1. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    The eeeevil dangers of magic.

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Wreybies, Jul 14, 2009.

    Good morning evil kiddies!

    [​IMG]

    Linda is on vacation. Forever! I threw her into the evil volcano on my secret evil island.

    Today’s question to ponder is why the use of magic is always made into such a no-no by television and movies. I mean really people, throw me a bone here! If I had magic powers, I would be using them every day! And I’m sure you can guess what I would be using them for! Evil!

    Think about it:

    Harry Potter ~ Never to use magic in the world of muggles.

    I Dream of Jeannie ~ Major Healey kept that poor girl in a bottle and never let her use her magic.

    Bewitched ~ Poor Samantha! Both of her Darrin’s wanted her to be a simple mortal woman. Fools!

    Charmed ~ Prue was such a prude about using her powers!


    So, other than the obvious makes for better story lines, why this particular plot device in the world of magic on the small screen?


    I’ll check back in after I have fed the evil flying ninja piranhas. Little darlings!
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Simple - if you give a character power without consequences, you can't make stories.

    Every advantage must have a compensatory disadvantage.
     
  3. Acglaphotis
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    Acglaphotis Contributing Member

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    Because it's harder to make up a world where people can freely use magic than one where they have to hide it.
     
  4. Anders Backlund
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    Anders Backlund Contributing Member

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    To be honest, I don't like this trope very much. Magic is magic: it's not good or bad, some magicians just choose to use it for good or bad reasons.

    I intensely dislike the idea that magic comes with a kind of built-in karma system that enforces moral rules on the magicians. In my writing, a common theme is that possessing magic is no different from owning a gun, or being really strong. How it's used is entirely up to the sense of responsibility of that character.

    As for the Masquerade thing, I don't mind magicians staying hidden if they have a good, legitimate reason to do so. I don't like it when it's handwaved away with something about "regular people wouldn't understand" or whatever.

    I don't really agree with that. "Power" is pretty relative: compared to a small child, an adult is "powerful."

    That doesn't mean I have to give my adult characters compensatory disadvantages when dealing with children.
     
  5. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Now, I do hope you realized that my inclusion of Dr Evil was just a bit of ironic fun, yes...?

    I was a practicing Wiccan for a number of years. None of those years do I regret.
     
  6. Rumpole40k
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    Rumpole40k Banned

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    care to elaborate Wrey?
     
  7. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I had just left the Air Force, Wicca was big, there was a coven in Palm Bay just south of where Ilived called The Church of the Iron Oak.

    I was feeling a bit lost, no longer having the Air Force as a defining thing in my life.
     
  8. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    Notice how smoothly he adds that bit about Wiccanism? I think this is part of Wrey's evil plot...to convert us to the Wiccan ways ;D
     
  9. Rumpole40k
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    Rumpole40k Banned

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    and now you have the forums!
     
  10. Anders Backlund
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    Anders Backlund Contributing Member

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    Actually, it was the thread title that got to me.

    Good for you! [​IMG]
     
  11. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I'll get you and your little dog too! XD

    [​IMG]
     
  12. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    No, no....not my little dog!

    Here, have a nice cup of water instead.


    [​IMG]
     
  13. afinemess
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    afinemess Active Member

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    Because not everyone is magical and they would be sent off to a lab to be used by evil people to do evil things. Still, they could used for good, but in this world, most likely bad.
     
  14. Necromortis
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    Necromortis Member

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    I'm afraid that if there were magically talented people in the world (and they were in the minority), and they made their identities public, they would be persecuted. I think that's the logic behind the "You can never let 'normal' people know you're magical," plot device that's used so often.

    I just don't have enough faith in humanity I guess - but I think the non-magic users would be so terrified of the magic users that there would be hate crimes, murders, segregation, etc. And no one wants to deal with that. Especially not the magic users in the fiction, who have to complete heroic tasks and face equally dangerous magical enemies. If they experienced hatred from everyone, they'd just kill themselves, right? (A little tongue-in-cheek at the end there, sorry :p).

    But in all seriousness, I think that's why the masquerade element is so popular (I also think 'The Masquerade Element' would make an awesome band/album/story name).

    Also, I think that oftentimes, the (normally) younger magical users are struggling with their social identities, and just want to fit in. If you're magical in a predominantly non-magical society and you want to fit in, of course you're hide it. Especially if it has the added benefit of not getting you and your wife tied up and raped in the night because you're 'different.'

    ~Christian
     
  15. hiddennovelist
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    hiddennovelist Contributing Member Contributor

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    This is what I think, too. People fear what they don't understand, and it would probably be difficult for a majority of non-magic people to understand a minority of people who were magic.

    It's kind of like X-Men, where mutants try to hide the fact that they're a mutant. They know they'll be harassed and tormented if people know.
     
  16. Kas
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    Kas Contributing Member

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    In my fantasy novel magic is everywhere, and marketed like any other product. Instead of watching a porno, you could have a lifelike illusion, sculpted to your wishes. It's the same idea, just better with magic.;) The same applies to most anything else. . .

    Instead of hacks on tv, misleading people by the millions, you have characters who can actually talk to spirits. Same idea, better with magic.

    A good mage needs proper training to do anything, just like any other person who learns to perform a function. Most people would be too lazy (or not have time) to bother learning how to fix things with magic, (time that could be better spent creating the ultimate porn) for example, and thus would hire the services of a qualified professional.

