Monday, September 20, 2010

The phantom post

One of my favorite movies is The Illusionist with Edward Norton. In fact right after watching that movie I went out and bought a book about Houdini. There is something mysterious about magicians and escape artists in the late 1800's, early 1900's. Before the movies, before the Internet, we looked to these performers to captivate us from their creativity and imagination.

Houdini lived a very fascinating life and travelled the world. He had to keep his act top secret because there were many copy cat performers in those days. It was very difficult to keep track of them because of the flow of information in that time. A performer could view your act in New York and set up shop across country and perform the same act to an audience that had not witnessed the original. They would not know the difference until the original performer appeared in their city. Usually an artist of Houdini's caliber had already improved upon his original act and expanded his performance so by the time they witnessed him there was no comparison to the copy cat performer. That was one of the brilliant traits of Houdini, he never settled on a successful act, he was constantly improving upon it.

I'm going to revamp this blog into a few things I love: history and how it pertains to the world we live in today. From other amazing blogs I have viewed on the Blogspot I realize my musings about daily life are not quite the draw. I need to revamp my act. This will share some things you may not have known about our past and also relate them to the way we are living now. Life in the late 19th century and early 20th was very difficult. The disposable income was very meager and even star performers of Houdini's magnitude had to struggle to maintain their lifestyle. It wasn't a world where semi-talented people became instant celebrities and made millions. They had to work for everything and even then they were not guaranteed rewards. In fact Houdini may not have enjoyed Eisenheim's performance in The Illusionist because a lot of it related to the supernatural and spirits. Houdini did not appreciate magicians who performed that act. He was an escape artist and not an illusionist. Everything he did, he did for real in his eyes, where as an illusionist simply fooled us. He spent much of his life before his death uncovering psychics and mediums that had become so popular with the masses during that time. What people believed had to be real Houdini showed how it was done with illusion.

Now we are are fooled by business projections, stock returns, and life gurus. There is the promise of instant and never-ending wealth that never appears and television producers who make average, everyday people television stars only to make them magically disappear a few years later. The greatest magic acts today were sold to us by politicians, Wall Street and Madison Avenue. They dazzled us with words and graphs. They flashed images of immense beauty before our eyes and fed us reassuring words on how everything before us could be ours. But they were selling their wealth, not ours. We didn't get the true value, we got the packaged item behind the product and it was not a "Houdini act" because Harry Houdini was the real deal. It was an imitation Houdini and we are still buying it.

The reason I titled this the phantom post is yesterday I posted a revealing post about myself. I realize that while it is important to be open and honest with myself, this blog doesn't need to burden others with that. My personal growth is my own. I am making the necessary changes but need to do that in a private secret "Jon blog" hidden somewhere in a vault with extra locks that even Houdini couldn't pick. There is enough information of me already swirling through these magic machines we type on everyday. They won't get everything! I still need a job. I refuse to let my blog disqualify me when they have access to so much to do so already. So in honor of Eisenheim and Houdini, I simply made it vanish....

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