We avoid venturing into controversial waters like Trump v. Clinton, Brexit, Paper v. Plastic, or roughing fluid versus spray. So, it would make sense that we would avoid jumping into the metaphorical above-ground pool of debate surrounding the issues related to Mr. Blaine’s latest special. There is nothing to be gained by our belly-flop into the tepid, three-foot deep waters of that construct. And like the real, temporary, plastic and poorly constructed entertainment device that typifies most above-ground pools, the debate will likely lead to heartbreak, a soaked lawn, unsightly bruising and possible e-coli infection.
Nonetheless, we feel obligated to say something.
Inside Magic places the safety of magicians and their audiences above almost all – except for profit from questionable “dating” website advertisements that make up our monthly cash-flow. We were concerned by Mr. Blaine’s demonstration of the Bullet Catch trick and his regurgitation of frogs.
We were concerned for his own safety, obviously. Catching a 22 caliber bullet in your mouth is dangerous – even if you are surrounded by technical and medical experts. But we were even more concerned by the thought of viewers who either couldn’t or didn’t read his disclaimer, attempting to perform the same effect sans preparation, safety teams or sobriety.
Depending on the count and who is counting, a dozen or more well-practiced magicians have died performing the illusion of the Bullet Catch. We do not know if there is a way of counting how many magician or lay folks have died or been injured attempting to do the real thing. If it is a number greater than or equal to one, it is too many for us.
We fully agree that Mr. Blaine cannot be held responsible for the actions of the unprepared audience member who tries to duplicate or better his stunt. But still, why put the idea in the heads of the very small percentage of our global community who have access to a gun, a mouth guard and video camera?
It made for great television and we were on the edge of our seats – our cat has a hairball issue and we refuse to sit back fully in any chair in the mobile home unless there is sufficient light to see that the coast is clear. Even though we were watching a recorded event being replayed through our TiVo, we were still anxious.
We thought the show was produced with aplomb and slick as all get-out. Even though there was a great reliance on camera and editing, it still entertained us to the point that the mobile home now smells of burnt microwave popcorn because we could not leave our TV set – and we don’t even have a microwave or popcorn.
Mr. Blaine told Australian reporters that his performance was to counter “America’s dangerous obsession with guns.” He said he hoped “the risky feat might ‘demotivate’ his countrymen to think twice about turning weapons on each other.”
He wanted to bring the reality of gun violence home. “I’d like this to be something for people, when they watch it, they really experience how dangerous and how scary it actually is and maybe in some strange way it would demotivate people from firing guns on other people,” Mr. Blaine said, adding with a laugh, “hopefully, they won’t think I’m invincible and just shoot me when I’m not ready.”
As for bringing frogs up from his stomach, we suppose that is not as big a risk for copy-cat performers. It was an interesting effect and not one yet available on the internet magic stores. If folks try to duplicate or outdo Mr. Blaine by swallowing amphibians and puking them up into rich people’s champagne flutes, we probably don’t mind. PETA may have concerns for the frogs and the rich people might not want their fine goblets converted into aquariums but those are two constituencies that fail to read Inside Magic that regularly; so we don’t mind offending them.
We wish Mr. Blaine continued success but hope his viewers heed his warnings and intended message – a gun fired into your mouth can kill you.