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house Bill H. Res. 642

Is Magic a "National Treasure?"

Argument in favor

By acknowledging magic as an art, this resolution could help magicians compete for nonprofit funding and protect their intellectual property rights.

Andrew's Opinion
···
07/07/2016
Many of the comments on this bill seem focus on the idea that: while magic is good and art form and worthwhile, it is NOT worthwhile enough for congress to affirm. Some go on to argue (and many others imply) that congress even considering this bill is frivolous. There is degree to which everything about the arts and culture is frivolous -- particularly when compared to suffering, basic infrastrucutre or systematic aggression. But to say something is COMPARATIVELY unimportant is very different than saying that it is unimportant. In fact, the actual bill makes the argument that the art form of magic: 1. has contributed significant entertainment and intellectual stimulation for vast populations. 2. has contributed to significant technological developments in many artistic and technical fields. 3. has (historically and currently) significant educational and developmental significance in the growth of those who learn about it. And for these reasons, this bill only asks congress to legitimate this art form so it may be preserved, studied, funded, expanded and developed AT THE SAME LEVEL as other art forms. This is not a new funding initiative. This doesn't give magic special privileged status over television, movies, books, comics, painting, ballet, symphonies or break dancing. It just helps reduce some of the stigma and prejudice that have wrongfully characterized magic as "hokum," delegitimating it's worth and value as a cultural form. This is a no-brainer bill. And it is the role of congress to hold up the value of WE the people -- that's all of us -- and it means that our culturally valued art forms must reflect the same innovation, diversity and sophistication as our vast and varied population.
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04/03/2016
This gives magician the capability to patent their work... Right now the copyright is done by an honor code. Give people the right to their property.
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Logan's Opinion
···
04/01/2016
Who am I to judge what is valuable and influential. Just because magic is not something that typically inspires adults does not mean that it should not be recognized for its influence over youth.
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Argument opposed

There is no need for Congress to formally recognize magic as an art form. This resolution is silly and a complete waste of time.

BTSundra's Opinion
···
04/01/2016
I'd venture to say it is an art form, but there are more pertinent things on hand.
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NACSP's Opinion
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04/01/2016
This is the greatest waste of congressional time and taxpayer money I have heard in my lifetime. Why is this even a question? Magic, by definition, is hokum, and certainly not worth wasting time and money on declaring something on par with the Smithsonian, or the numerous historical documents/monuments.
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04/01/2016
My brother was a Magician. He had his own business, performed his own shows, made a few videos, and even met the late great Harry Blackstone Jr. My brother loved Magic. He absolutely loved it. But if you were to ask him, "Is Magic a National Treasure?" He would say that it is a hobby, something to do in your spare time to delight and entertain others. He would say no, it is not and it shouldn't be.
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What is House Bill H. Res. 642?

This resolution recognizes magic — as in, supernatural forces and magic tricks — as a “rare and valuable art form and national treasure.”

The resolution, introduced by Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), contains 33 arguments as to the importance of magic, including that it:

  • “Is an art form with the unique power and potential to impact the lives of all people,"

  • “Enables people to experience the impossible,”

  • “Fulfills some of the highest ideals and aspirations of our country,” and

  • “Is timeless in appeal and requires only the capacity to dream.”

The bill further claims that “many technological advances can be directly traced to the influential work of magicians.”

The legislation credits magic with inspiring a wide variety of individuals, from artist Leonardo da Vinci to Eric Hogue, the clown-turned-mayor of Wylie, Texas. (Hogue, incidentally, brought the issue of magic’s under-acknowledgement to Rep. Sessions’ attention.) The bill also praises magician David Copperfield — another supporter of the legislation — and his therapeutic magic training program.

Finally, the resolution asserts that “magic has not been properly recognized as a great American art form,” and that it should be supported and preserved through a national effort.

Impact

Magicians, people who love magic, Congress

Cost of House Bill H. Res. 642

$0.00

More Information

In Depth: A spokesperson from Rep. Sessions' office told ABC News that the 32nd district of Texas, which he represents, is home to a "robust magic community."

Mayor Eric Hogue, an active member of that community, explained to the Washington Post

“We’re not talking about black magic, we’re not talking about Wicca. We’re talking good, family-fun magic. It’s about the entertainment part of magic.”

Of Note: The Society of American Magicians has been campaigning for Congressional recognition of magic as an art form since the 1960s.

