A reader from the USA, James Brant, has sent me a letter which I print below.
He is asking a question about Criss Angel that has an easy answer but is difficult to answer, because the answer will not answer his question even though it has an easy answer. (All right, my English teacher will fail me for using the word answer five times in a sentence. If I’m redundantly redundant, forgive me. I have a good reason to do so.)
Yes, I have to waffle on this one, even though I’m known as the Filipino magician in the entire Philippines who talks straight, walks my talk, and talks no-nonsense talks.
James’ question is easy to answer, because every magician in the Philippines, in the USA—heck, in all corners and nooks and crannies of the whole wide world— know the answer.
But the thing is, will I blurt out the answer on this blog?
Not easy to do without exposing Criss Angel. I feel like a girl being asked to prove my virginity. How can I do that without dropping my shorts and exposing myself?
Can’t be done elegantly, I suppose. And so I have to waffle. This blog frowns on all types of exposure—even if it’s Scarlett Johansson exposing herself. In the unlikely event she suggests that idea, we are going to nix it. Honest.
Below is my attempt in the art of equivocation.
But first, here’s James’ letter.
Mr. Leodini, I’ve visited your website and enjoyed it very much.
I have a question that you may be able to answer for me. I’m critiquing some of Criss Angel’s work and in doing so, I’ve come across some of his critics.
To your knowledge, do you know if Mr. Angel uses “plants” (paid actors) and clever film editing to make his demonstrations look real, or is what he does actually genuine?
Thanks for your letter. As you can glean from my introduction above, I’m not inclined to give your question a straight answer. I have enumerated my reasons. I hope you understand.
Still, I will give you five answers based on five different assumptions. It’s a multiple-choice thing. It’s up to you to pick one answer that you like most, one that validates your preconceived notion of Criss Angel.
The reason for the multiple answer is that I’m not sure which are you of the following: a) a joker pulling my leg; b) a scavenger of magic secrets; c) a skeptic; d) a seeker of truth; e) a 12-year old Criss Angel fan.
If you are just pulling my leg, ha-ha-ha.
If you are a seeker of magic secrets, don’t look for answers here. This blog doesn’t expose, reveal or teach magic tricks.
If you are a skeptic, ask your question on Amazing Randi’s site. Hope that he doesn’t get suspicious and skeptical of your intentions.
If you are a seeker of truth, stop looking for it. The truth will not set you free in this instance. It will just make you feel tricked.
Why would you care how Criss Angel does his amazing feat? If you look at your watch to see the time, you don’t need to open it and look at the gears inside to see how the watch can tell you it’s 7.30 in the morning. Why would you like to know how Criss Angel scales a building? Just be amazed and be contented with the joy that amazement brings.
If you are a Criss Angel fan, write him a letter. Many magicians hate him, especially those who don’t have shows on national television.
I don’t particularly like Criss Angel’s shows, but I don’t hate him or his program. He is doing good for magic. He is promoting the art of magic in a unique and modern medium that reaches millions of people across the globe. True, his magic is played in non-traditional platform, using non-traditional techniques. But for better or worse, he casts his spell on millions of televiewers every time he is on TV, as opposed to many hatemongers who perform only for their shortsighted grandmother and to two or three others they can manage to buttonhole on the street.
Well, those are my waffled but hopefully sage answers to your questions.