It’s a Con

I tried watching Inventing Anna on Netflix but I didn’t get farther than a few minutes of the first episode. I think it already said all that we need to know about Anna. Given that, I don’t suppose this will really be a spoiler for anyone who haven’t seen it and is still thinking of seeing it.

Her story is, I suppose, well known. Girl invents Anna and defrauds people in the process. She is a conman (conperson), like Bernie Madoff. She has a scheme and tries to let it fly. Bernie was more successful there because he actually made it run until the global financial crisis in the late 2000s. Anna was no different. Just less successful.

The series appears to imply that there is more to her. Really? I don’t think so. She is a criminal that got caught. Plain and simple. Could it have been anyone else? Of course but it wasn’t. Like Bernie, she had a plan and tried to make a go of it. Are we suppose to think that she actually thought this was a good idea and feel sorry for her and tell her “the end does not justify the means?” Don’t get me wrong, as a human being, Anna and Bernie should be seen as having that thing we call human dignity. Everyone has it, even the worst of us. Will that change how we judge what they did? Personally, I think not.

I suppose we should also ask how she got away with it and the short answer is because they (the early victims) let her. Her patron whom she milked for around US$400,000, if I remember correctly, did nothing because she says (according to the episode) she was ashamed of having been scammed but she also admitted that she was able to recover her money. With that, she goes silent. Well, there is the alleged gift-threat but she is who she is: someone with connections. Connections that Anna later used. Did the patron warn these connections about Anna? No.

She was also smart. Not Bernie-level smart but capable enough to scam others to a point. She managed to get a financier to listen by accusing him of prejudging her because of her credentials, or lack thereof. How he suddenly disregarded all his concerns, which were in fact valid, just because he was “shamed” was just, sad to say, white privilege in action. She made it look like she had the name and connections and what-not, and all caution just suddenly — whoosh! — out the window. Does that make sense to you? I guess I just don’t know how business is done in the US. She got away with it because they let her. At least Bernie got away with it for as long as he did because people were making money from his scheme…until they didn’t. Anna was all take.

Should I see the other episodes? What for? To see how she tricked other people? Again, what for? Trying to give her a backstory just doesn’t help. It’s all a scam. In fact, the journalist’s manner of getting her story, at least, from the little I saw, was in itself like a scam. Putting pressure on the people she wanted to interview. Going for pain points to get them to talk. Just like a conman.

So, the series may just be a scam to get us to watch it, and in the end, shout “damn, I’ve been scammed!” Maybe I just saved myself from falling for it.