Forget it all in an instant (stooge)

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Postby Lord Freddie » Jul 26th, '11, 23:39

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Postby jim ferguson » Jul 26th, '11, 23:45

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Last edited by jim ferguson on Jul 27th, '11, 00:09, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Flood » Jul 26th, '11, 23:47

I think all magic takes balls to be honest.Breaking in material seems to take more than your more established material.You are trying to fool a group of people right under their noses while taking up their precious time.All heat is on YOU.You better be good,you better entertain.I don't care if your doing self workers or knuckle busters it takes balls.

Aproaching people at a close-up gig just to tell them you are going to show them magic takes courage too.A LOT!!I remember just how hard this was back when I first started doing table hopping.It's incredibly hard.I don't care if it's nothing to me now,it still takes courage to do.

I think it's needless to say that all REAL WORKERS have cajones.In my oppinion it does not matter the difficulty of the trick.Approaching strangers just to trick them in the first place is a task and a half in itself.

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Postby SamGurney » Jul 27th, '11, 01:08

It is absurd to pretend there are any ethics in cheating.
I take my philosophy in this regard from Napoleon Bonaparte:

The great proof of genius is the disproportion of one's means to one's designs.


(Or it may have been the proof of madness... they are the same thing anyway.)

The small method is concealed by a big effect and for the small effects nobody is on guard for methods requiring extraordinary effort; either way, everything you do is impossible. That is the real art of misdirection and it is in misdirection that all true magic and impossibility occurs- in people's heads.

So I would only be opposed to IS where it would be expected or obvious. I think it can become obvious when it relies too much on the acting skills of the spectator, since most people are dreadful actors.

''To go wrong in one's own way is better than to go right in another's.'' Dostoevsky's Razumihin.
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Postby Robbie » Jul 27th, '11, 12:06

Magicians and mentalists can't afford to get too precious about ethics. As mentioned above, it's all cheating -- we're just arguing about what kinds of cheating are nicer than others.

The lines can get awfully blurry between stooges, pre-show, and dual reality. I think the only vague distinction is that a "classical" stooge knows exactly what's going on and agrees to play his part and shut up, where someone subject to dual reality still experiences an inexplicable magical effect that happens to be slightly different from what the rest of the audience experiences.

Anyone with any interest at all in stooges and dual reality MUST read Kenton Knepper's book Q (= "cue"). It will change your whole way of thinking about the subject.

"Magic teaches us how to lie without guilt." --Eugene Burger
"Hi, Robbie!" "May your mischief be spread." --Derren Brown
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Postby Duplicity » Jul 27th, '11, 12:43

Here's a can of worms to feast upon. In therapy, there is a line of thought that lying to your client can have beneficial outcomes. Telling stories as metaphorical ways of delivering a message (and therefore healing) can have hugely beneficial outcomes for the client. Whether that story actually happened is not really important.

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Postby Lord Freddie » Jul 27th, '11, 13:11

The best book on the subject, which I'm sure Beardy will agree, is the hard to come by: "Stoogios!" by Brazillian magician Benito Benzares.
I cherish my copy as the material in here works and so few people are doing it/know of it.

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Postby Mandrake » Jul 27th, '11, 13:30

Without giving anything away, I and thousands of others in the UK and overseas have been ISd by one of the most well known magicians in the last 50 years. As far as I know, nobody has objected, nobody has blurted out the truth and, as it's all a question of skilled people management, it's always worked well. The key, of course, is in getting the participant to go along with things because they are an essential part of the act; they're entertaining the audience and, quite frankly, are made to feel very important indeed. I certainly didn’t feel that the process was inappropriate and, possibly only of interest to someone involved with magic, I now know for sure one of the secrets as used by a big name performer - I just wish someone had videoed the performance so I could see how well, or otherwise, I did!

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Postby jim ferguson » Jul 27th, '11, 17:51

In case anyone is wondering about all the deleted posts in this thread it was basically down to me being a tw*t. I have apoligised to Beardy in private and would like to also apoligise here in this thread seeing as this is where it started. I had no right to pick at his posts.
    My sincere apoligies Chris.
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Postby SamGurney » Jul 29th, '11, 02:55

Precisely Mandrake...

