Tuesday, June 2, 2009 at 05:44PM
Dodd Vickers

Long known as an expert on unique and unusual performers from the history of entertainment, magician Ricky Jay chimes in on the phenomenon of Susan Boyle and her participation in the most recent Britain's Got Talent in a guest Op-Ed for the New York Times. Never to be foiled in an opportunity to talk about his favorite performer of all time Mathew Buchinger, Mr. Jay compares him with Boyle saying, "Because of their appearance, both Buchinger and Ms. Boyle were saddled with low expectations. This can work to the performer’s advantage: lessened anticipation coupled with high ability can bring on an exponential acceptance."   The comparison is not quite a fair one according to Jay who reminds us that, "Unlike Ms. Boyle, who claimed she had never been kissed, Buchinger had four wives and 14 children. He was heralded and discussed: the subject of stories, verse, jokes, slang expressions, souvenir prints and royal command performances. Samples of his calligraphy, fashioned by Buchinger holding a pen in between his unarticulated fin-like excrescences, are saved in the collections of the world’s most formidable institutions. He is even immortalized in a 1726 English broadside, “A Poem on Mathew Buckinger: The Greatest German Living.” If you haven't, you should definitely take a moment to read this article. We need more writing of this kind in a time when traditional journalism is under such significant pressure.

For the one or two of you that are unfamiliar with Miss Boyle as I write this, you can see the video clip that has currently been viewed in excess of 65 Million times on YouTube, and millions of times elsewhere, here:

Article originally appeared on The Magic Newswire (http://www.linkingpage.com/).
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