UP FRONT

Spectacle

JONATHAN DURBIN October 13 2003
UP FRONT

Spectacle

JONATHAN DURBIN October 13 2003

Spectacle

The box where anger meets illusion

Poor David Blaine. The American illusionist is in his fifth week of living inside a clear plastic box 12 m above the River Thames, ostensibly to display his superhuman stamina but also for the $2.25 million two British TV channels have promised for the 44-day endurance test. He hasn’t eaten in more than a month, his body’s a wreck and he’s become the target for angry Londoners fed up with stupid reality stunts.

Perched near Tower Bridge in London, Blaine’s box has been pelted with rotten toma-

toes, eggs, apples, paint-filled balloons, golf balls, beer cans, and fish and chips. People have flashed him and drummed to keep him awake. One man tried to cut the tube supplying his water. Another tempted him with a cheeseburger by way of a toy helicopter. Now the police want to bill his sponsors for the cost of keeping the crowd at bay. All of which makes a larger point: that human behaviour is so much more engaging than just watching a stationary man starve for publicity.

JONATHAN DURBIN

Quote of the week I ‘He is in a bad way. We should pray for the Pope.’

JOSEPH CARDINAL RATZINGER, a top Vatican official, on an increasingly frail pontiff who is reportedly suffering from stomach cancer