I don't want any of Magento's banners to appear on my site. Without altering the core theme, how do I remove all banner blocks? I assume this is another magical Magento xml layout incantation?
This doesn't work:
<remove name="banner" />
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Well, the great thing is that there's no magic in Magento. You've probably heard the Arthur Clarke quote that "any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." The layers of cause and effect can be confusing, though.
I am not sure whether all "banners" share a common block. What you'll want to do is track down the template that contains the banner you're interested in (try searching by CSS class or similar). Then you can text-search for the template name to locate the layout xml files that include the template - this tells you the block names. From there you can craft the correct statement for removing the blocks.
Also, try checking out this similar thread: Magento - remove block using update XML. Happy hacking!