Vice News has uploaded a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it interview with “British psychological illusionist,” Derren Brown, that originally aired on HBO late last month.
The interview mostly concerns Brown’s “vices,” which as the headline of this piece implies, include taxidermy, gourmet coffee, and romantic encounters with other men. I’m not sure I’d call being gay a, “vice,” per-se, but it seems Brown once thought of it as such: He underwent gay conversion therapy during his youth.
It didn’t take. Brown is now a committed atheist as well as a proud homosexual.
It seems obnoxious now that Brown’s experience with conversion therapy has influenced his career, a large portion of which he’s spent railing against the use of psychological manipulation and “magic,” for anything beyond entertainment.
“A magic trick of any sort works because you tell yourself a story about what you see,” he says. “And politicians use this all the time in their own way by throwing a load of statistics at you when things don’t quite follow and then saying, ‘So therefore blah,’ and you believe that ‘blah’ thing because of the confusion that’s come before.”
“If you do magic,” he adds, “it’s the quickest most fraudulent route to impressing people.”