Posted by: Jim | June 28, 2006

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Prestidigitation

Many moons ago, I used to be a “Walt Disney Imagineer.” We were the alleged “creative pool” for the theme parks. One nice perk was that we used to have a weekly event called a “Wednesday Breakfast.” On that day, all the illustraters, producers, designers, and writers used to gather in a little tiny amphitheater and be amazed and/or entertained by some of the world’s most amazing and entertaining amazers and/or entertainers.

The most unforgettable Wednesday Breakfast was the day a world famous magician came to amaze and entertain us. I won’t say his name (mostly because I don’t remember it). But he was supposed to be really famous–especially for his card tricks. Well he made a very big deal about himself, then went on to explain that he … HE … was about to unveil his greatest trick ever to us … for the very first time. Disney’s entire brain trust huddled around him in the dim light of the amphitheater and prepared themselves to be amazed and entertained. These are people who are experts at illusion, mind you. They know to watch the off-hand during a card trick. Then … the magician whose name I can’t remember started shuffling, cutting, and doing “stuff” to the cards. He asked a volunteer to do something, then did a bunch more clever movements. Then he turned over a card and the guy’s face just …. sorta collapsed. At first I thought it was a ploy, naturally. But he grabbed all the cards an started reshuffling and explained to us all that … well … this was his first time to try it so now and then these things happen. I was still incredulous. Certainly this is all part of the show for a magician this allegedly amazing I thought.

But no. He failed a second time. Then a third time. I actually saw with my own eyes, a man utterly ruin himself with distress. Not only did he crash and burn, he crashed and burned in front of a bunch of people who he wanted desperately to impress.

I must admit, while I felt bad for the man I also found it extremely hilarious.

And I must also admit, I felt a curiously similar emotion when learning that yesterday the Senate voted again on an amendment to outlaw the desecration of the US Flag.

On one hand I feel angry that the Republicans who introduced the bill would have such disdain for our governmental process as to waste so much of the Senate’s time AGAIN–at a time when our nation is in crisis. Then I remembered that these are the same assholes who tried to ban Gay Marriage a few weeks ago–at a time when our country was in crisis.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist bemoaned that “Old Glory lost today.” Fuck you Frist. It did not. YOU lost. You’re just a very bad magician. We’re watching your off-hand, and that hand is manipulating the public and stealing news cycles away from the issues that really matter to this country.

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