"Shoot to Kill" and Ethics in Magic

"Shoot to Kill" and Ethics in Magic

Be they about deception or endangerment, magicians have had trouble establishing the ethics of their craft.

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Was expecting a discussion about a card called "shoot to kill" and why someone should or should not use it in magin:the gathering games based on an ethical argument, probably relating to the card somehow being broken beyond all reason or fair play.

Got something else. Still, very interesting read nevertheless.

How do you feel about the show "Magic's Biggest Secrets Finally Revealed?" Y'know, that guy with a mask?

I'm confused. I was told the only reason anyone died doing the "bullet catch" is because they did a certain really stupid and unnecessary thing. Are there really that many reckless performers?

Houseman: I'm really not quite sure, truth be told. On one hand, the Masked Magician revealed a lot of secrets that were not his to reveal, which broke a lot of trust. On the other hand, there are performers like Misty Lee who were driven to create better stuff by it. So, I can't really say that I've formulated an opinion beyond what appeared in Fooling Garwulf #2, other than "it's complicated."

kimiyoribaka: Any magic trick tends to be something unnecessary - in fact, sometimes doing things that no sane person would do for the sake of an effect is part of being a magician. But, bullet catches are dangerous in large part because they're dealing with bullets. The Prestige described one of the dangers when using a muzzle loader quite well - somebody trying to be funny could actually put a bullet or some small object in after the original bullet is removed. In the American west, one of the dangers was that an armed audience member would think that the magician really was catching a bullet, stand up, say "catch this," and open fire (and I think a couple of magicians did die that way). And, Chung Ling Soo was paranoid about safety and his equipment - prior to and after the show, he was the ONLY person allowed to handle the rifles, and he took care of the maintenance personally, to make sure it was done right. He died because something he didn't realize could wear out slowly corroded and wore out, and the bullet was actually fired.

So, it's not that there are that many reckless performers - it's a trick that VERY few people do, largely because of just how dangerous it is. But, it is a trick where when it goes wrong, somebody either gets badly hurt or dies.

runic knight and AveAtqueVale: Thank you! I'm glad you're enjoying it!

Robert B. Marks:
Houseman: I'm really not quite sure, truth be told. On one hand, the Masked Magician revealed a lot of secrets that were not his to reveal, which broke a lot of trust. On the other hand, there are performers like Misty Lee who were driven to create better stuff by it. So, I can't really say that I've formulated an opinion beyond what appeared in Fooling Garwulf #2, other than "it's complicated."

On a side note, I'd love it if you could do a column on the legal side of magic. You mention "intellectual property rights" in this column as part of the modern magic code, but I had never considered that you could even copyright a trick any more than an athlete could copyright their shot (I knew stealing tricks was unethical, but not illegal). The exposure article was interesting, but it didn't really cover the crunchy legalities of sawing people in half.

Thunderous Cacophony:
On a side note, I'd love it if you could do a column on the legal side of magic. You mention "intellectual property rights" in this column as part of the modern magic code, but I had never considered that you could even copyright a trick any more than an athlete could copyright their shot (I knew stealing tricks was unethical, but not illegal). The exposure article was interesting, but it didn't really cover the crunchy legalities of sawing people in half.

I'm afraid the legal side of magic isn't in the 10 commentaries I prepared (perhaps it might be next season, assuming this series is as successful as we hope). However, that said, somebody has done a write-up that may interest you, called "The Effects of Exposure on the Ecology of the Magic Industry: Preserving Magic in the Absence of Law": http://web.wmitchell.edu/cybaris/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/vol6_issue1_Sherlock.pdf

Robert B. Marks:
I'm afraid the legal side of magic isn't in the 10 commentaries I prepared (perhaps it might be next season, assuming this series is as successful as we hope). However, that said, somebody has done a write-up that may interest you, called "The Effects of Exposure on the Ecology of the Magic Industry: Preserving Magic in the Absence of Law": http://web.wmitchell.edu/cybaris/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/vol6_issue1_Sherlock.pdf

Thanks! That is definitely more thorough than I was expecting; I'll have to set aside some time to read it.

 

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