The Magician’s Code of Ethics


By web gangsta | Published:

The number one rule in magic is “never give away your secrets, never tell them how it’s done.”

While Penn & Teller may disagree with the premise (seeing how they’ve built their entire career off of revealing their own and other magicians’ secrets in their act), the concept is still valid.  Half the fun of seeing a high-quality magic act is the suspension of disbelief that the audience can have for those two hours.

Standing on a pole in the middle of a park isn’t “magic” in the traditional sense. There is no hidden trick, no amount of misdirection can alleviate the amount of effort it can take to stand still for hours on end… with or without a supportive device to lean on at times.  Not saying that David Blaine used something like that — but Web Watch would if we were forced into doing that type of stunt ourselves.

Shadowland, by Peter Straub
Shadowland, by Peter Straub

Web Watch knows that there is one stock answer that every magician should answer with whenever they’re asked, “how’d you do that?”

The answer being, “I did that very well, thank you for asking.”

Where are we going with this?  It’s all about the INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF MAGICIANS and SOCIETY OF AMERICAN MAGICIANS’ CODE OF ETHICS.

And what’s on the MAGICIAN’S CODE?

The usual suspects, of course:

  • Do not willfully expose to the public any principles of the Art of Magic, or any method used in an effect or illusion
  • Do not jeopardize another magician’s performance
  • Respect magic’s creators and inventors, give credit were credit is due

and one that should be obvious, but it’s nice to see it given its own bullet point:

  • Promote the humane treatment of livestock used in magical performances.

Because shoving 40 doves into a tuxedo jacket is relatively normal for the dove.

So what about your industry?  Do you need a code of ethics of your own?  Leave a comment with what you’d like to see as an ethical code for a industry that doesn’t have one: