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PhotobucketDear Leodini,

I am 88 years old. Some of my friends say there is no magic. My Grand Papa says, “If you see it in Leodini’s blog,  it’s so.” Please tell me the truth, is there such thing as magic?

Virginia Claus

Virginia, your geriatric friends are wrong. They may be suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. They have forgotten what magic was like when they were still children.

I don’t know if you are the same Virginia who wrote The New York Sun in 1897 asking if there’s a Santa Claus. If you are, then you must be older than 88 years. I know many women lie about their age. My wife does it all the time. But next time you write me a letter, please put a smiling emoticon beside your age, so I know you’re just kidding.
I admire your  inquisitive mind. Next time, though, don’t ask me if there’s a thumb tip, because I’m ‘not in the position to give you a straight answer.  I’m bound by the magician’s code of secrecy.

Yes, Virginia, there is magic, but only if, as Michael Finney says, it’s performed correctly.

Alas, many Filipino magicians rarely perform magic correctly these days. They have been affected by the razzle-dazzle of modern technology. They think that special effects are magic.

They get their hair blown by large stage fans. They blind the audience with strobe lights. They litter the stage with confetti and throw streamers against Al Gore’s importuning to keep the environment clean. They suffocate the audience with smoke and fog in a theater where cigarette smoking is prohibited.

No,Virginia, CGI is not magic.Video editing and camera cuts are not magic. Photoshop is not magic. Merlin and Harry Potter wouldn’t touch them with a one-inch wand, because they are special effects, not magic. But yes, Virginia, many magicians are unable to distinguish one from the other.

That explains why when a magician self-levitates three feet off the ground, or floats like a helium balloon from one building to another, he thinks he is performing magic. In reality, it’s special effects. The graphic artists and computer geeks behind the camera  are doing the effect for him.

PhotobucketThat also explains why when a magician vanishes a beautiful girl amid blue lights, blinding strobes, exploding confetti cannons, hissing smoke machines spewing fog so thick you thought you’re inside a gas chamber, he thinks he amazes the audience. The truth is, the audience is not impressed. They are merely confused why this confounded magician would celebrate New Year’s Eve on stage every night of his show’s run.

Yes, Virginia, there is magic, if magicians would only bin  their confetti cannons,  junk their stage hair blower, refuse to ignite their flash paper, stop using smoke powder, disconnect the fog machines and cut up their throw streamers.

Magic will be served in good stead if magicians would also stop appearing on image-manipulated TV shows then desist from preening around like peacocks as if they are the greatest things since peacocks. The audience knows that these TV magicians are not doing magic. The magicians, of course,  don’t know that they don’t know, thus giving new depth and profundity to the meaning of the word clueless.

Virginia, since you are fond of writing letters to editors for over a century now, I suggest you write letters to these magicians. Email them if you may, as this is the21st century already. Implore them to go back to magic. Beseech them to forswear their fascination for special effects. Wake them up from their clueless slumber.
Yes,Virginia, there is magic. You can watch it on YouTube done by an inexperienced, young magician.  He places a coin in his left hand. And when he opens it, the coin is gone.  No strobe light to blind the eye, no smoke machine to suffocate the lungs, no throw streamers and confetti and fog and haze to obscure the magic. The coin just disappears. That is magic in the purest sense.

Yes, Virginia, I think you have noticed I keep saying No and Yes.  I’ve done it so many times now in this letter you may be wondering if I have  a limited vocabulary.

No, Virginia, I don’t have a limited vocabulary, but yes, Virginia, I’m a lazy writer.

Stay magical,