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Most people shy away from the task of getting up from their chair, joining the magician on stage and performing in front of a live audience. As a result, they become the worst persons to help in a magic performance.
Choosing shy people who are reluctant to help is not uncommon in magic shows. According to studies, public speaking (thus standing in front of a group of strangers) is the number one phobia in the world.
Magicians in the Philippines may love performing and showing off their skills in front of an audience. Most lay people, though, shirk from it. They dread being the center of attention. Performing in front of people, some of them strangers, scare them.
Most audience members, therefore, need to be coaxed to join a magician on center stage to be his assistant. Good manners dictate that when volunteers are on stage, they deserve respect from the performer. They should join the fun of a magic performance, not be made fun of.
I’m mentioning this today because many magicians, not only in the Philippines but around the world, frown on the use of Baffling Bra in a magic performance. They claim the trick embarrasses the lady assistant. They say that the apparent removal of a woman’s bra, illusion though it may be, is not a politically correct thing to do. The trick, therefore, has no place in any magic show.
Advocates of political correctness has no taste also for tricks like Professor Cheer’s Comedy Rope, which uses boxer’s shorts. The usual argument used against it is its lack of tastefulness in a family oriented show.
I recognize the potential of the Baffling Bra trick to embarrass a woman volunteer if a magician performs it on her. I don’t perform the trick myself, because I don’t want being slapped by a woman while the audience thinks the slapping scene is part of my show.
But to say that the bra trick has no place “in any magic show” exaggerates the level of tastelessness of this trick.
In this modern world of ours where feminists burn their bra in public to make a statement; where giant billboards of gorgeous male and female models in various states of undress showing off their underwear dot the city’s landscape; where Disney’s Jungle Book has Mowgli, the main character, wearing an Indian version of a boxer’s shorts from the start to the end of the movie—surely, a magician with just the littlest gift of common sense can find the right venue to perform magic involving bras and boxer shorts.