We are loathe to ever write anything negative on the pages of InsideMagic.com.
We do not provide reviews of new effects if the review would be less than at least four stars. We just don’t review tricks we have found to be unsatisfactory. We don’t promote articles or videos that we believe expose or denigrate our art. We have held this position since our start in the mid-1990s.
The reason behind this philosophy is based on the fact that as a whole, magicians are good people and their work represents a source of income and a source of pride. We would be the last organization to interfere with those sources of positivity.
And so, why are we writing this post about the two-part series published in Genii last month and this?
The series was written by Jamy Ian Swiss on the momentous night in Brooklyn when the Phantom of the Card Table, Walter Scott performed seemingly impossible feats of card dealing whilst wearing a blindfold.
The event has been captured in books and has gone down in magic lore. Most recently, a copy of Cardini’s version of the manuscript has been published by Conjuring Arts with notes, a preface and forward. It is a fine production and we have been pouring over it since our purchase on the first day it was available. Please take the time to read about the making of the new book, Phantom of the Card Table, Critical Edition.
Mr. Swiss concedes the publication itself offers the magic community something of value and is well produced. In doing so, however, he attacks several magicians, magic historians and dealers.
We don’t mind honest criticism and we have no puppy in this battle. But we were distraught at the vitriol used in the attacks. He questions the motivations and credentials of contributors to the effort in harsh terms and provides his “considered opinion that Joe Crist, Walter Scott and Eddie McGuire all had a lot in common. All three were confirmed bull___t artists.”
We think the Phantom / Walter Scott story is fascinating and view the new book as a major step-forward in the study of our great art’s history. It is just a shame that a two-issue article on the matter could not be presented on a higher, non ad-hominem, level.
There are some in our art that we like and some we like more or less. We see no need in attacking those we like less, especially publicly. We also realize that this post does exactly what we are against. That explains our reluctance to write it and even greater reluctance to post it. We mean no ill-will to Mr. Swiss or Genii. We are devoted fans of both. Our complaint is only with this two-part article on a subject in which we are so interested.