I've not taken time to wade through this rather extensive topic but I wanted to toss a few coins into the pond around this subject...Fact #1--
when Uri first hit the scene it was still very much common practice within the Mentalism world to claim genuine abilities. It's what is now referred to as "Old School" thinking; how things were prior to the imposition of the Dunninger Mold
and of course the expose' silliness that dear old Harry turned into a vocation... sadly, few magic-based skeptics actually adhere to Harry's views and have taken things well beyond the limits he's applied. In short, it was quite common for the old timers to give the public credit for having a brain and understand that the claim was part of the marketing hype just like Rock bands being tied to the occult back in the 70s... BS for the sake of PR. The belief being that most people were smart enough to recognize the fact that a "Show" in a club or theater is just that, a show!
Sure, you will have those that buy into the "Illusion" a bit more than not. But we have people in today's world that believe David Copperfield can really fly (because he is a master of the Kabala... similar to the Henning legends around TM). But there is the other side to what unfolded here, as people like Dunninger and later, Kreskin came into the public spot light and with "Scientific" themes created the exact same fervor of belief. Even now, with all of his disclaimers Banachek and even Derren Brown are seen by many as being "Real" by a minority... folks unwilling to see or accept things for what they really are... a show!Fact #2
-- the show "Phenomenon" though a huge flop in the U.S., was quite successful in establishing one key fact; Uri was indirectly admitting to being a show man... a Mentalist. I'm certain that if his hands weren't so tied and he didn't have to deal with the middle-aged wannabe punk-rocker we'd seen much more in way of his demonstrating this very fact but he was put against a very solid wall that prevented him form exploiting the same psychological claims he's used for decades... and yet we all ignore those that LIE about using NLP, Suggestion, Body Language, etc. to accomplish the very same things without any kind of disclaimer to be found... I just love double-standards The Urban Legend
around Geller v. Randi is that Randi offered to manage Uri and help him get gigs when he came to the U.S. and Canada. Geller declined and thus, a war was born. The irony being that Randi's tirade ended up making Uri even more famous and considerably more wealthy.
Yes, Uri still holds very close ties to the New Age sub-culture and still promotes materials associated with divination, psychic development, etc. Anyone that's actually looked at the show biz world for more than a second understands that professionals depend on BOR (back of room sales) which includes books, CD/DVD and tapes tied to their specialty be it hypnosis or talking to dead people. We have a plethora of items known as "Pitch Books" that are very generic, written by someone else but we are allowed to put our name on it and sell it as our own. Many such tomes have been penned by some of the biggest names of the Mentalism industry. But, BOR includes Readings for the majority of old school workers... call it the Robert Nelson course to success... but it works!
So Uri has kind of/sort of suggested that he might not be everything claimed. He's aligned himself exceptionally closer to the magic world in the pat decade than ever before and from what I know first hand, has actually come to Randi's defense a few times including the act of asking people to stop giving the old guy a hard time. I know this because of conversations I've had with Uri and some of the people we both have interaction with (which includes some rather well known members of the skeptic's culture).
Magicians (in particular) loathe those of us that work from this Old School mode because very few of them can pull it off. Most all of them look at it all as being "tricks" and not understanding the miracle potential when handled properly. Their goal is to show off, not to come off as credible. They do not study the "real" psychics out there so they aren't aware of how you can build an amazing career doing little more than a six key bits of business (look at Geller's history or Kreskin for that matter). Magicians loathe this approach because they claim it is unethical and immoral while not being able to show where or why other than pointing to the various exceptions vs. the rule; they deliberately impose the idea that any and all people that make such claims are con artists out to rip off the public and yet, they can't prove this to be the case 99% of the time... they thus, misdirect by creating a different point of view and psychologically planting their ideas into the minds of any that would listen. In other words, they poison the well. You don't find the Psychics... those evil manipulators that take advantage of the ignorant... doing anything remotely similar. You'd be hard pressed to prove such antics around Uri, John Edward or most of the better known stage psychics out there in that they are honest business people selling a product to people that want the product. Just like TV Wrestling shows or FOX "News", if you don't like it, don't watch it! Don't make a big deal out of it.
I could really go off on the WWE shows and how close to soft porn they are, asking why all those moralists out there don't scream over such sexually explicit displays. But it would fall on deaf ears I fear... but then it is a "legit" issue to my mind, especially given how it and even legit sports, promote a heterosexual mode of promiscuous thinking that young people are exposed to and as an end result, we are bringing up another generation of red necks that have low views on women and are driven by machismo vs. honesty and integrity.
I've strayed from the path but I hope I've brought out a few things for folks to contemplate.