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An Iron in his own stead

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A lot of Nigerian 419 scammers use the phrase "perfected modalities." I have no idea what it means, but it has a certain evocative and intellectual air, don't you think?

Douglas Cruickshank of Salon went a step further than just pondering the evocative phrases, and wrote an article about the literary merit of 419 emails. It starts out:

Born in Africa over a decade ago, a renaissance in short fiction writing is spreading across the globe via the Internet, breathing new life into the always troubled romance between art and crime.

My favorite bit from the article is this:

The Secret Service claims that "in June of 1995, an American was murdered in Lagos, Nigeria, while pursuing a 419 scam, and numerous other foreign nationals have been reported as missing." And yet, because the letters have a certain rough-hewn charm and indicate a vivid imagination at work, one likes to think these bad rascals are not all murderers but, instead, simply hardworking con artists who've missed their true calling as novelists and have had to take up fiction writing's more lucrative sister vocation: fraud.

This entry's title comes from one of the 419 emails that Cruickshank quotes in the article.

Btw, he does mention modalities, but not perfected ones.

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