Rep. Sessions’ bill was mocked in the media and even by some fellow members of Congress, such as Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA), who tweeted:

“Breaking: @HouseGOP believes in magic but not climate change.” 


Media:

(Photo Credit: Library of Congress/ Wikimedia Commons)

Official Title

Recognizing magic as a rare and valuable art form and national treasure.

simple resolution Progress


  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Oversight and Reform
    IntroducedMarch 14th, 2016
    Many of the comments on this bill seem focus on the idea that: while magic is good and art form and worthwhile, it is NOT worthwhile enough for congress to affirm. Some go on to argue (and many others imply) that congress even considering this bill is frivolous. There is degree to which everything about the arts and culture is frivolous -- particularly when compared to suffering, basic infrastrucutre or systematic aggression. But to say something is COMPARATIVELY unimportant is very different than saying that it is unimportant. In fact, the actual bill makes the argument that the art form of magic: 1. has contributed significant entertainment and intellectual stimulation for vast populations. 2. has contributed to significant technological developments in many artistic and technical fields. 3. has (historically and currently) significant educational and developmental significance in the growth of those who learn about it. And for these reasons, this bill only asks congress to legitimate this art form so it may be preserved, studied, funded, expanded and developed AT THE SAME LEVEL as other art forms. This is not a new funding initiative. This doesn't give magic special privileged status over television, movies, books, comics, painting, ballet, symphonies or break dancing. It just helps reduce some of the stigma and prejudice that have wrongfully characterized magic as "hokum," delegitimating it's worth and value as a cultural form. This is a no-brainer bill. And it is the role of congress to hold up the value of WE the people -- that's all of us -- and it means that our culturally valued art forms must reflect the same innovation, diversity and sophistication as our vast and varied population.
    Like (5)
    Follow
    Share
    I'd venture to say it is an art form, but there are more pertinent things on hand.
    Like (37)
    Follow
    Share
    This is the greatest waste of congressional time and taxpayer money I have heard in my lifetime. Why is this even a question? Magic, by definition, is hokum, and certainly not worth wasting time and money on declaring something on par with the Smithsonian, or the numerous historical documents/monuments.
    Like (28)
    Follow
    Share
    My brother was a Magician. He had his own business, performed his own shows, made a few videos, and even met the late great Harry Blackstone Jr. My brother loved Magic. He absolutely loved it. But if you were to ask him, "Is Magic a National Treasure?" He would say that it is a hobby, something to do in your spare time to delight and entertain others. He would say no, it is not and it shouldn't be.
    Like (8)
    Follow
    Share
    Thank you congress for only debating over the important legislation.
    Like (8)
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    This is a way to allow magicians to obtain federal funding (tax payer dollars). Magic is not mandatory to a functioning society and therefore should not be allowed public funding. CUT SPENDING!
    Like (7)
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    Does this really matter at the moment? I don't believe it is a "national treasure" but it's definitely treasured by some of our citizens. However there are better things to deal with.
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    Its not the role of government to subsidize everything.
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    Really?
    Like (5)
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    No! The only magic we need is a POTUS and legislators to defend the Constitution and protect the citizenry.
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    WOW! Please tell me this is an April Fools prank. I love good, well crafted magic as much as anyone, but this is simply ridiculous and an absurd waste of time and taxpayers' money in that there are much more important issue that should be addressed.
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    This gives magician the capability to patent their work... Right now the copyright is done by an honor code. Give people the right to their property.
    Like (4)
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    Can we not waste time on useless resolutions while we have much bigger problems tearing this country apart?
    Like (4)
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    Please concentrate on serious problems instead of these frivolous things. Please stop the Dept. of Agriculture from penalizing schools across the country who don't conform to Michelle Obama's lunch menu rules. She was not elected to anything. Stop these government agencies from infringing on our schools. Do what you were sent to Washington to do, REPRESENT US!
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    This shows the amount of Stupidity in government today
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    This is stupid. I can't believe this got out of committee.
    Like (3)
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    Is this for April Fools? Because this has to be a joke, next to "does congress need to address the disparate impact climate change has on women?"
    Like (3)
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    No
    Like (3)
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    An absolutely absurd waste of time. There are plenty of other bills which need to be reviewed which will actually impact the country.
    Like (3)
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    Our country is still facing an extremely fragile economy, so we to use our time and resources conservatively. To waste our time and money to deal with magic is dumb.
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