Gene Elder's pretty conceptual: Witness his long-term project, some years ago, to casually insert himself into the vacation videos of tourists videotaping at the Alamo, a subversive project which got him a write-up in the Wall Street Journal. Or his Wedding Cake Liberation Front,
an ongoing art/activism meme which encourages the baking of wedding
cakes for events in order to raise awareness of marital civil liberties
for same-sex couples. Or his annual weeks-long celebration of "Love and IndepenDANCE Days”,
a period starting with Valentine’s Day and ending with Texas
Independence Day, during which Gene and his friend and co-founder Kitty Williams encourage
you to throw down with a “celebration of your own design…try taking an
artist or a needy CEO to lunch or some other wildly irresponsible
gesture of humane involvement.” G(ene and Kitty also hold an annual
Love & InpepenDANCE brunch, held at Candelight, which I highly
Recently, Gene forwarded me a larky bit of personal correspondence which totally fits the Gene Elder School of Life as Constant Art bill. It seems that Gene, like most of us, receives copious scam-spam from peeps (often from Nigeria)
eager to do banking business. And while most of us trash these e-mails
(sometimes pausing to chuckle at the oft-ridiculous name of the
recipient), Gene Elder has taken it upon himself to initiate the
following ongoing parody, treating the computer-generated correspondents as though they were, well, people.
“Originally I would collect all the scams and cut and paste them in one big email and send them to each other. So they could compare their scam abilities,” Gene writes.
soon enough, Gene started writing back. If I’m not mistaken, he’s yet
to be contacted again by any of the money-seeking parties, but I think his rejoinders are hilarious, and have persuaded Gene to let me share them with you.
(a jpeg appended to one of Gene’s e-mails)
the original e-mails to Gene are in italics, and Gene's responses are
in boldface. You can sort of skim them, though reading at least partway
makes Gene’s rejoinders better. My fave is the last one!
REQUEST FOR YOUR URGENT REPLY FROM MR WILLIAM BENSON BANK OF AFRICA.(BOA) OUAGADOUGOU -BURKINA-FASO.
REQUEST FOR YOUR URGENT REPLY Dear Friend,
This message might meet you in utmost surprise, however,it's just my
urgent need for foreign partner that made me to contact you for this
transaction. I am a banker by profession from Burkina faso in west
Africa and currently holding the post of Director Auditing and
Accounting unit of the bank.I have the opportunity of transfering the
left over funds ($11.5million) of one of my bank clients who died along
with his entire family on 31 july 2000 in a plane crash.
Hence,i am inviting you for a business deal where this money can be
shared between us in the ratio of 60/30 while 10% will be mapped out
for expenses.If you agree to my business proposal.further details of
the transfer will be forwarded to you as soon as i receive your return
mail. have a great day. yours, You will contact me with this E-mail Address:(firstname.lastname@example.org) Mr William Benson.
Dear William: I
share your pain. Africa is a wonderful place and I have always hoped to
inherit money one of these days. I hope the family who died didn't
crash the plane in vain.
I will be glad to help you with your money matters because money
matters at times like these. African banks are looking good. DO NOT
TRANSFER TO CITIBANK. Gene Elder
AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK PLC PLOT 129 ADEOLA ODEKUN AVENUE VICTORIa ISLAND-LAGOS PHONE +234 8052688569
I wish to introduce you to a business deal which would be beneficial to both of us and which has to be kept confidential for the purpose thereof. I am contacting you because i know that you are capable of handling the deal and I want to invest my money in your Country.
My name is Mr.Robert Peter. An accountant work with the African Development Bank Nigeria, I wish to seek your consent to present you as next of kin to my late client (Christian Eich, 57 years old, an engineer), who died in the year 2000 in a plane crash involving Air France Concorde flight 4590 Paris' at Charles de Gaulle airport on 25 July 2000 leaving behind the sum of $18.5M dollars (EIGHTEEN FIVE MILLION UNITED STATES DOLLARS) in African Development Bank Nigeriia, and no next of kin to inherit the money.
With your assistance and my professional advice we can get access to the money because I am his Accountant and all the members of the Family died in the Plane Crash. You can as well confirm this news at the BBC News website: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/859479.stm) on Monday, 31 July, 2000, 13:22 GMT 14:22 UK victims of the AF4590 crash include all 109 people on board and five who died on the ground when the plane crashed into the Hotelissimo.
