Tony Spain is by all accounts one of the worst people in magic. He proved deserving of the title last week attempting to make commercial hay out of the Anthony Wiener scandal by “sending a Twitter of his wand.”
Mr. Spain sent a grainy image of a beat-up magic wand as an attachment to his unsolicited direct messages to hundreds important debutantes in 23 different locations in the United States, Canada and Mexico.
Many of the young ladies — having been chastened by the news surrounding Anthony Weiner’s scandal — refused to open the image attachment. As a result, Twitter determined Tony Spain’s messages were “uninvited, obscene material” and violated the Twitter terms of service. The folks at Twitter closed Tony Spain’s account without opening the attached image. Tony yelped and pleaded but Twitter refused to entertain the insolent magi’s petitions.
Tony Spain, being Tony Spain, started an impotent public attack on Twitter. He claimed the nascent Internet social media company was infringing on his “Fifth Amendment rights.”
Disregard for a second that the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution has nothing to do with free speech or speech conducted via social media, by making this allegation Mr. Spain’s shared ample proof of his ignorance worldwide.
We assume Mr. Spain wanted to argue that he had certain First Amendment rights guaranteeing him the “Right to Free Speech.” As noted above, this right only protects against actions by the government. (With the passage of the 14th Amendment, the Bill of Rights apply to protect against the actions of state and local governments). As readers of Inside Magic know, the Fifth Amendment protects against being forced to incriminate oneself.
We have received perhaps hundreds of copies of Mr. Spain’s Twitter messages from the original recipients and others. The text of the message accompanying the image attachment reads, “Here is a picture of my wand. Look at it. Isn’t it magnificent? It is so magical.”
What Tony Spain hoped to accomplish is unclear. But that is how Tony Spain rolls. Who would open the attachment to a message like this?
One of the contributors to the magic bulletin boards quipped “Tony Spain is to magic what hemorrhoids are to thoroughbred horse racing. Painful and ultimately unhelpful.”
We condemn in the strongest possible manner Tony Spain’s activities in this case. We believe this type of publicity hurts all magicians and all of magic.
6/24/11 – Update: Since publishing this initial article, we learned the pictures Mr. Spain sent were not even of his own wand!
Apparently, lacking a camera, camera phone, sketchpad, computer software, or imagination, he decided to swipe a picture of a wand from the site for Image Stock Photos. Today, that company filed a federal lawsuit in the Eastern District Court of Michigan seeking a permanent injunction against Tony Spain. He would be prohibited from using any image from their websites and would be required to retrieve messages that included the image titled “Sad Looking Magic Wand.”
Mark Tanner, an erstwhile member of the Inside Magic editorial staff, spoke with Tony Spain this morning while the two were parked at least 500 feet from a local high school. Mr. Spain indicated that he already complied fully with the terms of the proposed injunction and believes the issue is a settled matter. We note, however, the complaint seeks not only injunctive relief but also statutory monetary compensation of $100,000.
Tony does not have that kind of moolah. Readers recall the last time the underkind of magic tried to raise money in a pinch. He needed $500.00 for bail to spring from the Clark County Correctional Facility in Las Vegas. He failed miserably. In fact, the largest contribution he received was $2.87 from his cellmate. The prison rule of thumb is that if your cellmate is willing to post your bail, you have reached the lowest of the lowlifes. The $2.87 was a significant contribution from his bunkmate. It was all he had in the Trustee Account and was equal to the cost of four single Newport cigarettes.
We will follow this story as if it is a story worthy of following just because it features Tony Spain. Should anything develop, you will be able to read about it here first.
When magicians try to be clever, especially on the national stage and especially when lampooning a political scandal, the results are rarely good.
Historians recall a world-famous magician sending his Christmas card inscribed with the words “May your Christmas be Magic” from “The man with more children across this nation than President Harding.”
The magician thought this card would be appropriate in light of the scandal surrounding the many out-of-wedlock children allegedly fathered by the President.
The recipients of the Christmas card did not find humor in the magician’s jibe and voiced their concern. In a column titled “What is [Name Redacted] doing?” Vince Kamber, a semiprofessional magician from Evanston Illinois, wrote:
Perhaps Mr. [Name Redacted] is trying to be funny. Maybe he is trying to act like he is the president and that he has many children. But because I don’t know Mr. [Name Redacted] personally. I didn’t get the joke. All I could think was that he was saying he had many bastard children around the United States and perhaps the world. I didn’t get the joke. I didn’t understand why he would be admitting that he had these bastard children and even if he wanted to say it publicly, why he would say it in a Christmas card. Some people say he should have said, “I am making a joke about the President” so that people would know it was a joke. I don’t think it would have helped though. If Mr. [Name Redacted] had written, “I am making fun of the President” or “The following is a joke. It is about the President having a lot of bastard children,” I still don’t think I would have gotten the joke. Maybe people who know [Name Redacted] would get the joke. Or maybe if I were following politics more I would’ve gotten the joke. But I didn’t and so it was just nonsensical to my liking.”
Lessons unlearned are lessons learned anew.