Friday 20 April 2012

Guest Post!!! Dan Gilbert: The Yes Men cometh in my inbox

 Until I visited the US, I'd never heard of The Bank of America. Then I did. Then they treated me like a dick. So, imagine how overjoyed I was to receive this post from gad-about-Leicester (and Mievillacrum#2), Dan Gilbert, detailing how hoaxers had shown that, no, Bank of America are the dicks! Ha! As I suspected...

If there's one thing my inbox can be relied upon to do, it's attract massive fibbers. I've got Russian girls looking for me (sounds more like a threat than a promise), an African Prince hoping to borrow fifty quid in order to access his millions, a copy of my CV; that kind of stuff. I actually quite like my inbox this way- if it was even half as relentlessly grounded in reality as the filth the electric company shove through my letterbox, I'd never sign in again.

I got one the other day that stands out more than the 12” todger some Doctor in the Philippines reckons he can endow me with. The email claimed to originate from The Bank Of America, entitled 'Bank of America Announces Partnership with Taxpayers to Revamp U.S. Banking.' which you can read here...

My finely-tuned brain spotted this as nonsense straight away; partly because of the content, but mostly because I couldn't get my head around the idea of a US bank seeking the opinions of some Limey shit-muncher who isn't above recycling cigarettes from the ashtray. Sure enough, the originating website was promptly exposed as a fake by the actual Bank Of America, denouncing it as the phishing scam it wasn't: a self-serving half-truth far more in line with the kind of stuff I expect from bankers and pointless middle-men in general.

A further example of their infuriatingly unconscious arrogance dropped into my inbox shortly after, entitled 'Bank of America Denounces Hoax, Will Not Need Bailout, Warns Public Not To Be Confused By “YourBofA.com” Fraud-

Now there's the greedy whoremongers lefty teens get so annoyingly earnest about! I sent off a sarky comment, went back to shooting podgy adolescents in the face on Battlefield Heroes, and thought no more about it.

The plot, it turns out, was to thicken like the tinned stodge that passes for my diet these days. A third email showed up (accompanied by one from my internet provider suggesting I pay them money or forget all about receiving a fourth)-

A bit of a shock, I don't mind telling you. As a long-standing trader in utter bullshit, I was a little irked some had managed to get past me- even if it was on the second attempt- and from such illustrious bullshit artists as the Yes Men.  Apparently they decided to release a hoax denouncing their hoax to ensure no journalists were fooled for very long. I reckon they were worried they'd cause a financial meltdown, not unrealistic when you look at what their Bhopal jape on the BBC did to Dow Chemical's share prices.

You can piece together all the details from their website, but the long and short of it is they wanted to get people talking about what kind of banking system they'd like to have, which is definitely a step up from the usual 'tear it all down and replace it with, er, something better' line you often get. 

It's also a great way to get people that would otherwise write it off as wishful thinking involved; a bit like getting a kid to cry by giving it sweeties then taking them away (much fun in it's own right, of course).   

Anyone interested in getting involved in this kind of japery can do so by reading more on the YesLab website- you might change the world, but more importantly, you'll get to wind up some humourless suits with more money and less practical use than you.

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