Amygdalas. Why is it always amygdalas?

A friend rather foolishly clicked on a link in a spam email yesterday.

Fortunately,[1] it just leads to a webpage that first asks you to make sure you have your sound on, and then proceeds to auto-play a slideshow that is nothing but text, which the narrator then reads out loud to us.  Oy.  It also says that it’s only six minutes long, but as I type this it’s been way over fifteen and it’s still going.

I will now pause to let you guess what the presentation is actually about.

The presentation is about _____
A) a quasi-military organization plotting a coup, thereby enabling Clinton’s accession to the presidency
B) a super-secret cabal which will engineer the president-elect’s impeachment before the inauguration, thereby enabling Clinton’s accession to the presidency
C) an ad for a “free” book on secret cures for cancer, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, etc.

If you guessed C, congratulations.

Yes, it’s true, boys and girls.[2] Hillary Clinton conspired twenty-three years ago to kill off 31,000 patriots a year with the pharmaceutical cartel.  Their plot was to put her in the White House, where she would allow them “access to the power and money” of the U.S. government something something drugs.

How exactly this is different from our current healthcare situation is unclear, but IT’S SCARY, KENNETH!  Hillary Clinton!  Cartel!  There is so much ooga-booga in the first five minutes of this thing that I cannot remember it all—and I’m not going back to listen to it again.  It hits all the notes: Clinton, conspiracy, patriotism, threat of death, etc.  There is no documentation or proof, just blunt assertions about “knowing” stuff that NO ONE ELSE KNOWS, KENNETH!

[The presentation is still running in another browser window.  Six minutes my ass.]

The speaker finally reveals his affiliation: HSI, Health Science Institute.  A more wretched hive of scum and villainy, etc., etc.

Why do I say that?  The target audience for this pitch is those of us over 55, who combine the traits the HSI values: intractable health issues, not-very-solid reasoning capacities, distrust of institutional healthcare, and increasing fear of death.  (And a whole bunch of us have an irrational fear/hatred of Hillary Clinton, so that’s a bonus.)  The pitch is deliberately crafted to engage the amygdala and its irrational fears—and create a sense of panic and urgency so that the poor senior citizen clicks on that link to receive the “free” booklet.

I’m guessing that in order to receive your free book, you have to give the HSI not only your mailing address, but also your email address and probably your phone number.  You will then receive pitch after pitch for their products WHICH WILL CURE YOUR CANCER THE NATURAL WAY WITHOUT SIDE EFFECTS, KENNETH!  These people are evil.

The only way to make sure is to click on that link.  Which I’m not going to do.[3]


[1] For differing values of “fortunate.”

[2] It’s not true.

[3] I have written this entire blog post and the presentation is still running and still has not given me the information to receive my free book.  We’re now into the second free gift.

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