[NOTE: The dispute this post refers to may be over. I don't know. The blog post it references has been deleted. You might say, Andy, why are you posting this if the issue has passed? Well... because I had already written the post and it's not like I was actually trying to make some incisive commentary on the situation. I was just goofing around. (If you think I genuinely give a shit about any of your meaningless magic feuds, you're out of your mind. I don't even give a shit about the ones that involve me.)]
It's been a while since I've posted about a good magic feud. It's not because these things aren't happening, but I don't have a facebook account and I rarely go on the message boards so I miss out on them. Thankfully, reader MK, clued me in to this one.
And what's nice about it is that one of the people involved in the dispute had a webpage devoted to it written in the style of internet ad copy circa 2002. It asked the timeless question that's on everybody's mind:
I don't want to spoil it for you, but the answer to the question (from this guy's perspective) is that yes, it was due to Paul Zenon (and others) Defamatory Comments & Lies.
If you have a job or a life you undoubtedly don't have time to read that full webpage, so I'll summarize it. The Magic Circle asked this guy Jonathan Royle to do a lecture for them. Apparently enough people complained about it or expressed a concern about it due to real or perceived issues with his character that the Magic Circle cancelled the lecture. So this guy wanted a few hundred bucks back that he had already spent for travel and accommodations. And the Magic Circle gave him the money back. Problem solved, yes? Well, apparently not because he still felt compelled to write up this site and tell his side of the story and I'm happy to pass it along to you.
I should start by saying I know nobody involved in this conflict. I've heard the name Paul Zenon, but, as an American, have never had a chance to see any of his work.
I don't think I've heard the name Jonathan Royle, but given that he's someone who seems to identify primarily as a hypnotist, I may have heard about him and then immediately forgot him as I tend to do with anything related to hypnotism. Hypnotism holds very little interest for me. The only reason anyone watches it is because they truly believe these people are being compelled to act in a way that they're not inclined to by some mysterious psychological technique. Unlike magic, where knowing it's not real doesn't ruin the show (in fact, I'd say it enhances it), with hypnotism, once an audience member understands the nature of what's happening (that the people acting out are doing so because they are attention whores, are drunk, or feel bullied into it) there's essentially nothing interesting going on. Unless you find people clucking like a chicken or faking orgasms interesting (and, let's be honest, you've seen enough people faking orgasms offstage that it's kind of lost its novelty).
It seems there are three primary issues people have with Royle. The first is Paul Zenon's claim that he stole material. I haven't seen the evidence for this (and it's kind of a boring claim) so I don't have a comment on it.
The second is a conviction he had for... something... I'm not 100% sure. He explains it on this site but it's a very long read and he's not the world's most compelling writer. I will maybe have a chance to tackle it fully sometime when I'm on a long flight (like to Mars or something).
The third—more easily understandable issue—is that there is a lingering backlash regarding this book he wrote...
Apparently he's going to teach you how to get laid 365+ times a year.
Is going to teach you how to get laid.
You get it, don't you? You don't want to be good looking or have any sense of style if you're releasing a book about using hypnotism to get laid. People will just assume you utilized those attributes to obtain sex and not some secret hypnosis techniques.
On the other hand, people will believe your success with women is due to mesmerism if you look like this:
When you can say, "Hey, look at me. Do I look like George Clooney? No. I look more like a penis with progeria. And yet I'm still getting laid." Then maybe, just maybe, you can Svengali a woman into bed.
(Hey, speaking of Svengali, here's something I didn't understand from his site.
What does he mean by the "equivalent" of over 400 Svengali decks? Is a "Svengali Deck" not a constant standard? Did he sell 10,400 individual pairs of short and long cards? Or one 20,000 card deck? What is he suggesting here?)
Now, of course the book is bullshit. This guy hasn't been within 6 feet of a pussy in his entire life, I would guess. And, anyway, his defense of this product now is that the book really isn't about hypnotizing women to have sex with you. That was just a provocative title for the book. In fact, he says, hypnotism doesn't exist (no shit) and it's "[M]erely a Dating advice guide and book of relationship Psychology... The book mainly concentrates on helping people to develop more self-confidence and to take more positive actions in the dating game." See? It was merely a book designed to appeal to sexual predators, not actually help them.
So whose side am I on in all this? Well, nobody's, really. To me this worked out like it should have. The Magic Circle booked him, they got complaints from enough people that they decided to cancel the event, they reimbursed him for the expenses he accrued. That should be the end of it. At this point, Royle isn't trying to remedy any wrong, he's just trying to use this as a marketing opportunity. And I have no problem with that. I have affection for that type of schemer.
That's not to say I don't feel bad for anyone in this situation, I do. But it's not any of the parties above. You know who I feel bad for? The poor rapists who bought Jonathan Royle's sex hypnotism book! Can you imagine? You buy that book and you're like, "Finally, I'll get to coerce women into having sex with me without having to beat them about the head with my fists." And then you get the book and crack it open. You're expecting to find all these secrets of mind control so you can FINALLY rape someone in peace, without constantly worrying about your eyes getting scratched out or her biting down on your cock. And then what do you get? A book about saying affirmations in the mirror before you go out and how long you should wait to call her after the first date? What the fuck!!!!????? How are you going to rape someone with that information!? Well, you're not, quite frankly. Let that be an important lesson to you. There are no rape shortcuts. It takes a lot of hard work and a little elbow grease.