The June issue of Smithsonian magazine features a profile of Ricky Jay, magician, author, and collector of odd antiquities. I'm fascinated not only by Jay's unparalleled talent as a prestidigitator, but also his insatiable curiosity for the wonderful, obscure, and strange--from the freaks and fringe-dwellers featured in his newsletter/book Jay's Journal of Anomalies to his comprehensive knowledge of old-time grifts and scams. From the Smithsonian article:
“The idea of crime based on wit is kind of wonderful,” Jay told me. “There’s not much admirable in a guy who comes at you with a gun and says, ‘Give me your money.’ But a guy who makes you sign a piece of paper, and then you find out you’ve bought the Brooklyn Bridge—the con is enormously appealing. And it’s theatrical. The con—the big con, especially—is an entire theatrical orchestration for an audience of one. It’s both lovely and diabolical at the same time.”Link
David Pescovitz is Boing Boing's co-editor/managing partner. He's also a research director at Institute for the Future. On Instagram, he's @pesco.