On magic, and Modi, and demonetization

Here is my second essay for BuzzFeed: On why demonetization is the greatest magic act of all time.

Here are the magic backgrounders I used as the spine of my piece:

A first-person piece by Teller, of the legendary Penn and Teller duo, where he explains the basic principles of magic

An interview with Teller in Smithsonian, where the master speaks of why magic has such timeless appeal, and what goes into the making of a trick

A lecture-demonstration by Teller for the Mind Science Foundation that deconstructs the basics of magic:

Tommy Wonder performing a basic cups-and-balls routine up close:

Jason Latimer performs the cups-and-balls, only he uses see-through cups so you know, or think you know, exactly what he is doing:

And finally, Penn and Teller again: they do the cups and balls, show you how it’s done, then they do it all over again with clear cups and balls and you still don’t get it:

As always, appreciate your thoughts and comments in the feedback section.

5 thoughts on “On magic, and Modi, and demonetization

  1. Enjoyable, albeit amusing as usual PP…. I adore the theories that you put forth!

    At times, one tends to wonder, whether this country really requires a PM…The previous PM (with all due respect), was labeled as “zipped up” or didn’t open his mouth on any issues…

    The current PM (with sincere apologies) flies around like a rock-star participating in events at Madison Square Garden and Wembley! He spends an entire month and a half campaigning in Bihar, UP, or Gujarat, or wherever there is an election…

    So who is actually running the country – Is it people and their issues?

    Or, the media (apologies again), who keep creating issues; to show that there is something going on in the country.

    Whatever be the circumstance, the mindset of the people are surely taking a beating…

    This reminds me of the security guard outside the New York Mets Stadium, where they played the All Stars Cricket Match sometime back… Sir, what do you think of this match, and the effect Cricket will have on the people of America, asks the interviewer…

    The guard says, “Frankly speaking, I don’t care what the f*$k goes on in there, they can have a zoo if they want, as long as they pay me.”

    Do something or build something and they will come – as the say in the “Field of Dreams”… or it will only create intolerance and wapasi!

    You cannot control the mindset of the people as if it was a movie (a la “Inception”!), so that whatever I do, will be liked by the people… That is a thing of the past… And, I am speaking for, both, if not all parties here… Inception style of management is on its way out!

    That is why, I feel “DeMo” was an “Inceptional Joke” (Apologies again)…

    How long the magic (a la Now You See Me) will last, is anybody’s guess!

    After that, it is going to be, “Thumhare Paas Kya Hai?” and it will just be “Mere Paas Gau Maata Hai!” and nothing else…

    Sorry, if this hurt any sentiments…it is written purely from a movie buff’s point of view… If you feel strongly about it… please watch “Toilet Ek Prem Katha”…and flush this out!

  2. Alan Kay said that we go to the magic show to deliberately to fool ourselves, and nowadays they invade our home to fool us. The interesting part is that so many of us (in a democracy) seem to want this. Interesting times.

    • Ah thanks, I hadn’t heard of that Alan Kay line. And, as you say, interesting times, though “interesting” is a fairly tepid word for what is going on.

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