Monday, May 7, 2012

Mind Magic and Mentalism

Wow, what a long ass week I had. Doing nothing but shows. So I got my personal taste of what it is like to be a high profile professional. Dude, I don't wanna go there. Too much work. I like my weekdays off. I'm happy enough being a weekend magician.

So what happened in the magic world: Well James L Clark got his Mentalism for Dummies book out. And what a controversy it started. As expected most of the routines described in the book are by others who did not give their permission to have their routines republished. Richard Osterlind's Change of Mind (58-60)and his Bank Night routine (60-63). Over at the Green Monster is a thread where Richard Osterlind makes it very clear that James L. Clark has not Osterlind's permission. The same goes for Andrew Gerard's Energy Bill (64-65) routine who also states that James L. Clark took his routine and published it without permission of any kind. Luke Jermay's routine where "seeing with the fingertips" is demonstrated is also republished (81-84).

Lior Manors' Invisible Touch (162-164), Eric Ross' Crush (166), Colin McLeod's Bookless Booktest (176-178), Ted Lesley's Teleport Envelope (178-182), Patrick Knuff's Bold Business (192-195), Kenton Knepper's Kolossal Killer (212-214) just to give you a snapshot!

ElliotB, author of SwitchCraft said:

Reading it, I got the impression that Mr. Clark sat by his computer with a thesaurus and a copy of Switchcraft in hand, and typed away; making sure to change and rearrange things sufficiently, so as to not violate any laws. Everything just seemed so familiar.
Mr. Clark starts with: "You can accomplish almost any trick in mentalism by using a switch."
While, in Switchcraft, I wrote "just about any effect in mentalism can be accomplished with a billet switch."
And on my website, I wrote "With a billet switch, you can present just about any mental effect imaginable."
Clark then teaches my EB Switch from Switchcraft. He does a very, very poor job of it too. He does not credit me or mention my name. He certainly did not have my permission.
Then, he teaches the "Switch and Read," just as I teach the "Simple Switch and Read" in Switchcraft.
He uses my EB Switch to switch billets and reads the participant's billet in his lap using a gypsy glimpse, just like in Switchcraft (although he does burn the dummy billet.)
I did not invent reading a billet or the "Gypsy Glimpse." But, Mr. Clarks section on switch work reminds me very much of a third grade child copying from an encyclopedia, but with a team of editors to back him up.

All of that is freaky on so many levels. I feel bad for those who have their work being used without permission, but it proves what the magic world seems to think about James L Clark. The book goes into details about certain gimmicks without even exploring the possibilities by using it in a routine. It is there for spoiler's sake only. This is a mean spirited book.


darkstar said...

What a sack of shit. Excuse my lack of constructive commenting, but this guy is pure swine. Many of these assholes backed him up with his horse shit antics back in the day....hopefully not anymore.

darkstar said...

Dumb question perhaps. But is the "Dummies" series a certain X company? Wouldn't it be easy to gang busters the printers and get the book pulled from shelves?

darkstar said...

I feel the need to blog again. The rubber pussy thing is a bonus.

Trickster said...

Interesting Blog title Darkstar, especially for a guy who once insisted that he only smoked VERY rarely these days. Your last blog, especially in the last few months, was a perfect picture of a stoned man's ramblings, so it's good to see you admitting it more openly now.

Now I'm off to google a place to get a Stoya Destroya, your review has sold me. Hard to believe a 7 way would ever get boring, but Mrs. Palmer and her daughters are getting a little passe.

darkstar said...

WTF. If it really interests you that much I got my medicinal card and gave myself permission to smoke a little more due to my lifestyle.

That whole "hahaha guy is wasted stoned all the time and stupid" is grade school. Many people lead normal lives as "normal potheads". I know one guy has the federal ticket and works on Wall Street.

Fuck sakes. I just thought it was a fun title for the most part. Relax.

darkstar said...

It's a horrible logical fallacy I'd like to add. It's like saying The Beatles Sgt Pepper isn't a classic because they were experimenting with LSD at the time. Or that Carl Sagan wasn't brilliant because he smoked herbs and was open about it.

Some people NEED it for quality of life. My friend also has his card and is pretty much constantly stoned...I'd say about 10 times the THC in his blood than I every day. He has a good job, wife, kids...actually he's in New Orleans after the jazz fest right now living it up.

Anyway, your kinda grabbing at roots there. Hopefully you were just "trying" to hurt my feelings. I just wish people would get off that "pot makes of a stupid rambling idiot". Call me a stupid rambling idiot, doesn't bother me...but good people smoke herb and I felt the need to defend against that fallacy.....I'm sure you know better anyway.

Trickster said...

I wasn't trying to upset you, just pointing out the apparent change of attitude. I certainly have nothing against a nice smoke. Too old now for my old habits, but still enjoy it occasionally. I'd rather deal with a smoker than a drinker any day.

As to the ramblings, you're right about some great art being produced by those under the influence, but there is way more shit created that good stuff.

Unknown said...

He is down to three stars at Amazon. We need more bad reviews if you dislike the book, and/or you having issues about people stealing others material. Someone one suggested at the Cafe that people write to Wiley, the publisher, and let them know what you think of this guy. If they get enough feedback, they will pull the book.

darkstar said...

This is a perfect example as a community how we can take care of each other and take a stand.

If you guys can send a mail to Dummies. I didn't give much thought to mine, but it might help you guys get in the flow.

I for one will do exactly as stated in my quick letter. In theory we can be hundreds if not thousands strong.

James Clark tried to make an example of people by posting private information including home addresses. I say be just as militant, but in a moral and proper manner.

Mike said...

Struggling to find the aforementioned thread on the Cafe -- is the usual censorship afoot ?

Roland said...


darkstar said...

Yes. Unfortunately I've found near nothing at any "major" magician forum.

To me this topic with Dummies is something new in our community. It's one thing to not now at publishing time some of the book was plagiarized, it's another when we are talking a good 20-30 living people are being blatantly plagiarized in a volume made with laymen in mind, through a major label "legally".

I for one am obviously pissed off beyond the norm on this one. We really need to rally the troops and get this book pulled pronto. There is no debate that I can see. Dummies made a mistake...fine enough. But they have taken no action to correct it yet.

Personally I give them a week or so. If not it's time to let the press know what's going on. It's assured the Dummies books have more of this plagiarism in other books based on other topics.

darkstar said...

I should add within the past few hours it has gone on sale at Itunes.

Connor Jacobs said...

Thanks to behind-closed-doors efforts of a number of professionals, those whose work was plagiarised, and the lead of Dr Todd Landman, Wiley was convinced to withdraw this book from production in mid-2012. They could not withdraw the product from shelves, but vowed not to print any more. The downside of this is that copies are now worth $2000 or more...

anon said...

Hi Connor - a minor clarification --- I'd venture that the high price being quoted on Amazon etc is in fact evidence of what a good job the pro's have done having it pulled. I believe that the high price simply indicates that an Amazon algorithm has sensed there are so few copies available and thus it is automatically priced here. I've seen some obscure (and non-valuable books) get this treatment before. Which is good news. I would seriously doubt that any copies are, or ever will be, changing hands at $2,000 a pop. But hey, if anyone is dumb enough to pay that price, well perhaps they deserve what they get.

So probably yours is a good news post. There isn't really much downside: the market has been cleared of this shit. And the hassle it has caused the publisher will probably make it harder for that "author" to get similar gigs again...