7/03/2007

What's Wrong With This Picture?

Something has been bothering me...

In reading or listening to Casey Serin interact with his audience, the conversation always follows a certain, telling, pattern. First, Casey Serin adopts a jovial approach to offset abject criticism. The most recent Foreclosure Friday Fraudcast offers as good an example as any.

"ENDGAME
Yeah, if you were my brother I would kick your mother-f*cking ass when you came home.

CASEY
Oh. (laughing weakly) Really? You know what? They might be waiting for me, they might be with, you know, who knows what, so... we'll see."


When asked something he doesn't want to answer, he goes into a repetitive cycle of mirror questioning. This line of questioning is meant to both diffuse and distract the other party. In many cases, it is an attempt to get the other person to talk about themselves rather than Casey Serin:

"SIXFIGUREW2LOOSER
Because it's not real entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship is creating a product or service of genuine value that... is a new invention, is a new, is truly a new way of doing business. Something that nobody thought of before. You know, going out and taking all these loans out, and with the intent of flipping it on the ever-escalating rise of home prices: that is not based in reality, not based in income, it is pure speculation. It just creates damage and harm for people, like me, who -- for Christ's sake Casey, I make over six figures, all right? Full benefits, everything. And I can't even--

CASEY
Yeah. You're set up nice, huh?

SIXFIGUREW2LOOSER
Yeah, I am. And you wanna know why? Because I worked hard--

CASEY
Sweet cashflow coming in. Yeah.

SIXFIGUREW2LOOSER
Uh? Yeah, it's cashflow coming in, because it's money deposited to my account every two weeks.

CASEY
Doing good, yeah."


Casey Serin also utilizes half-right reflexives, a form of questioning where one posits a half-truth in the form of a question in order to get the other party to agree. Take, for example, this back-and-forth.

"HEYCASEY
But you can receive international calls on it [the prepaid Australian cell], so why don't you write CashCall an email and say "hey, what's up, why don't you try to figure out what's going on, obviously I'm making some sweet income on my ads on my blog right now, so why don't you just garnish my wages?" but, I don't know. Plus, by the way--

CASEY
(speaking over HeyCasey) That's a good point, that's a good point, can't keep hiding under the rocks for too long, is that what you're saying?....

HEYCASEY
Exactly, you need to file personal gains tax, which I'm sure you haven't done in a year or so.

CASEY
Yeah man, sweet! Yeah, I mean, the tax, you gotta pay that sweet tax, I mean, the IRS doesn't mess around, right?"


When backed into a corner, Casey Serin tends to drop his voice to create a false intimacy. This empathetic air is an attempt to diffuse the topic at hand, which I'm sure the Serin family has seen time and time again when Casey is painted into a corner. When Annie called in with some very pointed questions, this is how Casey Serin answered:

"ANNIE
Okay. Now, do you feel comfortable-- I can't imagine anybody freeloading like you do, and asking people to pay your way, because that's, you've been asking people, "buy me a ticket", "let me visit your house", you know, "pay for this", "pay for that". At the same time, you're saying that you made two thousand dollars last week, you sent one thousand dollars home just now, so you're making money, why are you freeloading?

CASEY
Okay. And then, that kinda angers you right? Why does that anger you?"


See what happens there? We've seen this a lot over the past ten months, when he flips something back on the other party--this isn't about me, this is about you. Let's talk about you. After all, everyone loves to talk about themselves.

Casey Serin continues his mirror questions, hoping to throw Annie off topic:

"ANNIE
Okay, so it was okay with them. So, you leave on a Wednesday to go to Australia. Two days later it's Friday. Did you have a thousand dollars on the table at home?

CASEY
Uh, what was that? Are you asking about the timing? When it all happened, or...?

ANNIE
No, no, no! I'm being very clear, I'm being extremely clear. You left to go to Australia on a Wednesday, right?

CASEY
Um, I think so. Is that what it was?"


Yet when Annie doesn't let it go, Casey shifts into victim mode:

"ANNIE
But you said last week you made two thousand dollars! So, last week, where's the two thousand dollars from last week?

