Is it magic?

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No it’s not. And David Blaine doesn’t claim otherwise. However the amount of attention that has been lavished on him for this stunt is slightly baffling. Similar stunts were popular in the 20s, and the saint San Simeon’s time living on a pillar, is well documented. But why the hype now? Are we really that unable to entertain ourselves?

I’m a fan of David Blaine the magician, but this kind of ‘death defying feat of physical endurance’ leaves me a bit cold, but he does seem genuine in his efforts and he is constant in his determination to outshine his idol, Harry Houdini.

A recent interview on ABC lets us see that he is wily enough to sell his stunts and plays on the ‘danger’ aspect well, illiciting help from experts in the field who assure us what he is doing is very dangerous… but unless that danger is real and perceptible by the audience I just feel conned: Block of ice – v.cold, but difficult to judge on telly. Buried alive in a coffin, again a bit dodgy but you have to presume that the coffin has been tested to take the weight etc etc.

His next ‘trick’ should prove a bit better, being chained, tied, put in a coffin and pushed into the Thames, all sounds very scary. But knowing what we now know about ‘magic’ (it’s highly likely that he will be out of his shackles before the coffin hits the water) it’s beginning to fail me as to what he would have to do to make me sit up in suprise.

His hand manipulation tricks are amazing. You know it’s sleight of hand, but the fact that you can’t see it, or do it yourself adds to the aura of it being ‘magic’, whereas these stunts seem a bit too contrived, like he’s trying too hard to prove they are dangerous.

These days it seems to be more about the amount of publicity you can drum up than about the validity of the ‘trick’. If that’s the case, David Blaine has certainly got it cracked.