Statistics about embezzlement, confidence games
, forgery, check fraud, etc.
would not be so compelling if they were as simple as taking candy from a baby.
He was involved in several kinds of confidence games
and served a total of ten years in as many institutions, all of them different except for the corruption and brutality on the inside.
Beyond simply dealing with "money and markets," then, Confidence Games
is a fascinating and wide-ranging tour of modern and postmodern ideas and conditions, from Aristotle to Nietzsche, from Wall Street to Las Vegas.
Maybe that's why screenplays featuring gamblers are often built around more suspenseful, less relentlessly negative subplots, like confidence games
(as in David Mamet's "House of Games") or heists (such as Neil Jordan's recent "The Good Thief").
At a time when most of us were trying to relieve an already sick feeling from our guts, Enron's collapse and the continuing saga of confidence games
only swirl the stomach bile more.
Thus, writing histories of conjuring (and such related forms of deception as confidence games
and sports hustling) is itself an exercise in sleight of-hand.