Imagine someone comes up to you at a the bus stop.
"You'll never believe what I can do," the guy says.
Then he starts putting pressure on his finger until it pops and then bending it back and forth in a way that suggests incredible flexibility or some kind of double-jointed situation.
You would probably say, "Oh, wow... look at that."
And then when he left you'd turn to the person next to you and say, "What a total fucking goon. I mean, what kind of loser is compelled to show people their bendy finger?"
And yet, there was a trick released last year that let you become that socially dysfunctional weirdo.
It's called Breaking Point by Johannes Mengel.
Here's the unnecessarily long trailer.
In the advertising for this effect they mention how believable it is, as if that's a postive. Some performers are so far up their own ass that they think it's a good thing to bend your finger in a "believable" way (rather than bending it at an unbelievable angle or removing it entirely or something like that).
But you have to admit, Andy, that trick got a reaction.
You would get an identical reaction by dipping your finger in an oozing bedsore. Getting a reaction is easy. Pick your nose and eat a booger if your only goal is to make people squirm. (You don't have to really eat a booger. You can pretend to. People will still squirm. Should I release that as a download?)
There is a danger in magic of getting caught up in the deception of it all. This is a magician-centric approach to what good magic is. "It looks like I'm doing something that I'm not really doing, so this is a good trick."
At some point you have to consider the effect from the spectator's perspective.
Magician as Spectator
Usually when you read the description of a trick, you think about what it might be like to perform it yourself. And it seems pretty good in your mind because... well, that's how our mind works. We're the hero of our own story.
I can't talk you out of being the hero in order to give yourself a more balanced perspective on how a trick will be perceived. But instead of being the hero magician, imagine yourself as the hero spectator. Now it's someone else performing the trick. You're just watching it. When you imagine some other schlub performing it directly to you, its weaknesses may be more apparent.
Is that clever propless mentalism routine something you as a spectator would be interested in, or are the machinations just interesting to you as a performer?
As a spectator, watching this 5-phase routine, does each phase become more impossible? Or do they dilute the effect? Would it be stronger to concentrate everyone's focus on one magical moment?
Richard Osterlind has an effect where a coin goes into a bottle and then he says, "The only way to get the coin out of the bottle is to break it." And he breaks the bottle. If you think of yourself as the spectator, is that what you want to see? Someone destroy this impossible object so you can have your 25 cents back?
Do you want to watch someone bend their finger in an unsettling but believable manner? More importantly, what would you think of someone who came up to you and did that, especially if you thought there was no trick involved?
Is there any body part you'd be interested in watching someone bend around in front of you?
Well, maybe one.
Just be honest.
Be honest, dude. We all know what you want to see.
You little sicko.