So last night at the KY Opry Talent Search, after exiting the stage. I was met with the MC and the owner of the Ky Opry. They pat me on the back and congratulated me for a excellent performance. The next competitor approached me and told me he hated magicians and magic. An AMATEUR magician would have responded with a insult.
Being the PROFESSIONAL I nodded my head and fist bumped him and told him there are number of my kind that I CANNOT STAND to be around. We both laughed and he went up to do his thing.The greatest tragedy of 21st Century magic is the trivialization. Magicians have convinced themselves that everyone has seen a magician and they are at liberty to do as they please – even humiliate, embarrass, mock, bully, ridicule the audience. When I met the next contentestant and he told me his dislike for magic, I understood where he was coming from. MANY MANY MANY people have had bad experiences with a AMATEUR magician posing as a professional.
We have ALL had experiences with these type of magicians. They have zero social skills. They are the ones that do the whole “hold out your hand. no the clean one.” – they think thats funny but they don’t see the insult. Fast forward to the intermission. I was in the lobby getting complimented by some of the people that really like the magic I did. I had a fellow contestant come up and told me that he too is in Murray and while he is a clogger, he did some magic when he was a kid but it just never stuck. I nodded my head and said that it really takes a special kind of person to stick with it. Immediately after I had a man approach me. He said that I made his 16 year old son smile for the first time in a long time.
WHAT makes someone a good magician? Aside from the technical competence – I would have to say your sociability. Magic has in the last 2 centuries been a sign of high social status. Royal families and billionaires always had magicians at parties. To be a good magician you need to put others before yourself. Throughout history the magician and all its connotations – magi, wiseman, wizard, shaman, medicine man, witch doctor, etc has been associated with wisdom, knowledge, healing and compassion.
Now I personally believe modern 21st Century magicians have no business medically healing people – although many hospitals, physical and occupational therapies do incorporate magicians – its the compassion and empathy side that modern 21st Century magicians need to make use of.Unlike music – magic is very autism spectrum friendly for both the individual with the condition and the individual practitioner who also has the condition. Not only is magic a great ice breaker – it teaches you how to be better at socializing. To be a good magician – you have to LIKE people.
Magic is not like music, juggling, dancing, etc – you have to INTERACT one on one and sometimes with a group. You will come across some people with very disgusting character and you learn to deal with it. As I told a friend of mine – being a magician, especially a corporate magician sometimes means kissing butt and you get used to it.Sometimes, because people have had bad experiences with a AMATEUR magician, usually their uncle or the local jester who thinks hes a good professional when hes only a weekend warrioring amateur – you will also have people who will try to bully you or challenge you.
I have learned that its better to let them have their moment of attention at my expense than it is to deliver a line that will destroy them at the cost of me looking like the bad guy. Over the years I have been very conscientious about how I behave, say and act – while it may feel good to verbally kill someone with your words, it may come at a cost of being seen in a bad light and you NEVER KNOW who is watching.There is nothing I can do to change the mind of the musician that came up to me and told me to my face that he hates magic and magicians other than to empathize wtih him & lead by example and let my good shows, deeds and behavior do the work. And yes, there are a fair number of magicians I know personally that I cannot stand to be around because they are horrible people and they dont even know it!
Magic is good medicine.