forgers and scammers
The Lost World profiles Darwin’s lesser known predecessor, Georges Cuvier, the inventor of extinction and mastodons.
The best article is A Very Rare Book. The rare book world trades on reputation and a perhaps mistaken belief that nobody forges old books. Until somebody does. A very good story, one might believe it’s the start of a Dan Brown novel, except better. At the heart of the story is a forged proof of Galileo’s book Sidereus Nuncius in which he documented Jupiter’s moons. What relics will people collect 500 years from now? An original Kindle that once held a first edition?
Sticking with the scamming theme, there’s a review of American Hustle, but it’s more of a plot summary without much analysis. Great movie, but runs long. Find a good seat. There’s an AP article with more background, but it doesn’t say much about what’s real and what’s fiction. As the opening credits say, “Some of this actually happened.”
Reading about the book forger reminded me of my favorite art forger story. Previous Times coverage. Digging up those links led me to a more recent for profit art forgery operation. Times coverage. There’s even an entire art crime blog .
The entirety of the issue reminded me of a previous great issue, last year’s Dec 24 issue, featuring art, prehistoric worlds, made up languages, mastodons, and everything else.
The scamming theme continues tangentially into the Jan 13 issue. Do The Hustle revisits American Hustle and also The Wolf of Wall Street, among other topics. As for my review of Wolf, it’s even longer than Hustle, but less entertaining, and a retread of previous Wall St. excess movies. The intro in particular cribs straight from Liar’s Poker (“fuckface“) and Bonfire of the Vanities (“masters of the universe“). Even further along that tangent, The People Who Pass covers pickpocketing rings and the integration of the Roma into France.
From the Feb 1 The Atlantic, The Dark Lord of the Internet is another long scammer article. Shady, shady affiliate marketing? Sounds a bit like parts of the movie Runner Runner. And of course, there’s this classic from New York Magazine, The World of Black-Ops Reputation Management, which covers some similar material.