From April 5th to April 15th, my non-existent lifestyle blog, The Splooge, took over this site. This was a surprisingly successful break from the format in that nobody complained and a number of people wrote in to say how much they enjoyed it.
With that in mind, I've decided to bring back non-magic posts on weekends here at The Jerx. This is not something I will do every weekend or even most weekends, we'll see how it pans out.
I have all sorts of dumb ideas, not just related to magic. And I also like turning people on to the things I'm currently digging. Especially music-wise. While I know the subset of people interested in my views on these things is small, particularly in the magic community, I don't really care. Essentially these sorts of posts are like writing a letter or making a playlist for a couple people, which I'm always down for. The only difference is that the people who these posts will resonate with will have to find them.
If you find yourself not into them, just avoid the weekend posts (I don't normally post magic stuff on the weekends anyways).
There's nothing to update. Which is a good thing. As far as I know they are on schedule to be delivered to us at the end of this month and then to you soon after that.
A milestone was reached this past weekend when I received three consecutive emails from three different female readers. That is a first for this blog and a first for any magic website, for that matter.
As someone who thinks magic would benefit from a little less wang and a little more 'tang, it was heartening.
Friend of the site, Jason Leddington, had his essay, The Experience of Magic, published in The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism.
Here is the abstract:
Despite its enduring popularity, theatrical magic remains all but ignored by art critics, art historians, and philosophers. This is unfortunate, since magic offers a unique and distinctively intellectual aesthetic experience and raises a host of interesting philosophical questions. Thus, this article initiates a philosophical investigation of the experience of magic. Section I dispels two widespread misconceptions about the nature of magic and discusses the sort of depiction it requires. Section II asks, “What cognitive attitude is involved in the experience of magic?” and criticizes three candidate replies; Section III then argues that Tamar Szabó Gendler's notion of “belief-discordant alief” holds the key to a correct answer. Finally, Section IV develops an account of the experience of magic and explores some of its consequences. The result is a philosophically rich view of the experience of magic that opens new avenues for inquiry and is relevant to core issues in contemporary aesthetics.
I'm kind of pissed because that's exactly what I was going to write a post about next week. Except with a lot more GIFS.
I can't post it online because of copyright issues, but if you'd like a copy of the essay, feel free to email Jason and he will send you a PDF. He's looking for "as much feedback as possible" as this essay will be part of a larger, forthcoming work. I think those of you who like to think of magic on a more conceptual level, not just about tricks, will enjoy this and I encourage you to reach out to Jason to get a copy and follow up with him with your thoughts on the essay.
Non-Magicians Talking Magic.
Matt Gourley and Mark McConville discuss their favorite illusionist on Pistol Shrimps Radio.
This guy apparently didn't read my post that we should stop hating on Rick Lax.
I still get emails from time to time bashing Rick. One asked "how can people be so stupid to fall for these tricks?" First, let me reiterate, this is nothing for magicians to get worked up. Second, don't let yourself become seduced by the large numbers of likes on some of Rick's videos. You have to look at them in relation to the number of views. Yes, Rick has some videos with 2 million likes, but they also have 50 million views. Now, it's fair to say that if you truly believed someone was able to read your mind via a facebook video you would "like" that video. So that suggests that approximately 96% of the people who watch Rick's videos aren't fooled by the effect, or at the very least aren't affected by it enough to click "like." That's not a great ratio. If you had an effect that fooled 1 in 25 people, you wouldn't bother doing it.
So the question, "How can people be so stupid to fall for these tricks?" isn't appropriate, because the overwhelming majority don't fall for the tricks.
You know how you're always complaining, "They should remake bad movies to make them better instead of remaking good movies." Well, here you go. They took that turd from the 70s and, from what I've read in the reviews, turned it into something pretty wonderful.
So get your children, or your nieces/nephews, or just some random kid from the street, and go see Pete's Dragon.
There's even some subtle tips-of-the-cap to sharp-eyed Jerx readers.