We are in a tough era of life and magic. One of the benefits magicians offer to society is a respite from tragedy or daily anxiety caused by war, strife, natural disasters and economic troughs. Unfortunately, there is remarkable difference in this time of world concern, the individuals looked to for entertainment and distraction are not immune to the virus and economic devastation.
This article started out as a focus on several magicians around the United States and the world who have passed away due to the virus. These were men and women of ages from early thirties to the late seventies. They lived in different sized towns, large and small. They entertained different audiences in different venues of varying sizes. But all of them had fans, if only their families and close friends.
We realized that we could not chronicle each magician’s passing. The official publications of the Society of American Magicians and the International Brotherhood of Magicians have added extra space to cover their lives and too early deaths.
On top of the virus, we have social strife over something as basic as human rights and equality for all men and women. Black lives matter. This shouldn’t be a new concept. It is one set forth in the 13th and 14th amendments to our constitution but wouldn’t be fulfilled through reconstruction, Jim Crow, the civil rights movement of the 1960s and even today.
Magic has had a good, not perfect, but good reputation of treating magicians of all races equally. In some cases, the equality was seen only on the stage but behind the curtains, those very same performers were discriminated against in lodging, travel and basic human commerce.
We are the type who see the glass half-full always. We have been proven wrong by those on the margin of our society who would like nothing more than to push back on the hard-fought progress made thus far but in no way complete. Still we agree with Martin Luther King, Jr. that the arc of the moral universe will inevitably bend toward justice. It may take time but we agree and find great hope in the inevitable endpoint of work and struggle.
We realize this post is unlike any post we have ever made in this modest web publication but we felt moved by the deaths and struggle we see on television, our love for our fellow man, our hope for a cure for both the medical issues surrounding the virus as well as the societal illness that would ever deny equality to any man or woman based on the color of their skin, their beliefs, their disabilities, their social standing, who they love, or where they were born.
As noted in the Broken Wand section of the International Brotherhood of Magicians’ publication, The Linking Ring, “any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.”