TX congressman wants magic to be recognized as national treasure

Posted Mar 17, 2016 by Megan Hamilton
Texas congressman Pete Sessions, a Republican, doesn't believe in global warming and doesn't like big government. But he does like magic.
U.S. Congressman Pete Sessions (R-TX)
U.S. Congressman Pete Sessions (R-TX)
Pete Sessions / PR photo
So much so that he's introduced a House resolution that would officially recognize magic as a "rare and valuable art form and national treasure," NBC News reports.
Harry Houdini  in chains  circa 1899.
Harry Houdini, in chains, circa 1899.
Library of Congress
Referencing magicians like Harry Houdini and David Copperfield, along with famed writer Arthur C. Clarke and artist Leonardo da Vinci, Sessions' resolution states that magic should be "preserved, understood, and promulgated."
The resolution states, in part:
• Whereas magic is an art form with the unique power and potential to impact the lives of all people;
• Whereas magic enables people to experience the impossible;
• Whereas magic is used to inspire and bring wonder and happiness to others;
• Whereas magic has had a significant impact on other art forms;
• Whereas magic, like the great art forms of dance, literature, theater, film, and the visual arts, allows people to experience something that transcends the written word ...
As The Verge notes, it goes on like that for a while longer.
It appears that Sessions is doing this, in part, to support his magician constituents, including Eric Hogue, the mayor of Wylie, Texas. He's mentioned in the text of the bill as teaching kids "about the different roles and responsibilities of local government" by using magic. Hogue, who proclaimed a "National Magic Week" in 2014, reportedly contacted Sessions about placing a resolution on a national level.
The resolution is co-sponsored by Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) and Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.), HuffPost Politics reports.
Brock says he "wants to recognize magic for what it is: a valued art form, not a way to balance the budget without significant spending cuts," said his spokesman, Kyle Huwa, in an email.
For Dent, the reason for sponsoring the resolution was more personal. In an email, he remembered his father-in-law, Bill Serfass, who was a sleight-of-hand magician.
Serfass regularly amazed and entertained his family with his skill and tricks, but the most remarkable thing he did was to engage the imagination of Dent's son William, who is Serfass' namesake.
Just before he died of cancer 11 years ago, Serfass requested a broken wand ceremony be performed at his funeral, said a spokesman for Dent.
Democrats were understandably skeptical about the resolution.
On his Twitter account, Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.) quipped:
"Breaking: @HouseGOP believes in magic but not climate change."
Drew Hammill, a spokesman for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was also skeptical.
"Maybe I don't get this because I'm a Muggle?" he asked.
NBC notes that this isn't the first time Sessions has tried to get magic officially recognized as an art form before, but so far, he hasn't been able to pull this particular rabbit out of the hat.
The legislation, H. Res. 642, also has the support of famed illusionist David Copperfield, who is cited in the resolution, The Dallas Morning News reports.
Copperfield developed Project Magic, an organization that teaches magic to kids with physical disabilities.
Now, the resolution will make its' way to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee for consideration.