August 28th, 2006

Sly: Devious Grin

Magic and Mystery

Another great subject to search on YouTube is magic. I'm a big fan of close-up manipulation magic. I think that's some of the best stuff out there. I've even tried a bit of the simple stuff, but I've got what they called on Futurama "stupid fingers". I switched to juggling early on because you rarely have to control individual fingers there, you just need speed. (Really, that's true.)

So I have great respect for magicians doing slight of hand work. And there's videos of everything from classic card tricks to slick illusion work and street magic.

But what I think is cool is that there's also videos of trick exposures (in this case, from an over-hyped TV special), how-to shuffling demos, card vanishing, and card production (last one in Korean, but you don't need to understand it to follow his explanations).

Now, some people claim that you shouldn't ever reveal how a trick is accomplished. Myself, I tend to side with the Penn and Teller types that, in the hands of a capable magician, it really doesn't kill the show at all. For me, when I know how the trick is done and what the magician is having to do to pull it off (and make it look natural), I really admire the performance and technical skills involved. But there's a definite split... Some people really don't like to lose the mystery.

What do you think?

Poll #808796 Magical Mystery Poll

Do you like knowing how the trick is done?

Yes, it's even more impressive that way.
31(79.5%)
No, magic is better left as a mystery.
8(20.5%)



P.S. We'll assume, for discussion's sake, that the reveal is carried out in a classy style, not by some drunk yelling it out in the middle of the show. I think we all can agree that's no good.