Dec 6: reading and response questions

GROUP 1: Chris Allick, Michael E, Liesje, Ania, Sebastian, Candice, Aaron, Poram
You are reading excerpts from The Big Con, by David Maurer, which I’ll hand out in class.

Response questions:
In email: What is the most interesting element of a successful con, for you, and why?
In class: Be prepared to explain to the group the elements of a successful con and outline the basic procedure, the players, and techniques.

GROUP 2: Minette, Jeff, MMC, Luis, Patrick, Chris Alden, Hana, Nicholas.
You are are reading short pieces about hoaxes and impostors. There’s one handout, plus links below. Read at least one hoax and one impostor.

Hoaxes:
PT Barnum’s account of the Feejee Mermaid hoax
The Mechanical Turk / Automaton Chess Player
Wikipedia actually does this justice. [Note: You can skip the section on “popular culture” and what follows.]

Impostors:
Frederic Bourdain
Ferdinand Waldo Demara (HANDOUT)

Response Questions:
In email: What is one technique in hoaxes or imposture that you find especially devious and interesting, and tell me why.
In class: Be prepared to explain the environment, players, technique, and apprehension of one of the hoaxes to the group for discussion; likewise, be prepared to report on one impostor and their story, technique, special skills and how they got busted to the group for discussion.

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