A couple of weeks ago I stumbled on this post, by someone caled Mark Philip Lichtenstein, who styles himself a ‘magician’ (he’s a stage conjurer with an inflated opinion of himself) and having skimmed a long, boring article which really says very little that is eother new or interesing, I left him a comment which wasn’t rude but I knew that he, as a rabid Trump hater, would not like.
As he has now put his post behind a subscription wall (probably to keep out people who would commit the blasphemy of disagreeing with him, I’ve put most of his main post in a scrolling window, to make it easy to skip past and get to the part where I start bailing him and he, utterly convinced he’s going to make me look a twat because he’s much cleverer than me, makes himself look a twat bevauce he isn’t.
The Art of Bullshit
Perspective Of A Liar For Hire
I’m a political addict, but I’m also a professional magician, or as my good friend Eli used to put on his business card, a “liar for hire”. What interests me as the “most compelling evidence” of Trump’s involvement in the Russian conspiracy to influence our elections is not so much the exhibits of evidence presented by the Justice Department, Steele, et al, but how Trump reacts to them. His reactions, like the reactions of an audience at a magic show, say more about the evidence than the evidence itself.
In magic, we have more terminology than you can shake a stick at. We have terms for tiny variations of moves to the point that there are whole volumes committed to the refinements of dealing from the center of a deck of cards, or talking to an audience member you just called to the stage. There is a whole area within magic dedicated to the part of mentalism surrounding the use of language.
In this school of “psychological” magic, magicians use the same methods as psychics and con artists, only we use them purely for entertainment; not to hurt or swindle. This is literally the only difference between us: magicians have a moral compass.
Beyond the ends to which we direct these methods, we have to be careful about how we frame them, because some methods border on gaslighting. Because you never know what sort of life your volunteer is going home to, you must take care not to risk reinforcing a pattern of psychological abuse, even if it’s just a small risk.
Magicians didn’t invent these methods. We learned them, named them, and categorized them, because we’re compulsive nerds. Make no mistake: centuries of refinement have taken simple principles, honing them into techniques capable of creating a convincing mind-reading effect, or getting someone to empty their bank account. The average magician is no smarter than the average Joe, we just know things you don’t. These techniques can turn even the biggest idiot into an effective snake oil salesman.
Peter Popoff uses these methods.
Joan Quigley, Nancy Reagan’s astrologer, used them.
Unlike a talented magician, he isn’t very good. His mistakes mirror those of newly minted magicians. In dissecting Trump’s failures as a liar, many terms from our magical lexicon come to mind. These illustrate both his methods, and his mistakes.
“Trump’s use of language is mostly the abuse of language, rendering it mostly meaningless.”
That’s true of any politician, and don’t try to tell me Obama was different, ‘the great orator’ and his ‘soaring rhetoric’ aka Mr. Mumbles with his highly emphasised personal pronouns would not even have made the house junior debating team at the school I went to.
Politicians spout garbage, I suppose it could be said there’s a kind of magic at work because some people actually believe it.
Brexit voter, eh?
Ah! I almost forgot, you might like this piece. I wrote it ages ago, and it covers the differences between Trump’s lies and those of other politicians.
I don’t know why you’re so bothered about Trump, Mark. To me there is no difference between Trump’s lies and those of other politicians because they all tailor their language to their target audience. They are in the business of deception, have you read much of Cicero, a master of rhetoric over 2000 years ago. Politicians have been using the same tricks even since.
And since you like to remind us you are a magician, can you produce real money from thin air (not hidden up your sleeve or anything.)
I can’t do it now, don’t have access to the right props, but when I worked as a systems analyst in City of London financial businesses I helped traders in stocks, bonds, commodities and currency pull off the trick every day.
The modern world runs on lies and deceptions. Caveat emptor.
In Cicero’s time, the internet connections were much slower, making it harder to fact check liars.
In all seriousness though, most politicians’ lies start with a kernel of truth, making the lies a cocktail of true and false. Trump and his team just say things that are patently untrue. This is where he’s a bit like a magician, except that everyone knows that when a magician says they can read minds, the magician is lying.
There are literally whole websites dedicated to fact checking his lies and laying them bare. Where most politicians might say something like “My opponent’s position on international trade is inferior to mine,” which may or may not be true, Trump will say, “My trade policies increased GDP by ten kagillion percentacles! Boom!” All this would be fine if he weren’t a) a racist, b) a puppet of a foreign power c) deeply corrupt and e) the most powerful man in the world.
You need to change your fact checker of choice Mark. Trump is:
a) Not a racist except by the bizarro world definition used by American liberlas, i.e. “ANYONE WHO DISAGREES WITH ME IS A RACIST, SEXIST, HOMOPHOBIC, XENOPHOBIC NAZI.”
b) Not proved to be a puppet of a foreign government, no evidence has been produced to back up this silly allegation, whereas mountains of evidence have been produced to show there are grounds to suspect his opponent and his two predecessors of unethical if not illegal dealings with foreign governments.
c) The most powerful man in the world. That distinction may belong to Augustin Carstens, head if BIS, Jacob Rothschild (or whom I wrote recently,) or maybe it’s shared between the 32 members of the Bilderberg Group steering committee. The decisions made by these people affect us all.
