill and is not for everybody.
What a bullshit! Take a look at some of the stuff we are offered in our market. How much skill or practicing time you need to switch on an electronic device that delivers the impression of what a spectator has written onto your concealed iPhone in the performance case? How much skill does it take to push a button on the remote control in your pocket, to switch on the little motor hidden in the jumbo deck, which then pushes a card up through the means of your magical powers?
If laymen start to google after explanations for these wonders (and they do), then it is counter-productive for them finding words like „A bargain at only $9.95. Easy to perform, no sleight-of-hand necessary, entirely self-working. Unpack and perform it within two minutes.” The same if they discover stuff like this: „No need for manipulation. The built-in electronics do all the work for you.”
When a layman has finally found something, and has to his surprise discovered that magic tricks are often quite cheaply sold and very easy to do‚ then the wonder worker is left in a pitiable position. His ‚art’ has vanished and been reduced to a grown-up man showing off child’s toys that anybody possessing a bit more intelligence than an ape could do. Not really a great image to portray as a ‚master of deception’.
I blame the dealers (or who else does write this kind of things?) for not being honest enough and trying to go the shortest road to the customer’s wallet. With irritating, wrong and seducing ad-copy. With publishing thoughtless and cheap phrases.
For one thing, there is no ‚self-working’ magic. Because you will have to handle an audience, write and remember a script, rehearse the sequences and handling of the props, and much more. Take a trick where the method is indeed not based on sleight-of-hand, but a clever subtlety or mathematical principle. Sure you don’t have to practice ‚sleights’ but instead other difficult things like audience management, scripting, blocking. You should know it.
If a naive person buys this self-worker, and then goes out and ‚performs’ it, the disaster happens: the audience sees an inapt person show some uninteresting stuff, boring them to death and still hoping to get recognised and applauded for being a magician.
Another harmful thing is: no layperson outside our circles should be allowed to know that some magic can be that easy. Because of the internet, these muggles have the opportunity to enter our ‚secret’ world with just a few mouse clicks.
Let us protect our secrets as much as possible. It is the only chance we have to avoid falling into the category of the grown-up man demonstrating gadgets and pretending to be an artist.
Too much scorched earth already.