Meaning: Trickery or deception, often in a political context.
Origin: This expression alludes to the performances of stage conjurers who use actual smoke and mirrors to deceive the audience. The figurative use that is now more common refers to the obscuring or embellishing of the truth that is employed by spin doctors and the like in order to deceive the general public. This later usage comes from the writings of the American journalist Jimmy Breslin. In his Notes from Impeachment Summer, 1975, Breslin twice refers to smoke and mirrors being used 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… If somebody tells you how to look, there can be seen in the smoke great, magnificent shapes, castles and kingdoms, and maybe they can be yours.”
“The ability to create the illusion of power, to use mirrors and blue smoke, is one found in unusual people.”
What do you think this could be saying about our government ran society? Think about it and let us know what you think!