Deeply corrupt Trump may be, I’ve known a few very rich people and none were paragons of virtue — neither am I for that matter, even my modest wealth was acquired with the help of a few dodgy arrangements, but again you are presenting allegations as facts.
Stick to the sleight of hand, leave the rhetorical tricks to others.
As for the speed of the internet in Cicero’s time, I wouldn’t know about that but haven’t you heard a rumour can travel halfway round the world before the truth has got its boots on.
First of all, why the personal attacks? Is it just habit, like voting to tank your own
economy by leaving the EU?
Actually, you’re very badly misinformed. Trump was sued for housing discrimination by that well known bastion of liberalism known as the Nixon Administration. He had his company reject all proposed renters who were black, even those who were qualified. They were instructed to write a “C” on the application, for “colored” and file them in the “rejected” bin. His company settled with the government. Also, it’s worth noting that even after the “Central Park Five” were exonerated by DNA evidence and a confession by the real rapist, Trump still insisted that they be executed. See the first link in this paragraph for more on that.
If you really think there’s no evidence to back up the conspiracy allegation, either you don’t read the news at all, or you’re just an idiot. Of course, you did vote for Brexit. I’m going with the latter.
The day the Bilderberg Group has its own nuclear arsenal, I’ll revise “most powerful man in the world”.
I actually know a lot of wealthy people, very few of whom are corrupt. It’s rather impressive, actually.
You do know I’m also paid to write, correct? Rhetoric has made me quite comfortable.
As to Cordell Hull’s saying, you’re right. You’re evidence of it.
Mark Twain? Jonathan Swift? Thomas Francklin? Fisher Ames? Thomas Jefferson? John Randolph? Charles Haddon Spurgeon? Winston Churchill? Terry Pratchett? Anonymous? Read this and Educate yourself.
Then you go on to cite Hillary Clinton’s pathetic attempt during one of the 2016 debated to capitalise on discredited claims that Trump was found guilty of racism in a court case back in the 1970s. The truth is somewhat different to what you would have us believe, but then by your own rather proud admission you deceive people for a living, so we should not be surprised that Hillary lied and you repeated that lie although you must have known it to be such. Here’s how Time, not a publication I associate with enthusiastic support for Trump, reported the incident. You can easily find corroboration in The Washington Post report, and that’s another publication few people would accuse of supporting the Trump campaign.
from Time magazine
During the first Presidential debate on Monday night, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton asked viewers to remember that her opponent had “started his career” with a 1973 lawsuit brought by the Justice Department “because he would not rent apartments in one of his developments to African-Americans, and he made sure that the people who worked for him understood that was the policy,” as Clinton put it.
Republican nominee Donald Trump responded briefly, noting that his company’s involvement was merely part of something larger: “We, along with many, many other companies throughout the country … were sued. We settled the suit with zero—with no admission of guilt.”
It is true that there was no legal decision about whether or not the Trump Management Corporation did engage in discriminatory practices. It is also true that the case was part of something bigger.
Echoing yet another liberal meme you suggest that Trump is some sort of Kremlin stooge. What you’re probably referring to is the speech in which he publicly asked the Russians to find Hillary’s emails?
When Trump said this, in the context of his full speech, it ought to have been abundantly clear that it was said in a sarcastic tone. He was mocking those that couldn’t find Hillary’s emails from her server she had at home. You know the classified ones, some of which were also on Anthony Weiner’s laptop.
The ones the Russians supposedly got their hands on were those which, as has now been admitted, were lifted from the DNC server by an insider with authorised access to the system, which was barely protected, and were later made available to Wikileaks. The culprit was probably the late Seth Rich.
However, I do understand the risk of sarcasm and why politicians rarely use it, this is a good example.
I find it interesting that having admitted your craft relies on deception, you continue to refer to yourself as a magician which implies you are some kind of thaumaturge, rather than a show business conjurer, illusionist or prestadigitator.
I’m also fascinated by your obsession with the fact that I supported ‘Leave’ in the EU referendum (no secret, it’s easy enough to find out, but simply asking would be easier.) Apart from the irrelevance of my views on the EU to anything in the thread you are once again stating your opinions as facts when you say I voted to trash my country’s economy (another meme bouncing around the liberal echo chamber.)
If you knew what was going to happen economically after Brexit, you’d be making a fortune in the markets instead of making a fool of yourself here. I, like all wise punters, am hedging my bets. My reasons you voting the way I did go back to when I worked as a management consultant for the EU in the 1980s and are way above your pay grade so I will not discuss them here.
Oh and like I said, you should change your fact checker, as I have demonstrated above.
After I posted this comment Mark Philip Lichtensten, as if wanting to prove he is a snivelling little wuss who cannot stand to be challenged, hates it when anybody disagrees with him and has a very idiosyncratic view of what constitutes truth, blocked me from commenting on or viewing his posts.
Game, set and match to me I think.