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Articles by Ben Robinson

APRIL FOOLS
by Ben Robinson

Every second of every day we are beset with illusion. “The sun rises and falls. But actually we revolve around it. Cosmic wit.” wrote a poet.

 

It makes sense that illusion and the celebration of the first of April go together. The famous dramatic teacher, Brander Matthews, wrote in the 1920’s in his Book About the Theater that the magician was actually “a comedian who portrayed a miracle worker or magic man

 

.”Comedian? Yes. Both the conjuror and the humorist deal in surprise. Imagine if you knew the punch line to every joke ­ there would be no laugh. Similarly, a magician must have surprise inherent in his act because if you knew what was coming, you’d simply focus on the modus operandi ­ the secret inner workings of illusion, and this reduces magic to simple stage mechanics.

 

e.e. cummings declared that “if every fool wore a crown we would all be kings.” Hence, if you’ve ever made a mistake, you can join the human fraternity of the imperfect perfect; the seekers of enlightenment slipping in the mud. Now, where does that leave us?

 

This month we are delightfully reminded of the charming unreality of the jesters ploy ­ his rattle drum and silly puns. We look at life with such seriousness ­ driven by our iron-clad ego. Yet, the Fool delightfully reminds us how imperfect we are. The quest for love, money, fame or greatness is real only to those who pursue such ­ and those that follow the pursuers. One might posit that the Fool’s truth is the only truth.

 

Today, April Fool’s Day, humankind sees the truth of the big hotfoot we should all take into account. To think differently is just foolish!

Left: Canada’s celebrated Checkerhead Guy, the Go Anywhere Do Anything Comic Daredevel. My favorite fool.

Right: Lubor Fielder’s (famous Austrian puzzle and magic inventor) book that changes from static text to naughty erotic images when the pages are flicked in a special way.