Personally, I have benefited from the use of full on stooges before and they thoroughly enjoyed participating and helping me out (Perhaps it is concerning to discover that we all seem to delight in decieving one another successfully). From an 'ethical' point of view, what I did was sacrilegeous- I was even 'unscrupulous' enough to say directly to the stooge: 'and you are not a stooge or anything?'. But what was the 'ethical' issue? Surley deception will not be cited!? The point is, there was no ethical issue- but in so far as being deceptive, this was as deceptive as it gets. Now, why on earth would I ask a stooge if they are a stooge?

I certainly came out happier, having achieved effects which would be absolutley impossible otherwise and consequently- and more importantly- so did the other spectators who had some fantastic tales to tell. In addition to having a guaranteed mind-blowing effect- in mentalism anything can be achieved- I also did not have any anxiety that my method might fall out of my sleeve, so to speak, and so I could concentrate entirley on enjoying myself. So, quite simply everyone came out far happier.

From a utilitarian perspective then, there is no possible 'ethical' criticism that could be made. Also from a teleological perspective, my sole aims of entertainment and mystery were achieved, not merley satisfactorily, but probably even exceptionally (as the deception, being quite unexpected, was inpenetrable). Quite simply, there is no possible moral critique of stooges, which makes the fact it has emerged as some kind of piety, all the more enigmatic.

The explanation I offer, is one of a form of tacit social contract. The problem is not at all that stooging is in any way 'base'- everything about it, when done well, has all the qualities of sophisticated, marvellous and brilliant deception. But, if stooging were not 'forbidden' by magician's piety, sooner or later someone would mess up and make it obvious. This would not only damage the credibility of mentalists in general but it would also result in many mentalists without any talent forging careers and severly damaging the craft and livlihood of existing mentalists. Therefore, mentalists have no other option than to all make an agreement to not use stooges, and this is best done by making it a pretentious moral issue. By effectivley 'outlawing' stooging, mentalists are able to confront the suspicions of their audiences directly and therefore, the rest of their work is not discredited by incorrect suspicions. Hence, we see (less frequently these days) mentalists who offer a certain sum to anyone who can prove the use of stooges. In fact, next time I sparingly use stooging, I might even make this claim at the start for a small fee, just to ensure that nobody even bothers considering it as an option. Not to mention, of course, nobody would pay for a manuscript where the method was to use a stooge... yet most pretend that all they care about is the effect! :lol:

There is a fortunate side effect of all this, however. Firstly, nobody speaks up in defense of stooging because it is an 'ethical' issue and secondly those who realise that it is fantastic tool, if they are shrude, would prefer to perpetuate the status quo in the mentalism community such that audiences are so disarmed by the incessant insistence on behalf of magicians and mentlists that stooges are taboo, they can actually get away with stooging quite confidently. I am skeptical there are many who would do this, but if I wasn't typing this now, I would be one of them and as such would be indetectable.

That said, I am not coming out and urging people to use stooges. Many mentalists are rational enough to see there is no 'ethical' criticism that stands up to a shred of scrutiny, but I am unsure many of these actually use stooging. Certainly, although I find it being an 'ethical' issue somewhat amusing and highly revealing of the nature of the inculation of piety, I would like it to be used sparingly quite simply because it is so excellent a technique. The audience should never suspect its use, should always benefit from its use aesthetically and as long as those two criterion are fullfilled I would heartily recommend stooging... however, the problem is over-use and poor use of subtleties and acting revealing the method and the fundamental and absolutley crucial condition that the audience does not suspect stooging slowly becomes breached- as I mentioned, big effects are entitled to methods so simple yet possible because it is so unexpected. So in this sense, the 'social contract' is valid to an extent, so far as it has little faith in the capabilities of most performers and should serve to preserve the achievement of real feeling effects as well as reminding us of the great prestige of the great use of stooging, instead of fighting against those great effects by 'prohibiting' stooges.

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