The Perfumed Purloiner

The Art of the Con In Post-Truth Politics: How Trump Grabbed America By The P****


The most accomplished charlatans cast dispersion about them like a sweet perfume. It’s a subtle, consistent, and deliberate practice aimed to sow doubt and confusion amongst the crowd they have engaged with. The group witnesses the perfumer selectively point his nozzle, squeeze the bellows, and cloud each recipient in a fog of vapor. Again and again he sprays, always pointing the nozzle outwards. He does so with no sense of secrecy for he knows the scent will stick. So they come, and come again.

A few inevitabilities arise in such a scenario. First, because everyone is now so well saturated in the aromatic fantasyland of perfumery, it becomes difficult to tell where the scent originated from. All are suspect, and separating the originating act from its resulting consequences is an arduous endeavor. Indeed, that is the intent.

Second, olfactory fatigue sets in. This term is used to describe a state of nasal exhaustion, when one’s scent receptors have become so inundated by a particular smell, they essentially become to tired to bother with it anymore. Though potentially quite pungent, the aroma in question no longer registers.

At this, the crowd laughs and proclaims:

See how we all smell! Ha ha!
See how none care about it anyway! Hee hee!

The smiling man in the center of the room has sullied them all as they exhort and posture in the ensuing, excited confusion.


Beware the charlatan who claims success as his own doing but passes all shortcomings onto others. Beware the dilettante who casts his blame-full words freely and without hesitation. Beware the fabulist and the prevaricator who, through repeated iterations replaces fact with fabulous fictions. Beware the autocrat with his uncanny ability to freely admit his nefarious intent with a subtlety so rare, it hardly registers. Beware the practiced con artist who slips his fearful fingers into the hidden recesses of your being. For it is just as you find yourself crying out in the malaise of perfumed profanities, that the purloiners work has truly begun.

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