Thursday, April 9, 2015

Tricky Business --- 4/70

Walk: Opera Plaza Cinema (An Honest Liar), Pet Express
Distance: 4.6 miles

An Honest Liar

Starting with Sherlock Holmes whom she filed into the magician category when she read him as a child, Ciwt has been a sucker for exceptionally clever performers of magic.  One of those she learned today in the feature documentary about him is The Amazing Randi.

Randi's career took an abrupt turn at some point when his lifelong obsession with magic morphed into an obsession with exposing the truth about other magicians (Uri Geller), faith healers and mediums who profit by doing harm to those who believe in their lies.  The harm can be mercenary by taking money from people who can ill afford it because they believe the faith healer truly has a special pipeline to God; or downright fatal when healers exhort people to throw their medications into baskets being passed around and believe in the healer instead.  Scientists too can be deceived allowing for the perpetuation of false science.

It is easy to applaud the exposure of these egregious huckster, show biz hoaxes.  But Randi's obsession with the truth becomes more and more and more layered which for Ciwt became the real central challenge of the documentary.  What exactly is the truth?  What lies are honest or acceptable? What deceptions are we actually putting over on others - or ourselves - on a regular basis?

No morality tale here.  Randi is entertaining, charming, sly so we gladly enter all the 'truth' territories with fascination and intrigue.  Truth is a very nuanced thing indeed.

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