The Spam Letters - The Book

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Subject: Re: Not buying...
To: Name Withheld... not a spammer
From: Jonathan Land <>
Date: 11/20/2002

Thank you for your response. I have no difficulty whatsoever understanding your intentions. Everyone would love for the nightmare to end. Why don't you address them (criminals) directly and leave the nation out of it? We have enough issues as it is. My concern is with your approach... It's not okay for you to make references to the fact (as you put it) that Nigeria is 50years behind America bla bla... it really is all soooo unnecessary, besides, you've never been here so howİwould you know? (and spare me whole opinion polls jargon please, if you really want to know then find out for yourself!).

I also read some of your mails where you made very derogatory remarks about women saying stuff like: "pussy is pussy" (quote unquote)... I rest my case, hey if you want to fight crime, fine, go right ahead, just don't use it as a medium to hurt people out here okay? You also sounded like you felt you were superior to us in some way and you constantly made references to the fact that your vocabulary/thinking process (or whatever) is way ahead ours. You don't know my countryİ(nor its people) really is/are like, it's a wonderful place to be and it's very beautiful. Fine we have the 419ers but like I asked before, what country doesn't?

You must be totally out of your mind to think that these scams are the 3rd to 5th largest source of income for a whole country???? In order words, at least 1 in every group of 5persons is a 419er... Where on earth do you guys get this crap??? Do you realise that the 419 scam started in the early 90s? Do you also realise that the rest of the honest Nigerian citizens detest these acts and that the perpertrators don't make up to 30% of the nation's population???İIf you put a lot into considerationİsuch as the age factor, literacy factor, geographic location (not every state has internet facilities) etc, you would discover that only a handful fit into this category and also that your "homework" doesn't amount to much. This whole issue would have all beenİfunny if it weren't so pathetic, and right now I lack words to describe how enraged I am.

I feel very sad that people are lured out here to be killed, it truly is terrible. BUT!, the reason they were killed isn't because they recieved scam letters from Nigeria but rather it's because they wereİgullible enough to follow up on it. NO ADULT SHOULD BE IRRESPONSIBLE ENOUGH TO ACT ONİANY GIVEN ISSUE WITHOUT GETTING HIS/HER FACTS STRAIGHT!!! These things could happen anywhere in the world... espacially in the US! Your site should:

i) Highlight these scam letters and

ii) Educate/Warn people worldwide to be more rational and more intelligent.

Please don't use it as a medium to throw mudslings at Nigeria.

OK. I thought that I gave a fairly clear explanation of the site. In your first paragraph you claim to have no difficulty understanding my intentions, yet you go on in a manner that leads me to believe otherwise, so I can can tell you right off the bat that this response will be moderately more condescending in tone. I will absolutely not reach as low as name calling, because I know you don't appreciate that. However, I will treat you to a parade of subtle put-downs and vaguely antagonistic comments and retorts.

First off, you say that I should be addressing the criminals directly. Who did you think I was writing those letters to? I'm not creating propaganda to be mass-reproduced and dropped by plane onto the people of Nigeria. I am writing back to the people who write to me... then I'm putting it on the web. I'd say "surely you can't be serious when you say that my approach could possibly be making a bad situation worse", but it's clear that you're severely lacking a sense of humor. I'm not just saying that because you don't like my work. It comes shining through in your stubborn and closed-minded response, and the fact that you couldn't even detect that I was at the very least trying to be funny in my letters. Please let me know how I'm worsening your problem? Is it because I'm exposing a scam, or that I'm promoting it to people who are probably already aware of it?

It's also silly that you object to me saying things like "Nigeria is 50 years behind America", even as a joke, when I obviously know you're using the damn internet to send me these e-mails! What do you think I think you're reading this on, a cave wall?

As I said before, I run a humor site. You will find little of educational value on it. Humor is defined in Webster's Dictionary as (amongst other things):

"That quality of the imagination which gives to ideas an incongruous or fantastic turn, and tends to excite laughter or mirth by ludicrous images or representations; a playful fancy; facetiousness."

There are many aspects of what makes humor successful or not. Some things are funny because they're true. Some things are funny because they're completely surreal. Some things are NOT funny because you hit a nerve, which I obviously did with you. As much as I'd love to have every last person on Earth enjoy my site, I realize that it's not for everyone. In this case, "everyone" means you (amongst others). Unless you have armed thugs forcing you to read the site at gunpoint, I'd suggest that you stop going to it, because it's certainly not going anywhere.

I can safely say that nine times out of ten, the spam letters that I write do not accurately reflect my own personality. It's fiction. Fiction is writing that is made up, and not necessarily true. I respond as different people. They all share the same name (conveniently my own), but if you were to pick any 5 random letters, you would see that the person writing each response (from a different thread... I stay "in character" when dealing with the same person repeatedly) is not consistent. Why? Because it's a fictionalized version of "myself". When I write something like "pussy is pussy" in the context I write it in, it might or might not mean that I have a base-genitalia-level view of women. You'd have to know me and my interactions with women to know that. I assure you any disrespect I throw your way has nothing to do with the fact that you're a woman. It has to do with you as an individual. As a side note: Frankly I think the chauvinism implied by a statement like "pussy is pussy" reflects upon the "author" of the letter worse than it does against womankind, as it should. I don't remember the particular letter that you're referring to, but I use irony and sarcasm a lot, and sometimes I like to paint an ugly portrait of the "author" of a letter.

Also, I am not picking on your country. There are over 180 letters on the site. 28 of them involve Nigeria. Also 20 of them involve people from India and Pakistan. Give or take the occasional other foreign spam (let's shoot high and say there are 22), that leaves roughly 110 instances where I'm taking my particular form of entertainment/abuse out on Americans. They might not be the same problems, but your head's buried in the sand if you don't think that we have them over here, and if you don't think I've used them topically in my letters.

I got the fact that the scams are the 3rd to 5th largest source of income from an actual educational site about the 419 scam (I did do homework, thank you). They got their information from either the CIA or Secret Service, it's probably good info. This is where your math goes haywire. By your logic, if I were to say that billionaires were responsible for 50% of America's wealth, that would mean that one out of every two Americans must be a billionaire, when in reality, these people represent less than one percent of the population (we've got about 260 million people over here). I never said that the Nigerian email scam was the hip new thing that all the kids in the country are into. I'm sure only a minuscule part of the population is involved, but they do rake in tons of cash, yes from gullible foreigners.

Listen. My site is not going to change. If I wanted to get into education, I would have. But I didn't. I don't purport to be speaking the truth. If any reader wants to research a topic on my site, they could go to a library.

If it upsets you so much, just never come back to the site again and tell all of your friends not to go there. It doesn't matter to me. Many of your fellow Nigerians will keep writing to me, and I'll keep responding. The world will keep turning. Now please stop trying to make me see the error of my ways, because I've committed one. I'm sure you can find another website out there that says lots of nasty things about your country and is quite sincere about them. Go talk to them.


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