October 24, 2003
On A Pedestal
I think I've gotten pretty good at ignoring David Blaine. Most of the time that I heard about his various attempts at becoming the New millennium Houdini, I usually thought "what's the point?" and just moved on. I mean, Houdini had a Wolverine haircut and spent his spare time debunking psychics. Who could ever top THAT?
But Blaine's latest stunt, where he locked himself inside a glass box suspended over London for 44 days straight without food caught my attention. Not so much for the feet itself, but for the reactions to it.
For instance, there is a website called "Wake David Blaine", which is a rally point for people who want to take turns keeping Blaine awake by shouting at him for the full 44 days. They even hand out air horns. People have pelted the box with food. One man tried to rip off his air tube. The list goes on and on.
The sense I have is that many of them were angered by the notion that Blaine's stunt could in anyway be construed as magical or miraculous. So, they took it upon themselves to proof that there was no miracle. I wonder if those were folks who loved magic so much that they thought Blaine was defaming it. Or were they people who cannot tolerate the idea of the fantastic at all?
However, as the stunt progressed, the hecklers & saboteurs gave way to more supportive, and eventually, cheering onlookers.
Blaine was in tears by the time he left the booth. He spoke about learning more in the last month than he has in his entire life. And he talked about love.
Personally, I'm just fascinated by the sociology of it all. One man stands up and does something out of the ordinary. Almost immediately, a whole host of people rise up in reaction to him, both for and against.
Is leadership really that easy?