This article is from the Magic FAQ, by Paul Nielsen firstname.lastname@example.org with numerous contributions by others.
As in every other area of human endeavor, those with personality would
prefer that the quality of magic were measured by personality. Others
would prefer that it were measured by technique, creativity, success,
humor or originality. Of course, it is always the mechanically adept
that would prefer technique to be the ultimate criterion, the successful
(and their lackeys) who would prefer that success was the measure, etc.
Perhaps we could take a break from the polarizing polemic, and recognize
that making magic is a difficult business. Good illusions, good parlour
and good close-up magic all have roughly equivalent wonder-generation.
A good close-up artist will cause an exquisite level in wonder to a very
few, while a good illusionist will create a more modest degree of wonder
in a large crowd. If you want to optimize for money, of course you'd
prefer the large crowd. If you want to optimize for entertainment, I'd
guess parlour magic has got to be the winner.
From: Doug Peters [email@example.com]