Saturday, August 16, 2008

"Nothing up my sleeve..."

I'm not going to write about what I said I might write about last week. I was planning on it, but something else popped into my mind, so I'm going to write about that instead. Maybe next week I'll get around to writing about that other thing.

On August 18, 2007 -- almost a year ago to the day -- I enabled comments on this blog. I didn't expect to get many, and -- not surprisingly -- I didn't. That's not particularly interesting, but here's something that might be. On July 15, 2006 -- more than a year before I enabled comments -- I wrote a post that has received more comments to date than all other posts combined. And the most recent comment was made just last month. That may not be so interesting to you, but I'm not going to explain why it's sort of interesting to me. Instead, I'll just continue with this post and assume that if you aren't interested, you'll look for something else to read instead.

In the July 15 post, I mentioned that magicians like David Blaine and Criss Angel are often accused of being the devil, because they're able to perform magic tricks that confound and amaze the people who witness those tricks. I didn't think I was saying anything controversial, but apparently I was wrong.

About half the comments took the position that even though Criss Angel might not be the devil, performing magic tricks is exactly the sort of thing the devil would do to lure hearts and souls to his evil ways. Although that might make sense to some people, it also implies that anyone who performs magic tricks can be suspected of being in league with the devil.

Not surprisingly, because I have been given the gift of intelligent rational thought, I disagree completely. No matter who you are -- devil, attorney, or salesman -- I happen to think there are much better ways to win people over to your side. If all it took were a few magic tricks, every politician in this country would be studying the art of prestidigitation. But have you ever seen John McCain doing any magic? How about Barack Obama? Has he been performing any magic tricks recently? I haven't been following the campaigns, but from what I've heard, they mostly just give a lot of speeches. I don't believe anything either of them says, by the way, but it's not because I think they're liars -- it's because they're making campaign promises, and campaign promises are meant to be broken.

I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who takes everything they say with a grain of salt -- or actually, with an entire salt mine -- so they're probably just wasting a lot of time and money flying all over the country and telling us the lies they think we want to hear. On the other hand, if performing magic tricks could win them votes, believe me, they'd fire all their speech writers in an instant and spend all their free time in magic stores.

But let's turn our attention back to Criss Angel and David Blaine. They certainly aren't the first people to perform magic tricks -- and the tricks they perform aren't all that different from tricks performed by many other magicians -- but as far as I know, they're the only two magicians who have ever been accused of being the devil in disguise. To my knowledge, no one ever called Harry Houdini the devil, for example. No one ever called Doug Henning the devil either. No one calls Lance Burton the devil, and no one calls Penn and Teller the devil. No one has ever called Siegfried and Roy the devil, nor has anyone ever called David Copperfield, The Amazing Jonathan, or Princess Tenko the devil.

But that's not all. It turns out there are a lot of Christian magicians plying their trade. These people are not merely magicians who happen to be Christian, or Christians who happen to be magicians -- they are magicians who perform tricks to illustrate the teachings of the Bible. So it's probably very obvious to most of us that you can be a magician without having any demonic intent.

So what is it about David Blaine and Criss Angel? I've got a theory, and I could be wrong, but if you think I am, maybe you can come up with a better one. David Blaine is half Puerto Rican and as a result, his skin is darker than that of many people born in this country, and that kind of thing still makes a lot of people uncomfortable. Criss Angel's skin is as white as snow, but he has long stringy hair and dresses in a sort of Goth/Death metal style. So I think people believe they're the devil simply because of the way they look. If Criss Angel cut his hair, wore something other than his usual black leather clothing, and lost about 10 pounds of metal chains and bracelets, people might even think he was cute, just like they did with Doug Henning. There's not much David Blaine can do about his skin color -- he could bleach it like Michael Jackson did -- but that's kind of a big step to take just to test my theory, and I don't recommend it. But much more to the point, the theory doesn't need to be proven -- it makes a lot of sense, so we can just assume it's probably true.

Besides, nobody seems to think David Blaine is the devil anymore -- now they just think of him as an attention-grabbing self-promoter. And as for Criss Angel, I don't know if his show is even on anymore. I sort of lost interest in him after watching his show for for a season or two, but if he were the devil, he'd probably have some kind of power that would prevent people from getting bored with him so easily. And even if his show is still on the air, it's probably still on A&E. You'd think the devil would at least be able to cut a deal with one of the major networks.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Lorem Ipsum

I've had an idea floating around in my head for a few weeks now, but I haven't been able to muster up enough enthusiasm to actually write about it. Maybe that means I don't think it's such an interesting idea, or maybe it means I have better things to do. Or maybe it means both, or maybe it means neither. In any case, I'm not going to write about it this week. Maybe I'll write about it next week. Or maybe next week I'll write about something more interesting instead. But since I'm not going to write about anything this week, I'll leave you with the following place-holder text instead.

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