CASEY
Well yeah, I made two thousand dollars, to transfer it, it takes two business days for it to transfer, I mean, that's all process. So, are we splitting hairs here? (ignores Annie's vehement 'No.') You're trying to put me in a corner like that guy on Triple J did."


When Annie still doesn't take the bait, Casey Serin becomes contemptuous and his demeanor shifts to a sense of "you're such a peon you could never understand such complex doings." See for yourself:

"ANNIE
No, I'm not putting you in a corner, I'm asking you a very simple question, and the question is, last week--

CASEY
(interjects) Of course, very simple to you!

ANNIE
(continues) You made two thousand dollars, and then, where, what day did you put that money in the bank? What day did the money clear? And then, what--

CASEY
(interrupts, exasperated) Annie, what am I gonna do, give an accounting of every minute and every little dollar I spent? I mean, come on. I'm telling you what I did, you don't believe me, you're trying to trip me up somehow, what's the point of this?

ANNIE
I'm not trying to trip you up--

CASEY
(irritated) Honestly, honestly, you don't believe me! You wouldn't continue asking me if you believed me. You simply don't believe me, which is fine, just say it like that.

ANNIE
Well I don't believe you! And how can anybody believe you? (forges on despite Casey's 'There you go!') You're not giving me or anybody else a straight answer. If you want us to believe you, then you've got to say something that's useful.

CASEY
Well look, look, I'm not looking at everything, all the figures in front of me right now, I'm telling you what I did. I don't have the exact hours, and minutes, and dollar figures in front of me right now. So I'm telling you what was done, you don't believe me because you think I'm lying, or this and that... but I mean, clearly, that's fine. You asked your questions--

ANNIE
Well you! You have a history of lying. You have a history of--

CASEY
(chuckling) Alright, alright, fine. Yes, I'm a criminal, right, I'm a scam-- I'm a fraud, I'm a conman, yeah, what else am I?"


Finally, Casey Serin's frustration throws his own game off, and he reveals his sense of entitlement, in a couple of sentences that suggest "I'm smarter and better than you, and good things will come my way because I deserve that to happen."

"ANNIE
I wouldn't say that, but going back to the begathon, you begged people and asked people to pay for your, you know, CashCall, 'cause they were calling--

CASEY
Yeah! And that pisses you off because I'm able to do that! What is wrong with me giving a service for money? Nothing! It's business! It's business."


This is a pattern of manipulation that we've seen time and time again with Casey Serin. First, deflect--make a joke out of a serious topic, then laugh along with it. If that doesn't work, shift into mirror questions in the hope the other party takes the bait and starts talking about him/herself. Combine that with some half-right reflexives to get the other party back on the same page with you.

Round three is to play the victim, asking the other party why they continue to persecute with the repeated line of questioning. And the final straw is to walk away, stating that "you just don't understand" because the topic at hand is obviously too complex for the questioning party to grasp.

And I've always had a vague sense that I'd seen it somewhere before. In reading Caseypedia's excellent transcript of the fraudcast, it finally occurred to me what the missing link most likely is. It's something that I first picked up on when reading through the nightmarish quagmire of Casey Serin's del.icio.us bookmarks, which showed that he was reading up on "How To Read People for Profit."

Since this post is already pretty long, see the next post for the answer...

6 comments:

Sprezzatura said...

Sweet! First and Murst!

Nigel's Guest Blogger said...

Great post... the funniest thing I noticed was how he was doing his verbal SEO, dropping all the haterbaiting.... when LossMIT called, that all went to hell, he tried to regroup at one point... but then gave up

Akubi said...

Perfect summary of Casey's tactics!

wagga said...

Your are two magnificent women - meaning Aspeth & Annie.

And this is a test of my new blogger identity, too.

Aspeth said...

Thanks, Wagga. I'll try not to get a nosebleed from the elevation on this pedestal.

Looks like your profile link works. Now we know where to find you!

OneOfTheLurkerz said...

Sometimes Casey pretends not to hear the speaker, especially when faced with a really tough question. It happens several times in his last talkcast.