I love magic. I love watching a really good illusionist work. I even like watching annoying illusionists work – people like Criss Angel.
Angel recently did a stunt in Florida where he was chained up inside a building that was about to be imploded. He had two and a half minutes to get out of his chains, run upstairs through locked doors and meet a helicopter on the roof. In the stunt he didn’t make it. The building imploded, apparently with him inside of it. Shocked producers and camera crews came running to the rubble only to find that Criss, dusty and beat up, had in fact survived a building implosion.
Of course he didn’t. One of the things Angel I’ve seen Angel do on his show is make stunts go ‘wrong’ – it’s fun to see an escape go bad and the resulting mayhem. It’s always faked. It’s a fucking illusion. That’s the point.
When Angel did his stunt in Florida the geniuses at the local Fox News outlet had their chopper in the sky to capture it all. And those same geniuses have now produced a special report that claims… wait for it… that Criss Angel did not in fact perform magic. It was faked. They have footage of Angel running out of a nearby building into the wreckage, getting into place so he could be ‘discovered’ by his camera crew.
Ladies and gentlemen, investigative reporting.
Obviously these Fox News people are blathering morons. Yeah, Criss Angel is kind of irritating, and he’s probably not really breaking any ground in the world of illusion, but the startling expose that he didn’t actually survive an entire building exploding on his head – an expose presented as skepticism! – makes me wish Angel did have powers from the Lord of Darkness.
I will give Fox News one thing on this – I think Angel did cheat in an unfun way. They looked at the video feed from inside the building and it appears that the footage of Angel running through the halls was pre-taped. I don’t mind being tricked – it’s why I like watching magicians work – but that’s cheating. The stunt could have been done just as well without the cameras inside the building, and he should have done so.
Years ago I went to a taping of a Penn and Teller show where they did a number of magic tricks in a transparent way, so that you could see the fakery in action. Some magicians hated them for that, but I liked the idea that they were targetting the most hoary illusions, sort of forcing the craft to move forward a little. In the Criss Angel case I don’t mind the sleight of hand being spotlighted, I’m just weirded out that Fox News is presenting it like they’re saving us from being fooled.
Next week on Fox News: Was Luke Skywalker even a real person? A special investigative report into the so-called Star Wars! You’ll be shocked by the truth.