The Grifters, Chapter 2 – N95 Masks

The best movie about con games is The Grifters, and the best scene in that movie is “Bobo and the oranges”, where mob boss Bobo terrorizes and punishes Lilly for screwing up one of his money laundering schemes. It’s one of the top-ten brutally compelling scenes in any movie I’ve seen, not so much for the physical violence as for the psychological violence.

We’re all Lilly Dillon today.

Our political and market worlds have become an unending sea of grift … small cons, big cons, short cons, long cons … and every day the distinction between grifters and squares becomes more and more blurred.

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  1. “let a beast be lord of beasts, and his crib shall stand at the king’s mess:” 

  2. Avatar for bhunt bhunt says:

    Perfect. Just retweeted this.

  3. Oh Ben. It’s all so utterly depressing. Similar situation here in the UK with government contracts being handed out to cronies hand over fist, and hundreds of millions of taxpayers money being spaffed up the wall. Jo Maugham, QC, is trying his best via The Good Law Project ( to hold the government to account, but the absolute unashamed brazeness of their behaviour beggars belief. Johnson has definitely been studying the Trump playbook.

  4. My biggest issue with all of this isn’t even the corruption and graft that’s happening now, it’s what happens in the future as we see this kind of behavior normalized. I’m in the nice suburbs of a hilariously corrupt city, and it’s simply always been understood that the leaders would attempt to enrich themselves. Nobody here is fazed by it. And the city has suffered for decades because of it. Extrapolating that attitude out on a national scale is terrifying to me.

  5. A friend of a friend works at one of those hospitals in flyover country, not high on the distribution priority list for PPE. Things are getting better… At least 100% better! When this whole mess started, the hospital started rationing N95 masks: one per employee, to be stored in a plastic box when not in use. Employees are now issued two N95 masks and two boxes: one to use when seeing patients known to have COVID-19 and one for seeing other patients.

  6. Ben

    How I love that thing you do.

  7. Avatar for mckett mckett says:

    Thank you Ben. This negligence is overwhelming in its simplicity, there is no complicated reason the mask “market” is not functioning, no difficult knot to unravel. The entire “game” of economies and life has always been somewhat uneven in its rules but never have I despaired so completely in the idea that economic opportunity for all is dead and in its place is a system run and rigged by those who have already won. On a more angry note, the Guillotine was invented at a time when people realized the fix was in…

  8. Avatar for bhunt bhunt says:

    It’s hard to imagine, right? That it’s come to this?

  9. " flashing his America First salute."

    I see what you did there . . . .

  10. I wanna believe “you know… You and me”. But God damn, the stupidity of seemingly highly intelligent people who can’t see the shit that’s going on. It’s just too easy for people to be lazy.

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