Thoughts on products, performance, and doublethink in the magic community.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Penguicide - Part Deux

I'm reluctant to make another post about Penguin, but in this case, their idiocy is so egregiously extreme that I just can't resist.

Case in point: "The Generation Extreme Challenge."

I don't want to stoop to Penguin's level by trying to explain the Challenge. So, read about it here and when you're done, return for yet another of my famously brutal and violent beatdowns.

Okay, welcome back. I trust that you're still fully conscious, and aren't vomiting all over the place in sheer disgust. Allow me to voice my objections. And they are bountiful.

Let's begin with the "FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 3rd, 2005" heading. I guess this is supposed to lend an atmosphere of faux-importance to the sad and debauched body of text. Kind of like a press release, except that press releases are about interesting and memorable events. In other words, nothing that ever happens on Penguin. I've got news for Penguin - you're not a news agency or a P.R. firm. You're a magic website, and a poor one at that.

Fighting off the urge to avert our eyes, we somehow continue, and read...

One of the most prolific visual card magicians in the world sharpens the cutting edge once more with the release of his latest DVD - Generation eXtreme.

Let us deconstruct this bold-faced lie. Brian Tudor is anything but prolific. To my knowledge, he's put out four DVDs. I have seen three, and all of them were crap. They were poorly filmed and poorly explained. Nothing more than mere juggling. In the rare case that he showed an actual trick, it was sloppy, complicated, confusing, and downright unentertaining. He had no discernable personality and seemed more interested in the cards than anything else.

Also, the word "visual" is unnecessary. It serves only to entice Penguin's young, gullible customers, who, as I've explained before, don't know any better.

"Sharpens the cutting edge." Adding another packet to your eXtrEme cut is about as un- cutting-edge as you get. This is typical Penguin hyperbole. When something 'revolutionary' comes along, it's introduced by thinking, professional performers who've been at their craft for years. Like Michael Ammar with his Topit work. Or Paul Harris and his approach to close-up. Not some expressionless, talent-less hack.

PenguIdiots are making the same mistake about Brian Tudor that they made about Oz Pearlman. Oz was a young professional who partnered with Penguin to promote their products and make demo videos. As part of the package, he got to sell his own instant downloads and made three DVDs. Many of Penguin's customers became convinced that he was a big, innovative figure in close-up magic. In reality, he was just another magician who happened to be near Penguin's store in Las Vegas. This is not to denigrate Oz, much of whom's work I enjoy. But the fact remains that Penguin is 'manufacturing' Brian Tudor just like they manufactured Oz Pearlman.

The page also mentions "the release of his latest DVD.' This is totally inaccurate, as the Generation Extreme DVD was released months ago. Just check the reviews section on the bottom of the DVD page. They go back to November of last year. Facts are so inconvient.

The card work on this DVD is so difficult, producer Penguin Magic is actually WARNING customers not to buy it.

(Let’s explore this warning, which is listed on a separate page.)

Don't buy this DVD. Almost no one can actually do the stuff you're about to see. It's aggressive, showy, complex, impossibly fast, and freakish. Once you master it, your spectators may notice only one tenth of what they're supposed to see... and only one one-hundredth of what is actually happening.

Then why the hell should I waste my bloody valuable time?

That's no way to live... pick up a svengali deck and be happy.

I will. One twelfth the price and a hundred times the entertainment value.

Prepare yourself. You're going to have to watch each explanation hundreds of times before you start to get it. You'll have to practice even more before it looks good in your hands. In the process you'll drop tens of thousands of cards. Throughout your training you'll destroy five or more decks per day.

Hypety-hype-hype-bullshit. If you have to watch anything a hundred times, it’s not being explained right. "200 decks of cards?" You’ll drop one, the moment you realize such drivel is not worth your time. “Destroy five or more decks per day.” Assuming you have no employment, no friends, and no life.

You have to earn this DVD. It's not for everyone. It's probably not for him, and it's probably not for you.

Finally Penguin offers some sensible advice. If only they would put this disclaimer in front of every product they offer.

But if you are one of the few who MUST be at the cutting edge in the development of visual card magic, there is nothing we can say to keep you away from this DVD. And that being said, this is probably your best resource for what's new with cards.

Wait a minute?! I thought you just said ‘it's probably not for you.’

And once again we have the ‘cutting edge’ nonsense. A copy of Hugard’s “Card Manipulations” provides almost all of the stuff that Penguin hypes as ‘visual card magic.’

Unfortunately, the PenguIdiots don’t understand. Just read the reviews for the DVD. Every single one raves about it, with the requisite absence of grammar, spelling, and punctuation.
(Now back to the actual contest)

Perform the "Showoff" routine exactly as taught in Generation eXtreme from start to finish without mistakes AND do it faster than Tudor does it on the DVD and the money is yours!

I cannot think of a bigger waste of time and energy. Despite my views, I am sure that dozens of people are, at this moment, scrambling to hook up their web-cams, brushing their cards with fanning powder, and reviewing the DVD step by step. It’s sad and pathetic.

Tudor has long been considered the premier XCM artist on the planet. He's SO confident that his skill and speed cannot be matched that he's put $500 of HIS OWN MONEY on the line for this contest. Penguin Magic has matched Tudor's $500 to make the total cash prize $1000.

This description couldn’t be further from reality. Tudor doesn’t give a crap about his ‘skill and speed.’ He doesn’t have either, but that’s irrelevant. The contest is just a cheap excuse to get people to buy the DVD.

There are dozens of people who can demonstrate their lack of a social life faster than Tudor. But that’s not the point. This is Penguin we’re dealing with. And, surprise, surprise, it’s all about money. Brian Tudor is going to be laughing all the way to the bank.


Blogger MagicEnigma said...

Rather than Brian Tudor getting rewarded, I think this video will be a miserable failure.

1:23 PM

Blogger EuanMBingham said...

It already is. Hence the competition.

8:02 AM


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