We shall both share the funds. 50% for me and 40% to you, while 10% should be for Expenses or your Government may require as Tax.
I look forward to your positive response at your earliest convenience, now that the Bank has written me twice to present his Next of Kin and if you are interested send your information.To enable me apply first with your information to the bank as relation and next of kin to the deceased indicating for easy and effective communication and location where in the money will be remitted
1.Your Full Name 2.Your Phone Number And Fax Number 3.Your Contact Address 4.Your Age And Occupation
lf you are not interested please do not bother to reply,
Regards Mr. Robert Peter.[ ACCA.]
Dear Robert: Good
to hear from you. I am very popular in Nigeria I see. I knew Christian
Eich. He was like a brother to me. I know he would want me to have his
estate. You are very kind to contact me with this news. I was to fly
with him on the plane that crashed but due to a conflict in plans I had
to remain in Paris. His family was the only family that I ever knew. In
fact his father was my father. I have a family video of our half sisters. This always brings back tears when I watch them. Click here: YouTube - Solid Potato Salad - The Ross Sisters (1944) Gene Elder
Dear Gene, I have been waiting for your response to my last mail which included my telephone number.I have been expecting you to call me.Please do help me out as this is real.there are so many immitations of this transaction where culprits end up scamming their victims who are suppose to be helpers.In this case,you are not paying a dime to anybody as you are going to be beneficiary to the money that my colleagues and I shall use to finance this transaction.Please do respond to this email or call me or send me your telephone number.Please this is very important.I await your urgent response.
OH HI: Well, I get so many of these letters. I decided to go with someone else who made me a better offer and had more money. Thanks Gene
FROM MR KHAMO LATIF BANK OF AFRICA (B.O.A) OUAGADOUGOU, BURKINA FASO. WEST AFRICA. Dear friend, Greetings!!! RE: TRANSFER OF ($22.5,000.000.00 USD TWENTHY TWO MILLION FIVE HUNDRED UNITED STATE DOLLARS)
I want to transfer to overseas the sum of ($USD22.5M) Twenthy Two
Million Five Hundred United States Dollars) from a Prime Bank in Africa.
I would like to ask you to quietly look for a reliable and honest
person who will be capable and fit to provide either an existing bank
account or to set up a new Bank a/c immediately to receive this money,
even an empty a/c can serve as far as it can receive money.
I am Mr ( Khamo Latif ) an accountant and personal confidant to
(Dr.George Brumley) who died together with his wife in a plane crash on
the July 21st 2003 on their way to attend wedding in Boston, he is an
American, ECOWAS CONTRACTOR, he died without having any beneficiary to
his assets including his account here in Burkina Faso which he opened
as his personal savings for the purpose of expansion and developement
of his company before his untimely death in 2003.
The amount involved is ($USD22.5M) Twenthy Two Million Five Hundred
United States Dollars), no other person knows about this account. I am
contacting you for us to transfer this funds to your account as the
beneficiary, I want to transfer the whole ($USD22.5M) Twenthy Two
Million Five Hundred United States Dollars) into a safe account
abroad, but I don't know any foreigner.
I am only contacting you as a foreigner because this money can not be
approved to a local person here,But can only be approved to any
foreign a/c because the money is in US Dollars and the former owner of
the a/c Dr.George Brumley is a foreigner too, and as such the money can
only be approved into a foreign a/c.
I need your full co-operation to make this work fine because the
management is ready to approve this payment to any foreigner who has
correct information of this account, which I will give to you, upon
your positive response and once I am convinced that you are capable and
will meet up with the inheritance procedures.
At the conclusion of this business, you will be given 30% of the total
amount,60% will be for me, while 10% will be for expenses both parties
might have incurred during the process of transferring.
You should observe utmost CONFIDENTIALITY AND SECRECY in this
transaction, and rest assured that this transaction would be most
profitable for both of us because I will require your assistance to
invest my share in your country. If you are interested reply me immediately you receive this letter with your full data such as stated below: YOUR NAME................................. YOUR HOME ADDRESSES............ CITY................................. COUNTRY..................................... HOME TELEPHONE............. PRIVATE TELEPHONE............... FAX NO......................................... MARITAL STATUS...................... AGE............................................. OCCUPATION.................... RELIGION........................ A COPY OF YOUR PICTURE......... Trusting to hear from you immediately. Sincerely MR.KHAMO LATIF.
