When I was a kid, I watched the video above. I love the hell out of the Magic Secrets revealed series. I love that it had that guy from the X-Files in it, I probably loved the assistants, and I definitely wanted to know who the Masked Magician was. When I saw who he was I was disappointed. Truthfully, the only magician I knew was David Copperfield, and obviously, it wasn't going to be him.
After a side comment about David Copperfield tonight, I ended up watching a bunch of magician videos, which led me here.
I remember the masked magician's message from when I was a kid. Namely, that by revealing tricks, he was pushing magicians to even greater heights. What I missed was the message that by discussing the elements of magic, that Val (that's the guy) had actually encouraged kids to get into magic.
It's a practical message. Obviously, not everyone is going to watch this show. And there's more to magic than just knowing how its done. Shit, for the most part I know how a plane flies. As Val mentions, you need to have showmanship like Copperfield to do this well.
I've watched Val's reveal of the above illusion, and I can still only guess that one of the men on the other side, has a fake arm to produce David's face, or just assume it's all a stupid video trick. If it's not, I don't believe David's magic, but I'm still interested.
There's two careers I gave my heart to: cooking and programming.
I was very fortunate to work for an exceptionally talented chef, who taught everyone on his line that food was about skill. It was not magic. It was not about "authenticity" or "real X cuisine". I worked for a guy who made fucking fantastic northern Italian food from Colorado.
In particular, I remember working front of the line, while he worked wheel and some folks came back to ask for the secret recipe to our boar sauce. He flatly told them, there was dick special about it. Cream, demiglace, rosemary, time.
And that's exactly the point - you can't cook that, because you aren't good enough to handle BASIC ingredients. The secret isn't ingredients, it's time. Which you haven't got or put in.
Now that I work as a programmer and lead teams, I dispense with any notion of genius or rock star programmer. The deeper you in get in code - from high level to assembly to virtual machine to specific circuits - you realize that everything is pretty direct. It's just a lot building up simple elements.
Yes, there's geniuses, brilliant chefs, but if you're reading this, you're unlikely to be one of those people who can skip steps intuitively. Funny thing is - even those folks know those steps are there, but that's another discussion I won't diverge into.
So I've revealed the secret, I've shown you the secret ingredient, but you're not any closer to wowing people with that card trick, because you gotta practice it to make it look good, let alone make a profession.
I think Val did a good thing. No one today hardly remembers him, but I'd guess that he made a few kids interested in magic who are damn good at it, because he revealed the trick, made them focus on perfecting that one tiny thing, forced them to develop the hundreds of other microskills that support it, instilled the confidence to make it look real, and created magic in their lives.
Thursday, November 7, 2013