Skip

Congratulations!
April 9, 2007 5:32 AM   Subscribe

Clive James on Scams and Hoaxes. "If the flim-flam man is sensible enough to offer you a return of only twice as much, the scam might even work. I was once defrauded of a heartbreakingly-large sum by a fellow writer who was smart enough to offer no return at all. True to her word, she didn't return my money either."
posted by Blue Stone (18 comments total)

 
Link to the audio (Real Player/Windows Media Player)
(Available only until April 12 2007)
posted by Blue Stone at 5:34 AM on April 9, 2007


The world runs on good faith, if all of us had to spend our whole time questioning the credentials of everyone we met, life would come to a halt.

CONGRATULATIONS YOU HAVE WON THE FALSE-DICHOTOMY LOTTERY
posted by DU at 5:38 AM on April 9, 2007


Mine gwoodness me, this was awfuwwy dull.

Mr James teeters alarmingly between the dead relevant and the super-fluffy; there is some terrifyingly bad poetry in the middle.
posted by Wolof at 5:49 AM on April 9, 2007


For some reason I was picturing Clive Anderson writing the article... perhaps leading up to a hoedown with Ryan Stiles and Josie Lawrence.
posted by rolypolyman at 6:10 AM on April 9, 2007


I read that this morning before work, and mulled it over on the trip. God that was horrible writing.
But there could be no quarrelling with the name and rank of the official in charge, billed as Dr Antonio Gomez, vice president. The doctorate wasn't a bad touch and the vice presidency was masterly, calling him president would have been too much.

Calling him vice president suggested the Ministry of Economics might actually have been engaged in this philanthropic activity as part of some incidental arm of government policy. The kind of thing a vice president would handle down there in Madrid, if not in Lagos or in a small basement flat somewhere beneath Brixton, with an old sofa in the garden for the ministers of economics to relax in with a beer on a spring day.
Two paragraphs about the "title" of the fictional minister. Gawd. who has time to read this garbage.
posted by delmoi at 6:14 AM on April 9, 2007


Bad writing, bad reporting and a nonsensical link between scammers and those that trick without malice or to show the preposterousness of those in charge. I'm ashamed of you Mr James.
posted by seanyboy at 6:20 AM on April 9, 2007


There is a difference between a true confidence scheme and simple deception. It would have been useful for James to explain the difference. In a confidence scheme, the perpetrator first works to gain the confidence of the target, and then puts out the bait.

A con artist can not be successful unless there is some larceny in the soul of the sucker. The target of the scam is led to believe he or she can get something for nothing, and steps into the trap.

The hail forest hoax described is simple deception, as he seems to have realized about halfway through. The Nigerian/Australian scams described are confidence schemes.
posted by beagle at 6:47 AM on April 9, 2007


Exposing Cliver James
posted by Gnostic Novelist at 6:48 AM on April 9, 2007


The father of a friend of mine was at Cambridge with Clive James and Germaine Greer. He told me one day, no doubt one of his favourite stories, that when he graduated he remembers thinking "thank Christ I'll never have to listen to either of those bloody Aussie loudmouths ever again".

Sadly it didn't turn out like that.
posted by imperium at 7:00 AM on April 9, 2007


Wolof writes: Mr James teeters alarmingly between the dead relevant and the super-fluffy; there is some terrifyingly bad poetry in the middle.

And the novels... don't forget the novels (Oh how I wish I could forget the novels).

And I say this as someone who grew up watching Saturday Night Clive on the ABC and actually quite likes a lot of what the man turns out. But this article, no.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 7:03 AM on April 9, 2007


i'm with the haters.

I was once defrauded of a heartbreakingly-large sum by a fellow writer who was smart enough to offer no return at all. True to her word, she didn't return my money either.

That's the only reason I read the story. He should have wrote a few paragraphs about that and let it be.

I'm guessing it's a story about an ex-wife or something, so I would have likely been just as disappointed by that lame tale.
posted by mrgrimm at 7:59 AM on April 9, 2007


Clive James is a bit of a conundrum. Unreliable Memoirs is excellent, yet the subsequent volumes are dull. His novels and poetry are truly execrable, yet his TV and literary criticism is very good.

This is very poor, and I have no idea why the BBC have decided to publish it.
posted by johnny novak at 8:32 AM on April 9, 2007


Christ, that was terrible. Ponderous and rambling, with only a squib of interest, helpfully excerpted here, in a confused and confusing sub-Andy Rooney muddle of "Wouldn't it be nice?"

Why did you post this?
posted by klangklangston at 10:24 AM on April 9, 2007


Some of his other regular columns for the BBC have been better.

But not so much better that I can be bothered to go and find them. Sorry.
posted by athenian at 10:44 AM on April 9, 2007


I have no idea why the BBC have decided to publish it.

Publish it? I listened to it on the usually top-notch Radio 4 as I sat in traffic a couple of days ago, marvelling at how fucking banal and pointless it was. The final lines were as ridiculous as any ever broadcast in the POV series, and the link reminding us that "that was the last in the current series from Clive James" was subtly terrifying. No more, please! No more.
posted by dash_slot- at 11:34 AM on April 9, 2007


Jesus, he's dreadful; all the critical slavering he's getting these days just boggles the mind.

Also, every time I see his name my heart momentarily beats faster because I think it's going to be something involving Clive Owen, and then I realize it isn't and I hate him all the more.
posted by scody at 1:51 PM on April 9, 2007


Hoaxes are only funny if there is no offence caused or if it genuinely serves to reveal a person's darker side that they cover up. That's why the BBC spaghetti tree April fool isn't really that funny: spaghetti was an exotic food in 1957 and I'm not surprised that many people didn't know how it was made.

Poor guy still can't get over that horrible affair with the Wallet Inspector.
posted by griphus at 4:18 PM on April 9, 2007


Rampant egomania/megalomania seems to be the problem with C. James these days. His selected essays - which has some good stuff in it - is seriously marred/made weirdly entertaining by mini-prefaces to each piece where he says things like 'I don't want to brag, but I was really on great form when I wrote this one'.
posted by Mocata at 6:49 AM on April 10, 2007


« Older IT'S THE ONLY WAY TO BE SURE!   |   Bumper crop Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post