Thursday, November 10, 2005

So, What Do You Think About ... Part 2. Penn & Teller.

Ah yes, the bad boys of magic. How can I possibly relate my thoughts about the act, the controversy and the accusations against this dynamic duo in one simple blog entry. Surely to do them justice I must take several entries and examine in detail all of the accusations laid against them. To give a balanced report and allow both pro and con points of view.
What the hell do I look like? Dan Rather? (although some say I am the spitting image of a young Ed Bradly.) I know it is fashionable these days to believe that some guy who has a blog suddenly becomes a legitimate journalist, but that's a crock. I am no more legitimate than ... Actually, I'm not going to go there. Sorry.
What I can give you is my thoughts and feelings, and one little piece of information I have kept to myself until a type of electronic forum, perhaps a diary of sorts, presented itself. Until that happens, I'll just write a blog about it.
You see, unlike most non-magicians and most magicians, I get Penn & Teller's joke. No, not the jokes on stage, the big joke. The theoretical joke. The joke that they have based their careers on, call it a conceptual joke if you will.

But first, a bit of history.
Penn and Teller first performed together in the early 1970's. They formed a group called "The Asparagus Valley Cultural Society." (Best name ever!) Penn juggled, Teller did silent manipulation and a man named Weir Chirsamer played the music. They performed in this form from the early 70's to the early 80's.
And that is when the real magic happened. Penn became the mouthpiece, Teller the silent partner. The act became "Magicians fool you and treat you like you are an idiot. We're gonna let you in on the secret and fool you anyway."
Broadway, TV specials, world tours and Las Vegas. They are one of the most successful magic acts of our generation.

They say that Penn & Teller expose tricks. They would be right. Penn & Teller expose tricks. They expose sleights. They expose like a master exposer on the most exposingist day of his life (Which just happens to be the national day of exposing).
Some people think of this as a bad thing.
Let's take the cups and balls. Everyone knows the cups and balls. Three cups, one ball. Ball penetrated cups, ball moves from cup to cup, big balls appear under cups etc. etc. etc.
Penn & Teller do it like this. Three cups, made of clear plastic, and balls made out of tissues. They then do the cups & balls all the while Penn is telling you what they are doing. Move for move, Penn is describing it and you (and this is the best part) do not see a damn thing.
Clear cups, no gimmicks and full instructions and you don't see A DAMN THING!
That is magic my friends.

Of course they have their detractors, and this is the best part. You see, Penn & Teller take the audience under their wing, they say "Don't worry, we're on your side." Magicians don't like this and are therefore falling into the trap. You see the big joke I talked about earlier is that Penn & Teller are pulling the leg of magicians. It's a big magical practical joke on us, and we all fell into their trap.
Penn & Teller say "We expose" and magicians go "They expose. Off with their heads!"
Penn & Teller say "We were kicked out of the Magic Castle" and magicians go "They got kicked out of the Magic Castle! Off with their heads!"
And we fall for it. Brilliant!
Oh yes, Just to knock their defenders down a peg, they actually have exposed. I've got it on tape. Plain old exposure. It happened, really it did.

Penn & Teller are genius. That what I think about that.

Next Post: Now Teller & Penn I don't so much like.


Blogger Billp said...

You know, I've been watching so much of their Showtime program, "Bullshit", that I keep forgetting they're magicians.

Either way, it's all about exposing truth... except it isn't.


11:55 AM  
Blogger Gord said...

I don't think Penn & Teller care much about the Truth during their magic performances. It's a form of misdirection to them, and up until now it had worked very well.
Of course, on their Showtime program Truth means Truth, and that is a good thing. Someone needs to point to the scammers and say "You are taking advantage of these people."

12:23 PM  
Blogger Todd Brennan said...

I see why magicians are mad at Penn and Teller. I am a Muggle. After watching P and T do the cups and balls with the clear cups, I totally was able to see how it was done. I was Formally amazed by the trick. After watching Penn and Teller, I was able to watch the best, and pick up on all their moves

10:45 AM  

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