Just what constitutes "magic"?
This is a question that has been swirling in this unpretty head of mine for some time now.
Basically, my definition of "magic" is quite reminiscent of the low-rent magicians that apply their wares at little kids' birthday parties pulling rabbits out of their hat, the never-ending scarf in their breast pocket, the origami art that transforms to a bird and flies away.
I once worshipped David Copperfield (not the Dickens variety, sorry). He was the be-all/end-all magician. He did it all. And I watched on TV as he made the Statue of Liberty disappear before our very eyes. I knew it wasn't legit, but it was still pretty damned cool. Maybe my parents can correct me on this, but I think I even saw him perform live once when I was a kid.
Heck, even GOB's failed illusions on Arrested Development were enjoyable in the absurdly comical sense.
With the publication of the Harry Potter novels and the release of the affiliated films, magic re-emerged in the spotlight as magic-endowed children fine tune their craft in a fictional prep school dedicated to the teaching and learning of magic, both good and bad. These kids levitate, transform, and make items disappear at will.
To me, this is what magic is all about. The ability to do things via slight of hand that are impossible for the normal person. Walking through solid objects, making something disappear, making something else reappear, etc. That is the traditionally accepted definition of magic, right?
Well, here's what Merriam-Webster online has to say...
Main Entry: 1mag·ic
Etymology: Middle English magique, from Middle French, from Latin magice, from Greek magikE, feminine of magikos Magian, magical, from magos magus, sorcerer, of Iranian origin; akin to Old Persian magus sorcerer
1 a : the use of means (as charms or spells) believed to have supernatural power over natural forces b : magic rites or incantations
2 a : an extraordinary power or influence seemingly from a supernatural source b : something that seems to cast a spell : ENCHANTMENT
3 : the art of producing illusions by sleight of hand
My question to you is, how is it that what David Blaine does is called "magic"?
Last night, Blaine was involved in a stunt in which he attempted to hold his breath underwater for nine minutes.
A while back, Blaine encased himself for several days in a block of ice in NYC. He has also had himself buried alive as well as "trapped" in plexiglass and suspended over both NYC and London.
And those are magic how?
Yeah, it's amazing that he can hold his breath for so long or didn't succumb to hypothermia or didn't eat; but none of them are magic in the sense that I've come to understand it. It's definitely not covered by the M-W definition above.
So what gives? Why is what he does so damn special?
To me, it's just boring, plain and simple. A waste of airtime.
If Blaine had made himself disappear from inside the block of ice to the ground outside and his skin wasn't blue... I would consider that magic. If there was a shark in his watery gerbil ball that ate him alive and he reappeared whole immediately afterwards... magic!
However, the only magic I see is his ability to sucker in viewers to these spectacles. What am I missing?
Harry Houdini... awesome!
David Copperfield... cool!
David Blaine... hack ratings whore.
Damn, was that out loud? Is Blaine going to make me disappear? No, wait, that would require mag...
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