[In Season 3, as in Season 2, the main posts will be on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. On Tuesdays and Thursdays there may be no posts, shorter posts that are tangential to one of the primary posts, previews of what's to come, or posts that are non magic related. Or whatever, who knows.]
Below is an email I received yesterday from reader TJ about my usage of the phrase "social magic." He is (strangely) passionate about me not using that term. You can read his rationale below (I've only edited out the complimentary stuff in his email).
I don't disagree with what he's saying. The world "social" has been F'd out a little. And if someone has a better word I'd run with that. But I can't really think of a word that captures the idea. That idea being a branch of magic that's done in the course of social interaction and conversation, rather than as a "performance" that stands on its own.
So, while I'm willing to go with a different phrase, at the same time, I don't really give a shit. I'm not using the term as some sort of branding. I'm just using it as a way to categorize a type of performance. The "social" in the phrase has nothing to do with social networking, social media, or social engineering. It's just about old fashioned social interaction. The type of interaction that a more traditional performance style often prevents because it can put a wall up between the performer and the audience.
Here's TJ's email:
Andy, Andy, Andy !
please - for the love of God - do NOT switch to using the phrase "SOCIAL" magic!! There has got to be a better phrase!
The word "social*" is changing meaning (*see comment at end of this email) and so its the wrong word to describe your magic philosophy.
I absolutely, completely agree with the thinking behind your post "Social Magic Basics Pt. 1 - February 12, 2018" on thejerx.com today.
"AMATEUR magic" sounds sooooo naff.
But... But!!... BUT !!! "Social*" Magic has sooo many much worse psychological baggage. At least here in the UK.
Its not the word "magic" that's the problem. It's the word "social*".
"Social*" as a word has been corrupted by recent use.
"Social*" , as in "social networking" / "social media" all has overtones of giving in to the crowd; doing what is expected; conforming; selling out to The Man; of being led by the nose thru some dopamine-optimised corporate experience! Of being locked in to the "FilterBubble". Of being an AppleDrone/FacebookDrone/GoogleDrone. Or being so far up your own arse that you think a "like" is a life-affirming moment.
That's not your magic philosophy - afaik / tell. I laughed out loud the first time I found thejerx! And I paid up within two days of finding it, so keen to keep hearing your heretical,off-the-wall ideas and jamming. Sharing moments of genuine(ish) WTF in the *real*, here and now; right-now world.
"Social" here (UK) has undertones of ;
"twitter" - full of twats desperate for attention, or to be part of the crowd. "look at me! look at me!" ( that's what you don't like in magicians, isn't it?)
"facebook" - a dying/dead platform. Even more full of gobshites. The only reason to be here is to see local community announcements. Or to see what your Mum & Dad are up to.
***So why does SOCIAL magic sound so wrong***
*Social* , I think, is changing meaning right now. Because it is soooooo overused.
If you hook your magic-philosophy to the word "social", you will be misinterpreted.
Compare "social" to "awfull".
"Awful" used to mean awe inspring, fantastic! Now... ..it means naff, horrible, shite.
I think that "social" will soon mean shallow/false/irrelevant/petty/sold-out/drone-like