    Widespread use of magic isn't so complicated. Magical security would counter everyday thefts and such, so a good thief would need to specialise, just as people specialise in life. . . In fact, the ultimate picture is much less chaotic than real life tends to be, where people can steal (some) trucks with no more a screwdriver, and get away with robbing stores and private homes every day, and rape potentially dozens of women (and men, too - it happens) before they get arrested (and those are just the ones you hear about). . .

    The 'secret & dangerous' magic is getting a bit tiresome for me, so I wanted to go the opposite way. Not everyone can be a magician, just as we can't all be advanced chemists, but the fruits of their labour are everywhere.

    In the end, a world with magic is still the same world. Human concerns don't change. Day to day living doesn't change.

    "With great power comes great responsibility." Fah! Do they tell you that when you buy a gun?

    If I had "secret" magic, what I'd do with it couldn't be shown on tv, and is better not to mention on a moderated forum.:p I don't like goody-two-shoes characters.

    If I were Clark Kent I'd be snorting red kryptonite off Jessica Alba's ___ before you could - *sigh*. . . to see his powers squandered so. . .:mad:
     
  17. Anders Backlund
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    Anders Backlund Contributing Member

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    In my fantasy novel, there is an effort to keep magic secret, but it's upheld by regular humans for political reasons.

    The mages themselves don't really give a damn; they try not to draw unnecessary attention to themselves but they don't go out of their way to keep their existence hidden either.

    I've always been skeptical to the "dragged off by men in black" approach. I don't see why having magical powers would suddenly void your human rights and citizenship and if you start kidnapping people their friends and neighbors are going to notice and start asking uncomfortable questions.
     
  18. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Being of middle-eastern ethnicity is enough, these days, so I hardly think that having magical powers would be respected any better.
     
  19. Anders Backlund
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    Anders Backlund Contributing Member

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    Well, yes, but there's at least a justification for that, what with the terrorist scare and all. If a magician went a blew up a city or something, then I'd expect some serious cracking down on the wizard community. But getting dragged off for just having magical powers seems very excessive.

    Anyway, doing it out of fear and scapegoating is one thing, doing it because you want to do Nazi-style evil experiments is another.
     
  20. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Nazi style experiments were carried out on people of my ilk.

    Gay.

    We have never blown up anything.

    People fear the different. Magic is not just different, it also implies power. I think defferent + power would have disastrous implications for those with magic given the rest of human history as a template.
     
  21. hiddennovelist
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    hiddennovelist Contributing Member Contributor

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    QFT.

    People discriminate and persecute others the way they do based on things like race, sexual orientation, etc just because those other people don't look/act/live a certain way. Imagine how much worse that persecution would be if the thing that made them different also made them more powerful. Gives them an excuse to be afraid besides just "well, they're different from me."
     
  22. LordKyleOfEarth
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    LordKyleOfEarth Contributing Member Contributor

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    I always attributed it to this being a mostly christian society, and in christianity magic is evil. Magic had to be evil, back in the day, so that people would turn to God for salvation rahter than witches, wizards, or other magic persons.

    Also, she turned me into a newt.
    [​IMG]
     
  23. Kas
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    Kas Contributing Member

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    I was going to mention something along the same lines. Jesus was praised for magic/miracles, as he was doing the holy work of God. Witches were burned and drowned.

    The idea still holds strong today, as religious families by the thousands (or millions?) avoid Harry Potter like a ticket to hell.

    I know several people who hate HP, despite never having read the books or seen the movies. It is the mention of witchcraft that sets them off. Most other people love it, or at least the general idea of magic.

    There is some truth to the other argument; people do fear (some of) what they don't understand. Still, a lot of people claim magic powers of one kind or another, and they aren't captured or killed or run out of town. No, they are free scam whoever will believe them, and they aren't even killed for that.:p

    The ones who seem to get results, whether by healing, mind reading, talking to the dead, or anything else, are praised like Jesus (usually by non-religious people).

    My last boss was a shaman, and he used to perform healing rituals on me at work, on occasion. Can't say it really helped much, but if it had, I don't think he would have been in any danger.

    Supposedly, there are (non-religious) healers out there who can achieve rapid and tangible results. There are also people who can take you on an out-of-body journey with no more than a hand on your arm. Supposedly. Far as I know, none of them ever got the 'bag and tag' treatment. What they do get is a lot of paying customers.
     
  24. LordKyleOfEarth
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    LordKyleOfEarth Contributing Member Contributor

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    None of them can reproduce their results in a lab either ;) Men in white coats tend to ignore the 'magic' sector as its largely seen a quack territory.

    If I were to mumble some archaic words, eat the eyes of a newt seasoned with hogswart, and then begin to levitate, no one in the scientific community would actually believe it was real. No men in black would be called.
     
  25. Kas
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    Kas Contributing Member

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    Exactly. Sceptics would call you a skillful illusionist at best, a fraud at worst, and the believers would follow you like faithful dogs. You'd be the new John Edward. The Biggest Douche in the Universe? Or the Awesome Magic Man of Magical Awesomeness? People would debate your awesomeness on forums, blogs, at home, on the street, on radio programs and tv, just like they did with Britney's boob job. The men in black would not care.
     

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