Join 3,559 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


An Honest Magician
August 17, 2011 3:15 AM   Subscribe

The Magic of Truth and Lies - SLYT TED by Marco Tempest

I don't know what magic will be like in fifty years, but I suspect that it will look a lot like Marco Tempest.
- H.S.H. Princess Stéphanie of Monaco
posted by hypersloth (17 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." --Arthur C. Clarke.
posted by chavenet at 3:27 AM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


This clip reminds me of F for Fake, Orson Welles' documentary on the same topic. Welles' film was genius, but the kind of genius that makes me angry. I understand that deception is a necessary piece of human experience, and that art depends upon it. The problem with deception is that it complicates the world for people who want to live rationally, according to strict rules of moral behavior. It's like an olympian who uses steroids and changes the face of his sport; others have to capitulate in order to maintain their relative standing. Likewise those of us who love the simplicity of living earnest lives have to engage in all sorts of deceptions in order to present ourselves for public consumption so to speak. Some of us are very good at this. Some of us can edit ourselves into a work of art. I think that's what Bogart did, and Bertrand Russell, and Liz Taylor. Michael Jackson tried and failed miserably. Phil Ochs is my favorite example of a man who became the character and saw it through to the end. I think that's my biggest problem--not knowing when I'm playing a part. I think Shakespeare might have had something to say on the topic.
posted by jwhite1979 at 4:37 AM on August 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


TED sure loves shiny things.
posted by DU at 4:41 AM on August 17, 2011


I hope that in 50 years magic isn't really reduced to pushing gadgets around and reciting homilies.
posted by robself at 4:46 AM on August 17, 2011 [6 favorites]


I have two thoughts.

1) TED's really scraping the barrel now.

2) You people stood up for that?!

Well, I guess that's one thought.
posted by seanmpuckett at 4:54 AM on August 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


I hope that in 50 years magic isn't really reduced to pushing gadgets around and reciting homilies.

That's my reaction too. There's not much magic there - he's even selling the app on his website. Without some sort of reveal at the end where he shows you that in fact these were not iPods, but empty shells, or that he'd removed the batteries beforehand, it's just a technology demo for product that synchronises three videos.

What little 'magic' there is is just your common-or-garden palming tricks, one of which he fluffs quite badly when he leaves the wing of a fake butterfly poking out from where he's stuck it to the back of one of the iPods.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 4:56 AM on August 17, 2011


omg I could see his hand RIGHT THROUGH THE SCREEN
posted by flabdablet at 4:58 AM on August 17, 2011


No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame.

Am not sure why there was a standing ovation here? He has a decent concept and likeable stage presence, but I thought that was a prerequisite for TED.

Seems very surface overall, 1/3 slight of hand, 1/3 Apple ad, and 1/3 pop psychology. (For a proper TED talk on psychology, the new Zimbardo is more substantial, btw)
posted by nickrussell at 4:59 AM on August 17, 2011


Any sufficiently advanced TED talk is indistinguishable from any other sufficiently advanced TED talk.
1. vvvvvVROOM. vvvrrrrrrrrr...
2. Applause.
3. Show some slides about the unthreatening, happy stuff you've been doing, which is way cool to look at and somehow reminds us that we love us.
4. Say, that's cool to look at, that is.
5. Our view of the world is now changed and we love us and how good and clean and smart we feel right now.
6. Requisite standing ovation.
7. So, uh... are you going to MaxBurningSeX this year?
posted by pracowity at 5:00 AM on August 17, 2011 [6 favorites]


I do have to agree with the detractors, for many of the same reasons. Even for a TED talk, this is leaving me with "meh."

He does seem earnest, though, and the thing regarding honest magicians is quotable.
posted by clvrmnky at 7:34 AM on August 17, 2011


The problem with deception is that it complicates the world for people who want to live rationally, according to strict rules of moral behavior.

That's not strictly a problem. It's a confounding issue for people who want a complicated, messy world to be simple and orderly, but that's not the same thing.
posted by mhoye at 7:36 AM on August 17, 2011


I don't know what magic will be like in fifty years, but I suspect that it will look a lot like Marco Tempest.
- H.S.H. Princess St├ęphanie of Monaco


I don't know what p.r. blurbs will be like in fifty years, but I suspect they will be just as random and useless as they are now.
posted by googly at 7:59 AM on August 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


The problem with deception is that it complicates the world for people who want to live rationally, according to strict rules of moral behavior.

That's not strictly a problem. It's a confounding issue for people who want a complicated, messy world to be simple and orderly, but that's not the same thing.


I think that's condescending and reductive. If we are studying T-cells or electrons it would be counterproductive to fudge our data in order to produce results that make a medicine or transistor more marketable. Putting data on display as simply and as candidly as possible is a necessary component of productive science. Nobody would say that a person who demands a high level of credibility in the sciences is trying to reduce a complicated world to a simplistic one.
posted by jwhite1979 at 8:18 AM on August 17, 2011


I liked it. It made me happy.
posted by zeek321 at 8:39 AM on August 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


He has an enthusiastic and disarming manner, the images were cute and the presentation original. It's not King Lear, but it was a great 5 minute diversion.
posted by Steakfrites at 11:30 AM on August 17, 2011


I liked it. Maybe it's a little thin for a TED talk but as a 5 minute thing on Youtube it's pretty good.
posted by minifigs at 1:08 PM on August 17, 2011


The problem with deception is that it complicates the world for people who want to live rationally,

Rationality is an illusion.
posted by doctor_negative at 2:38 PM on August 17, 2011


« Older Suck on it Applesoft....  |  Silence of Love from Thai Life... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments