Son of Disclosure!
Tony's article raises some interesting points. Proportion is indeed the crux of the matter.
It's a valid point that we all had to start somewhere. That 'somewhere' though, is a different place now, to the one in 1937. Going by the influx of new members at my local club (the Medway Magical Society) they are starting at a much higher level than in the past.
I won't say 'younger' members because that isn't accurate. 'New' members would be more precise. The information available (video's, DVD's etc) and the effects detailed on them have moved on and are at a much higher level than was previously available. Internet dealers are legion & manifold.
Good news for magic in my book!
Exposure has also moved on of course. The humble stripper deck may be beloved by magicians, but it's also been heavily exposed. Covent Garden, Market Stalls, Toy Shops, Marvin's Magic etc. Using one in a London theme restaurant, especially for anyone aged 12 - 14 is a recipe for disaster. 10-15% of the audience will check to see if the deck strips. They also tend to riffle the ends of the deck, so goodbye Svengali. (Use a Nudist deck or thumb tip with great care!)
Dynamic Coins, Coin Unique etc are widely and easily available in the fleshpots of London, by mail order in kids comics and over the Internet. The Classic Palm, Retention Vanish, Shuttle Pass, Roth Edge Grip Display etc however are rarely sold!
'Finger flinging' seems to be denigrated by many magicians. I suspect that's because they lack the necessary focus, determination and self belief to master the sleight of hand that is vital to our craft. Method is the route to effect, and the more direct that method, the stronger the effect.
Sometimes that method is self working or dealer bought, sometimes it's only possible by knowledge, practice & work. We need to be able to use both methods.
The continued exposure of 'magic' is to be welcomed if it moves magic onwards & upwards. I'd actually like to see more of it. A TV program that exposed the methods behind the entire Marvins Magic series would suit me fine. I'd love to see lot's of 'do it in minutes, no skill required, no practise necessary, easy to perform' effects exposed on TV.
It's worth pointing out that 'Finger flinging', or sleight of hand, can't really be exposed. It's far to complex a subject. Attention control, timing, body language, covert & overt sleight of hand, psychology, presentation, etc can't be exposed in a 22/44 minute TV program.
I really don't think we have any need to worry about exposure either, albeit for different reasons. How many of the people who watched the "Masked Magician" can still remember how it was all done? Very few. The general 'dumbing down' of TV sees to that for us.
If we use skill, imagination, subtlety and the things that aren't available from your local dealer to create truly good magic, then exposure doesn't affect what we do.
Magic is alive and doing well - and truly good magic (not easy) will always survive.
© David Lang May 2002