An End to the Andre Kole Controversy.

Joe M. Turner

Andre Kole did several fantastic illusions and a strong set for kids. He then ventured into what was apparently supposed to be a motivational style presentation about character, courage and commitment using the Old Testament story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego as a foundation for it. It was not an “evangelical” message.

However…

The content of that presentation became muddled with a commentary about the 4th of July and the documented reverence for God in the founding documents of our country. He then made a comment that there were organizations spending millions of dollars to remove any mention of God from our motto, from the pledge, etc., and that they would have to change the Declaration of Independence, too.

For those who may not have been paying attention, I will emphasize that he did *not* engage in direct Christian evangelizing or proselytizing. His comments in the Saturday night show were not specific to Christianity. His political statement (basically a veiled criticism of the ACLU) was much more specific than any religious statement he made.

Neither of the statements, unfortunately, was presented with much magic. This was one of the situations when “less” would have been “more.” If the statements had been condensed to 25% or 30% of the time he actually spent, and he actually performed some kind of illusion along the way (the effect he was attempting to perform didn’t really work), he probably would have tiptoed through the whole episode without a problem — much like P&T include plenty of social and religious commentary in their show as part of the presentation of some magical effects.

Instead, Kole’s segment seemed unrehearsed and it dragged the show’s energy way down. The energy of the entire show up to that point sadly dissipated and was only partially saved by the (very impressive) Statue of Liberty vanish at the end. Also, in the other shows where I’ve seen Andre, he is able to give the audience an opportunity to leave before he engages in ANY commentary that anyone could possibly find irritating or offensive. That did not (and perhaps could not?) happen here.

Personally, I agree with the content of Andre Kole’s remarks and suspect that most folks reading this would actually agree with 90% or more of what he said (about courage, commitment, character, and patriotism, etc.). This venue, though, was not the place for the sort of extended remarks he made. It is a credit to the convention that this seems to be the hot topic of discussion because so many other things went so well that there must be nothing else to complain about. So far, I am hearing that people are more upset that the show’s pacing was thrown than they are about the specific…

Joe M. Turner

Andre Kole did several fantastic illusions and a strong set for kids. He then ventured into what was apparently supposed to be a motivational style presentation about character, courage and commitment using the Old Testament story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego as a foundation for it. It was not an “evangelical” message.

However…

The content of that presentation became muddled with a commentary about the 4th of July and the documented reverence for God in the founding documents of our country. He then made a comment that there were organizations spending millions of dollars to remove any mention of God from our motto, from the pledge, etc., and that they would have to change the Declaration of Independence, too.

For those who may not have been paying attention, I will emphasize that he did *not* engage in direct

Christian evangelizing or proselytizing. His comments in the Saturday night show were not specific to Christianity. His political statement (basically a veiled criticism of the ACLU) was much more specific than any religious statement he made.

Neither of the statements, unfortunately, was presented with much magic. This was one of the situations when “less” would have been “more.” If the statements had been condensed to 25% or 30% of the time he actually spent, and he actually performed some kind of illusion along the way (the effect he was attempting to perform didn’t really work), he probably would have tiptoed through the whole episode without a problem — much like P&T include plenty of social and religious commentary in their show as part of the presentation of some magical effects.

Instead, Kole’s segment seemed unrehearsed and it dragged the show’s energy way down. The energy of the entire show up to that point sadly dissipated and was only partially saved by the (very impressive) Statue of Liberty vanish at the end. Also, in the other shows where I’ve seen Andre, he is able to give the audience an opportunity to leave before he engages in ANY commentary that anyone could possibly find irritating or offensive. That did not (and perhaps could not?) happen here.

Personally, I agree with the content of Andre Kole’s remarks and suspect that most folks reading this would actually agree with 90% or more of what he said (about courage, commitment, character, and patriotism, etc.). This venue, though, was not the place for the sort of extended remarks he made. It is a credit to the convention that this seems to be the hot topic of discussion because so many other things went so well that there must be nothing else to complain about. So far, I am hearing that people are more upset that the show’s pacing was thrown than they are about the specific content of the comments he made. That said, I’m pretty comfortable letting his tactical miscalculation fade in comparison to his massive contributions to magic over the last several decades.

If you all really want to talk about something controversial at the IBM convention, let’s discuss the close-up competition. To me, I think what happened there was far more important than Kole’s blunder on Saturday night.

JMT

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