Dear Your Urgent Response: I am looking over the many offers of money that belong to me and I find your amount comes up short. Either you find that other 20 million or you will think Iraq was a party game. Yours Gene Elder
From: Barclays Bank <email@example.com> Subject: From Mr.Briggs Arthur. To: Date: Saturday, February 21, 2009, 6:54 AM
My Good Friend & Partner Briefly I am Mr.Arthur Briggs the Director Foriegn Remittance Department Barclays Bank London-United Kingdom. I
have (20.000.000.00) Twenty Million Pounds that i want to transfer
from our Bank to your Bank Account the Depositor of this money died
along with all his Entire Family since last two years in a fire
Accident and since that time no body in there family has come for this
money all this years. My
Good Friend,I have arranged every thing concerning the transfer of this
money to your Bank account through our paying bank in Spain i did it
this way because i dont want any body in our bank to know about this
transaction untill you confirm this money in your Bank Account. I
only need your Complete Bank account informations and your direct
telephone and fax numbers and your complete address so that i will
forward them to our Paying Bank in Spain for the completion of the
transfer of this 20 Million Pounds to your Bank Account that is all. I will give you 25 Percent of the total amount immediately you confirm this money in your Bank Account. My
Good Friend and Partner i will send my international passport to you
immediately i receive your message so that you will know exactly whom
you are dealing with,Please you will promise me that you will never in
your life think of betraying me after you could have confirmed this
money in your Bank Account because this money is all my hope to start a
new life in your country,We have alot to talk about but that should be
immediately i arrive your country. My
Good Friend and Partner you should keep this transaction to your self
alone untill you confirm this money in your bank account for security
reasons and you should also try and do exactly what our paying bank in
Spain ask you to do so that the will give you a smooth transfer of this
20.000.000.00 Million Pounds to your Bank Account and you should try
and give this transaction much of your time because you are going to
gain alot immediately you confirm this money in your Bank Account ok. I await your Urgent response including your complete Bank Account Informations as requested. I await Your Urgent Response and i wish you the best of luck in this new year 2009. Best Regards. From Mr.Arthur Briggs. Director Barclays Bank 190 Tottenham Court Road Bloomsbury,London,W1T 7lh UK. Direct Mobile Line. +447 031814540
Dear Mr Briggs; I
will be glad to help as long as this is not in American money. It is
now worthless. However, if you will agree to meet in person with a bag
full of gold we can do business. Come alone. Pick your time at the Alamo. No one will be watching. Gene
From: Joyce Farnswort T SSG MIL USA <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Greetings From Iraq To: Date: Tuesday, February 3, 2009, 3:04 PM
Greetings, This is Sgt.Joyce Farnswort a member of the U.S. ARMY Logistics Team , which was deployed to Iraq in the beginning of the war in Iraq. I would like to share some highly personal classified information about my personal experience and role which I played in the pursuit of my career serving under the U.S 1st Armored which was at the fore-front of the war in Iraq.Though, I would like to hold back certain information for security reasons for now until you have find the time to visit the BBC websites stated below to enable you have insight as to what I'm intending to sharewith you, believing that it would be of your desired interest oneway or the other.
Also, do get back to me having visiting the above website to enable us discuss in a more clarifying manner to the best of your understanding. I must say that I'm very uncomfortable sending this message to you without knowing truly if you would misconstrue the importance and decides to go public. In this regards, I will not hold back to say that the essence of this message is strictly for mutual benefit of you and I and nothing more. I will be vivid and coherent in my next message in this regards, Meanwhile, could you send me a mail confirming you have visited the site and that you have understood my intentions? I will await your thoughts. Please for security reasons reply strictly to (joycefarnswort@Army.com)
Thanks, Best Regards Sgt.Joyce Farnswort
Dear Sgt.Joyce Farnswort, a member of the U.S. ARMY Logistics Team, I
understand your concern about the seriousness of this email. Trust that
I hold this information in the strictest of confidence. I have read the
article, "Stash of money found in Baghdad.” I
understand the highly personal classified information about your
personal experience and the role which you played in the pursuit of
your career serving under the U.S 1st Armored which was at the
fore-front of the war in Iraq. But first things first. Get back as soon as possible. What are you wearing? I'm touching myself down there. Gene