Freaking the Mind: Exploring the Rhetoric of Magic in Criss Angelâ€™s Mindfreak by Joseph Zompetti, Illinois State University
The art of magic has enjoyed increasing visibility and a resurgence of interest, as demonstrated by the rising popularity of magicians, such as David Blaine, Hans Klok, Franz Harary, David Copperfield, and the production of two major motion pictures within a single year â€“ The Prestige and The Illusionist. With his number one-rated cable television show and his recent ten-year contract for a major Vegas show with Cirque de Soleil at the Luxor, Criss Angel personifies the modern-day magician who is at the forefront of the magic renaissance. This paper attempts to examine the rhetorical potency of magic by analyzing the first season of Criss Angelâ€™s award-winning television show, Mindfreak. By using Kenneth Burkeâ€™s concepts of symbolic action and identification, this paper explores the symbolic, albeit persuasive, dimension to magic as exemplified by Criss Angel.