Sunday, October 18, 2015

your credulity and mine

Credulity is a strange and enticing commodity. From merchandising of commercial products to religious fervor -- a strange and enticing commodity.

Now the massive retailer Amazon is suing 1,114 unnamed 'false' reviewers of its products, claiming that the bogus "good reviews" tarnishes their good name.
Amazon is taking legal action against more than 1,000 people it says have posted fake reviews on its website....
Amazon says the 1,114 defendants, termed "John Does" as the company does not yet know their real names, offer a false review service for as little as $5 (£3.24) on the website, with most promising five-star reviews for a seller's products.
It has always marveled me that companies appending "reviews" to their web sites might expect people to believe them. Why would a company append a rotten review? Of course, occasionally they do post negative feedback, but it is almost always overwhelmed by glowing encomiums. Perhaps more surprising is the fact that readers do in fact find credibility in those reviews.

Why? Why would I believe something like Angie's List,  a thriving business that promises to hook homeowners up with reliable craftsmen. The answer -- from plumbing to spiritual need -- is that I want to accomplish something and would prefer not to be bamboozled ... therefore I place my trust in one 'reliable' source or another. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't.

But what is missing from this formula is one salient fact: I can marshal as many facts and reviews as I like, but in the end it is simply my choice, my gut and my responsibility to take this risk. Praising or blaming others runs out of steam: This credulity is mine; there is no sure thing; so cross my fingers and leap into the fray ... my fray.

I'd love to be able to blame you for my credulity -- whether warranted or not -- but in the end, the Anglican theologian Charles Williams was right: "People believe what they want to believe." Pivotal words -- "what they WANT to believe."


  1. One of the doctoral theses I never quite got to was going to be based on the novels of Charles Williams.
    This is not an acute review of your interesting post. It does however says thanks for the memories --- (He is hardly a household word.)

  2. I believe, therefore i'm not sure.