What happens in the bookshop at night?
A flyer comes through the door.
It is for a bible study course so it comes within an ace of going straight in the recycling. But there is one limited set of circumstances under which these things interest me and a second glance shows that this flyer meets them very neatly. This is a flyer for a bible study course predicated on the concept that we are entering the End Times.
Now, I love a good conspiracy theory as much as the next thriller fan. But, reading on, I realise that this flyer is a masterpiece of a certain iniquitous kind of copywriting – a kind designed to literally put the fear of God into the person reading it by a combination of suggestion, bland general statements, playing on the reader’s insecurities and flattering them for their intelligence and discernment – in other words, the hallmarks of the Barnum Effect and all its dodgy practitioners around the world.
Such a masterpiece that I thought I would share some of it with you, dear reader, to complement the advance-fee fraud emails and similar communications that sometimes grace this blog. I’m not going to repeat chunks verbatim and make it Googleable but instead discuss the techniques that are used.
A title referring to a seemingly important and widely-understood event but giving no specifics and creating a sense in the reader that everybody else knows about something that has passed them by. The notion that the news we hear is only partial, snippets from some bigger story that is being kept from us. Reference is next made to several events which are usually in the news – but, again, with no specifics or verifiable, time-sensitive details.
The rapid pace of change is invoked along with the feelings of insecurity this can reliably provoke in the calmest and most balanced individual. It is suggested that there may be no place for the reader in the changing world. It then suggests that the reader is possessed of unusually sharp critical and reasoning faculties and in a position to make a choice rather than accept events passively.
Last, but by no means least, is the offer of a powerful book that will reveal everything – showing how all this is predicted in the Bible and not comprehensible without it. Is the reader up to the challenge?
A very interesting example of persuasive writing using less than ethical techniques. Now, into the recycling with it.
We went to three fabulous events at the 2012 festival, so here are a few mementoes:
The French fire artists 'La Compagnie Carabosse' visited our concrete city as part of the Milton Keynes International Festival this July. For three nights they transformed Campbell Park into a mesmerising, dream-like escape. It has to be one of the most visually captivating things I've ever seen and created an atmosphere rarely felt in my hometown.
The Music in the video is 'La Pie' by Frani52; one of the talented artists that play amongst the fire.
Shot with a Helios M44-2 58mm f2 on an Olympus EP-1.
And now for a Storify:
Here’s an Audioboo:
Not for the first time, a close business associate of Colonel Gaddafi has been in touch, soliciting our help with some tricky but of course strictly temporary financial circumstances. How could you think otherwise, dear kindly friend? And who could resist a SECRET CODE DEPOSIT?
• As usual, if you have arrived here via AN Other Search Engine, you should know that these emails are always fraudulent, should never be replied to, and are only posted here in order to publicly identify the different tricks used by such scammers. Don’t fall for it, and never engage with them. Certainly never pass on any personal details.
Very Urgent Kindly Respond
I’m Hendrick Marais, 52yrs, branch manager of one of the international Banks here in Malaysia. I have been the personal Fund Manager to the late Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi for many years. Total sum of Ten Million United State Dollars (US$10,000,000.00) was deposited under Escrow Account on behalf of the late president under a SECRET CODE DEPOSIT where none of his personal information was used for the deposit. This is known between two of us before his death in 2011.
And not even our bank head office has information about the owner of the fund. Now that President Muammar Gaddafi is DEAD, I can not be directly have access to this fund as an officer in our bank. So my aim of contacting you is to seek for your partnership to team up with me and receive this fund with your bank account by claiming the title holder/depositor and get 35% of the total fund as commission for your partnership.
There is no risk attached and the funds in question can never be traced. You may wish to read more about late Muammar Gaddafi’s death on the below link to confirm.
Kindly get back to me urgently so as to furnish you further details. Also, you can call me on +[redacted] for voice conversation
More clouds… it’s getting to the point where we would really welcome a bit of sun.
The weather stays the same and so does the view from the skylight. So here’s a shot across the roof tiles.
Warmer weather is melting the snow and drawing moisture into the atmosphere, giving this misty sunrise.
A bitterly cold grey day with no new snow – but no prospect of it melting either.
Snowy street under a blue sky reflected in a skylight window.
Cirrocumulus clouds against a blue sky – and the same clouds illuminated by a setting sun.
A cold, damp, misty day with last night’s snow just starting to melt.
All the moisture in the atmosphere made for a spectacular sunset.
One of those, in fact, that brings to mind a Turner painting.
It appears to have snowed overnight…
Bird on a TV aerial against a morning sky.
A 15-second exposure of the moon and stars.
A cold, clear winter afternoon’s sky.
This morning’s sunrise was a subdued affair.
These Cumulus clouds are on the way to becoming cumulus fractus.
One of those sunsets that makes you think about William Blake.
A chilly, foggy morning with little visibility.