2001-2008
Home
Main
- About TFT
Friday Thing Archive
- Politics
- Media
- Culture and Society
- War On Terror
- People
- Places
- World
- Popped Clogs
- Music
- Books
- Film
- Etc
Help And Info
- Contact Details
- Advertising
- Jobs
- Privacy Policy
- XML Feed

Home > People

Uri Geller: Bending The Truth

"She died... but she did come back in the form of a small bird, while I was out jogging to thank me for my help". Well that's alright then.

29 September 2003

Legally speaking, Uri Geller is a dangerous man to cross. Almost as famous for threatening litigation against his critics as he is for bending cutlery, it would be a foolish man indeed who accused him of being a fraudster. Which is a shame really, as that's exactly what he is. A fraudster - albeit an exceptionally clever and charming one.

A visit to Uri-Geller.com, Geller's personal website, speaks volumes about the man behind the spoons, and his motives. Littered with tales of events which Geller claims to have been responsible for - N'sync: "I motivated and inspired them", The Soviets signing the Nuclear Arms Reduction Treaty in Geneva: "that was all down to me" - the site carefully creates the impression that Uri Geller and his vast range of self-help books and crystal-based products hold the answer to every problem, no matter how small. The message is clear: buy my books and, in return, I'll give you the secret of a healthy, happy and nuclear-weapon-free life.

But on what basis are we expected to trust in Geller's ability to transform our troubled lives? Simply on the basis that anyone who can bend spoons using just the power of his mind must be deserving of both our faith and our disposable income.

Except of course he can't do anything of the sort. In 1973 Geller left America (where he claims to have been "working on secret projects for the CIA") after failing, in dramatic style, to bend a spoon in front of a live television audience on Johnny Carson's tonight show. The reason? Carson insisted on using his own spoon and refused to allow Geller to 'inspect' it beforehand. In fact almost all of Geller's secrets were laid bare in 'Gellerism Revealed', a book by acclaimed magician Ben Harris which teaches readers how to bend spoons and restart watches under "even the most difficult conditions".

True to form, Geller includes a quote from the book's foreword on his site, twisted to suggest that Harris believes his feats to be genuine: "Uri Geller is a superb showman...there is no gimmicked apparatus involved, just pure showmanship that proves successful under nearly all conditions". Unsurprisingly though Uri-Geller.com contains no reference to the book's instructions on 'restarting borrowed watches by sleight of hand' and "how to make your own key-bending gimmick". Which is disappointing, because it makes fascinating reading.

For a prime example of how Geller operates, you need look no further than his appearance this week on ITV's 'This Morning'. After giving advice to a woman who was nervous about an upcoming job interview ("Make yourself look pretty and think positive thoughts...then visit my website") and to the man whose grandfather clock had broken ("Stand in front of it and shout 'WORK!'...then visit my website"), Uri relayed the touching story of a terminally ill girl who he had recently 'helped'. "I held her hands and told her to think strong, positive thoughts" he boasted. And what happened to her? "She died... but she did come back in the form of a small bird, while I was out jogging to thank me for my help". Well that's alright then.

So, why does he do it? Why doesn't he just 'come out' as a exceptionally good magician and a superb motivational speaker. Why does he feel the need to pretend to have 'special supernatural powers' in order to peddle his wares and plug his seminars?

The answer is simple - Uri has developed 'O.J. Syndrome', in that he has been telling the same lie for so long that he's actually started believing it himself. Deep, deep down, he knows that he's really using misdirection and pressure from his thumb to pre-bend borrowed spoons - but inside his head he's thinking; "Of course I could do this without cheating - it's just easier this way". And because he's managed to fool himself he wants us to be fooled too. He wants us to believe that he's some kind of spoon-bending, boy-band-inspiring God.

Because, let's face it, God sells more books than Paul Daniels ever will.



Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

Subscribe to The Friday Thing for free


 ABOUT THE FRIDAY THING
Bad words ahead The Friday Thing is a weekly email comment sheet. Casting a cynical eye over the week's events, it is rarely fair and never balanced.

A selection of articles from each week's issue appear online, but to enjoy the full Thing, delivered by email every Friday - as well as access to almost five years of back issues - you'll need to subscribe. It's absolutely free.

READERS WRITE
"Razor-sharp comment and gossip." - The Sunday Times

"Hilariously cynical..To describe it as 'irreverent' is to do the newsletter an injustice." - The Observer

"Sharp, intelligent, opinionated, uncompromising and very, very funny. Just like 'Private Eye' used to be." - Alec McKelland

"Wicked" - Channel 4

"Ace" - Time Out

"'We rise once again in advocacy of The Friday Thing. We realize that some of you may be unwilling to spend [your money] on plain-text comment, but you're only depriving yourself." - The Minor Fall, The Major Lift

"Subscribing to this at the beginning of the year was undoubtedly one of the better decisions I've made. Superlative, and utterly marvellous. I look forward to Fridays now, because I can't wait for the next issue. Fucking fucking brilliant." - Meish.org

"Featuring writers from The Observer, Smack The Pony and The 11 O'Clock Show... will continue to attract new subscribers sight unseen" - NeedToKnow

"The Friday Thing is so good it's stopping me from doing a bunk of a Friday afternoon." - Annie Blinkhorn (The Erotic Review)

"So now" - The Evening Standard

"Damn it, you rule. May you never, ever back down." - Paul Mayze

"Ace" - PopJustice

"Snarky" - Online Journalism Review

"Can you please stop making me laugh out loud... I'm supposed to be working, you know!" - Tamsin Tyrwhitt

"Your coverage of stuff as it spills is right on the money." - Mike Woods

"Popbitch with A-Levels." - Tim Footman

"In an inbox full of trite work-related nonsense, TFT shines from under its subject heading like the sun out of Angus Deayton's arse." - Nikki Hunt

"A first rate email. It's become an integral part of my week, and my life would be empty and meaningless without it (well, *more* empty and meaningless anyway)." - Mark Pugh

"Genius, absolute bit of class. And you can quote me on that." - Lee Neville

"If you're hipper than hell, this is what you read." - MarketingSherpa

"The most entertaining email I've had all week. Great tone." - Matthew Prior

"A massive and engrossing wit injection." - idiotica.co.uk

"I wouldn't know satire if it bit me on the arse. But I did like the Naomi Campbell joke." - Matt Kelly (The Mirror)

"Has had an understandably high profile among people who know about these things." - Guy Clapperton (Guardian Online)

"Satirical sideswipes at the burning issues of the day." - Radio 5 Live

"Puerile and worthless... Truly fabulous... Do read the whole thing." - Stephen Pollard

The Friday Thing 2001-2008 - All Rights Reserved