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Many of you may deny this and instead cite some profound reasons for having gone into magic.
Some popular reasons can be that you have this urge to entertain people. Or that you love to see the look of amazement in people when you perform for them your hard-learned sleight-of-hand or when you show them your mysterious trick boxes.
Well, entertaining and amazing people with conjuring tricks are legitimate motivations for taking up magic as a hobby or profession. However, the chances are, they did not draw you to magic in the beginning. And they are not seducing you now, on a continuing basis, to keep studying and performing magic.
Secrets, secrets and more secrets. They are the seduction of magic. They seduce not only magicians, but also trick creators. They even beguile the lay public. It was the bug that bit you at the start of your love affair with magic.
When you buy a trick from a magic shop, you can’t return the item once you have discovered how it works. The magic dealer is not really selling you a prop or a trick. Rather, he is selling secrets. Once you know what they are, you have consumed or used up the value of the merchandise you bought.
Lay people who have no intention of making a career out of performing magic are intrigued by its secrets. No wonder when the Masked Magician exposed tricks on national TV, millions of ordinary people watched the show just to learn how magic and illusions are done. People are interested in knowing the tricks even though they don’t care about performing them.
Just spend some time on YouTube, and you will find a gazillion tattletale kids revealing magic tricks on home-made videos. They love the secrets of magic. But they love it even more when they expose the secrets to the world.
While magic’s existence and survival depend on its secrets, these secrets are being assaulted, exposed, traded and trafficked regularly and recklessly, sometimes by magic’s own practitioners.
This situation has gone worse with the advent of the Internet and online video broadcasting. In this era of the World Wide Web, there are no more sacred secrets…in magic.
However, in other fields, secrets are still sacrosanct. In Coca Cola it still is.
Recently, in denying a story by a public radio show that it has uncovered the formula, Coca-Cola said that its flagship cola recipe is still secret after nearly 125 years. (REUTERS)
Since the February 11 broadcast of This American Life, in which the program claimed it had discovered the drink’s secret formula, Kerry Tressler, a Coca-Cola spokeswoman, issued this statement: “Our formulation is our company’s most valued trade secret, and we will not be coming forward with that formula.” (Time.com)
Imagine, for 125 years Coca-Cola had kept the secret ingredient of its drink. No one within the company wore a mask to expose it. No one Wikileaked it. No kid with milk in his mouth appeared on YouTube to tease the public with “Coca-Cola Recipe Revealed” video.
This American Life tried to proffer a formulation they thought was Coke’s real thing formula, but the test tasters were adamant in their judgment. According to a Time story, “one woman said ‘it tastes like weird soda trying to be Coke,’ while another compared it to R.C. Cola (definitely not the real thing). Phil Mooney, Coke’s resident archivist since 1977, was equally dismissive: ‘It’s sweeter and flatter than Coca-Cola. It doesn’t have what we call the bite and the burn that Coca-Cola has.’ ”
Compare that shroud of secrecy to magic’s. While Coca-Cola guards its secret zealously, magicians don’t seem to mind magic secrets leaking almost unimpeded into the public consciousness and knowledge.
No wonder magic has lost its intriguing appeal to the new generation. It has become just something cute to watch like the CGI or 3D technology of Avatar.
Meanwhile, while magic’s code of silence is broken everywhere, the Coca-Cola recipe continues to be a guarded secret. As a result, legends surround it to this day.
According to Time.com, “The company has always said, and as far as I know it’s true, that at any given time only two people know how to mix the 7X flavoring ingredient,” Mark Pendergrast, historian and author of For God, Country and Coke told This American Life. “Those two people never travel on the same plane in case it crashes; it’s this carefully passed-on secret ritual and the formula is kept in a bank vault.
Kerry Tressl, according to Los Angeles Times, did confirm the legend of the formula — that it actually exists on paper, secure in a bank vault. As to rumors that only two people at the company know the formula at any given time? Well, that might be exaggerated. “We cannot confirm the number of people who are familiar with the formulation, but it is only a small handful,” she said.
Who knows? Leodini could be one of them…
- Update: Coke’s Secret Recipe is Safe, Says Coca Cola (blisstree.com)
- Coca-Cola Harnesses the Marketing Power of Secrets (businesspundit.com)
- Has Coca-Cola’s secret recipe been cracked? (ajc.com)
- Coca-cola product’s top secret formula revealed? (genzpad.com)