Smoke and Mirrors

What’s the meaning of “It’s all Smoke and Mirrors”?

If something is Smoke and Mirrors, it’s all just trickery or deception, “the land of make-believe”. In general language and even in computing, the term smoke and mirrors usually refers to programs that seem to exist, but actually do not.

Bucks Fizz – The Land of Make Believe (1981, Official Video) by BucksFizzVEVO

Smoke and Mirrors in the Politics

Behind the smoke and mirrors of the state’s periodic mobilisations of schools, bureaucrats and unions the affective power of the ‘ official ‘ last emperor proved ambiguous.

From Cambridge English Corpus

It became a case of smoke and mirrors—a way in which to deceive the participants into believing that there was nothing to worry about.

Example from the Hansard archive. Contains Parliamentary information licensed under the Open Parliament Licence v3.0

Jimmy Breslin refers twice to smoke and mirrors In his Notes from Impeachment Summer, 1975, describing their use in the US political scene:

“All political power is primarily an illusion… Mirrors and blue smoke, beautiful blue smoke rolling over the surface of highly polished mirrors…”

“The ability to create the illusion of power, to use mirrors and blue smoke, is one found in unusual people.”

What’s the origin of the phrase ‘Smoke and mirrors’?

This expression might have originated from “phantasmagoria” stage performances during the 18th and 19th-century, where the conjurers used actual smoke and mirrors in order to blur the perception of the audience, and so deceive them into believing that their magic was real. Those shows were horror theatre acts, these days “smoke and mirror” mean a deceptive, fraudulent description, or insubstantial statements.

Smoke and mirrors: a Classic Technique in Magical Illusions

In 1770 Nouvelles documented, that by projecting an image onto smoke with a mirror, he can make an entity appear to hover in empty space. This discovery spread widely after its use by 19th-century phantasmagoria show charlatans, who claimed the illusions to be real conjured spirits.

“I am only satisfied if my spectators, shivering and shuddering, raise their hands or cover their eyes out of fear of ghosts and devilsdashing towards them.”

Étienne-Gaspard Robert

Fun Holiday – Smoke and Mirrors Day

Celebrate the unofficial holiday of the Smoke and Mirrors Day annually on March 29. Celebrate it by learning some magic tricks and entertaining your family or best friends. Of course, it would make sense to try using “smoke and mirror” tricks.

Fun Holiday: Smoke and Mirrors Day Observances 2020-2028

2020Sun29 MarSmoke and Mirrors Day
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How To See Through The Smoke And Mirrors?

“Goodbye,” said the fox. “And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

Quote by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

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