Saturday, May 06, 2006

Im Going to Hold My Breath Until I Get My TV Show

So last night John, John's girlfriend Breeze, and I were sitting about, yakking, as we tend to do. In my internet trawlings of that day I had read that world's most obnoxious magician David Blaine was having trouble in his bubble. The skin on his hands was starting to peel off.

David Blaine is a pouting, metrosexual type young magician with a lot of press savvy. Back in the day, he used to do street magic. In the last few years, he's moved on to presenting feats of endurance as magic. For example:

---being buried alive for seven days

---spending 61 hours encased in ice

---standing on a tiny platform at the top of a 100 foot high pole for 35 hours

---living in a transparent Plexiglass box for 44 days without food (over the Thames).

Now, some magicians do magic with their speedy hands. Some contort their bodies in difficult ways. Some make you laugh. David Blaine is the only one I can think of whose tricks generally consist of him doing absolutely nothing at all.

I was trying to think about why I found this latest stunt so annoying. (The stunt is to live in a giant water-filled goldfish bowl in the middle of Lincoln Center, with only an oxygen mask and his pants on, for a whole week, then to escape from the tank while being chained up in a lot of locks while breaking the world record for holding his breath.)

Consider the subtext here.
What this stunt represents is the ultimate fulfilment of the line of thinking, "I'm going to hold my breath until I pass out" [and then you'll give me what I want].
It's what the savviest toddlers do in grocery stores when pushed past the ice cream aisle. It's what some boyfriends or girlfriends do when the two of you are in a power struggle and they think they're not going to get your attention any other way.

David Blaine is the most passive-aggressive man on the planet. I think I hate him!

By the time we hashed this all out, Breeze and I had both developed an irresistable urge to go see David Blaine in his bubble and decide how we felt about him after seeing the scene first hand. Would we feel pity? Sympathy? Amusement? Or simply the all-too-familiar rage of a woman watching a perfectly healthy, capable man lock himself in a bubble and hold his breath till he turns blue?

Breeze and I aren't the only ones who feel this way. There has been a Blaine Backlash at almost every one of his public exhibitions. When he hung himself in a box over the Thames, (fasting, of course), people wouldn't stop throwing things at him. At one point, some dudes flew a radio controlled model helicopter around and around his box. Dangling beneath the helicopter was a hamburger.

As luck would have it, since we live in New York and everything, David Blaine was lying in his bubble barely ten blocks away. So we went.

The bubble is in the middle of Lincoln Center and it is actually pretty striking to look at. It is about eight feet tall, and stands on a raised platform in the middle of the plaza. (Subtext: "My misery diserves the attention of everyone in New York.") Spotlights shine on the bubble, so that at night it shines an iridescent blue, and it bubbles with all the water filters he has going on it. About ten tents surround the bubble, with his support staff in them, everyone ranging from brain surgeon to (I assume) PR guy. (Subtext: "See? OTHER people take care of me! I don't need any of the rest of you!") The lines are long, but they move quickly, because there ain't a whole lot to see once you get up close.

Though news reports had described Blaine as being "very interactive" earlier in the day, he seemed to be napping when we got there. He was lying on the bottom of his bubble, his face covered by the mask, his four limbs floating in the air above him. He'd put on little mitts and booties to try to stop his hand skin from peeling off any more. Though the light refraction made him look 33% larger (according to his press releases), there really wasn't much to look at.

I just read that tomorrow, Blaine's medical team is going to fish him out and patch him up a little bit before he attempts his final "escape" from the bubble. (Subtext: See how much pain I'm in? But I won't give up!) Some TV show's running a 2-hour special on it, but I don't really see the point. He either crawls out by his own sorry self, or his support team goes and hauls him out for a second time. Either way, I'm sure there'll be a lot of close-ups of his peeling hands and woeful expression. I'm also sure a loving girlfriend or fetching anchorwoman will be on hand to ask him how he is feeling, hand him a towel, and tell him he is very brave.

Man, this weirdo is peeling his skin all the way to the bank. I hate you David Blaine. You are not setting a good example for anybody. Get yourself out of that bubble. Then get some therapy, and for God's sake, get a better job.


At 7:57 AM, Blogger melinama said...

Why isn't this guy very, very bored? What is he thinking about in his bubble? If his mother had had your healthy attitude he would not be behaving like this.

At 11:32 AM, Anonymous catherine said...

why is it magical to sit in a bubble with an airmask on? What is th epoint of this whole thing? Next time you go see, step on the airhose and watch him hold his breathe for the remainder of the time! I thought magicians made stuff disapear and pulled rabbits out of hats?

At 11:09 PM, Anonymous Rorschach said...

Started off wanting to be Harry Anderson, now he wants to be Harry Houdini. What the hell, Dave?

At 4:19 PM, OpenID xiledolly said...

Well I don't really see much of a difference in your argument. Yeah it's not 'magic' but nothing is... How is something more magic then another thing, anyways such is not my point. I for one think that the human body and what it is capable of is very interesting, feats of endurance are the perfect way to show what it is capable of. Why do athletes train so hard, and play even harder? Why does anybody train themselves to their physical and mental peak? Why don't we all just give up on what we have worked so hard to achieve and return to our tribes, not striving for anything larger?

Just because a man makes a fortune off of putting himself through physical and mental hell, he has psychological problems? Then you may as well call every athlete and doctor insane.


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