The standard definition of grift is something like, "acquiring someone else's property through fraud, deception, dishonesty or misrepresentation," and if you need an example of flat-out, bald-faced grift, look no further than "Pastor" Artur Pawlowski and the ridiculously-choreographed theatre that he and Rebel News' Ezra Levant have honed to a fine art. It is breathtaking. Here, take a walk with me.
Steel yourself and pop over here, where it takes only a few seconds to appreciate the utterly magnificent con game Rebel News and "Pastor Art" are running on the rubes. Yes, Pastor Art is being arrested again, I'm sure for good reason since he is a perpetual lawbreaker, but it takes only a few seconds for the grift to kick in so pay attention.
In preparation for cuffing Pawlowski, the police officer in the clip can be heard clearly giving Pastor Art the instructions, "Put your hands behind your back, away from your back." If you didn't catch that the first time, go back and listen again. The instructions are clear -- "Put your hands behind your back ..."
Naturally, being the carefully-coached drama queen and con man that he is, Pastor Art instead puts his hands behind his head, because he knows he's being filmed and this makes for far more dramatic video. But the contrived theatre gets so much better.
As soon as Pastor Art does this, you can see clearly the officer saying, "No, behind your back, away from ...", at which point the meticulously Ezra Levant-coached Pawlowski takes it to the next level of Kabuki theatre and drops to his knees, screaming that he will do anything as long as the officer does not kill his wife and children. (OK, I might be making that last part up, but really, would it surprise you at this point?)
In any event, the officer is now further caught off-guard by Pawlowski's bizarre behaviour, and tells Pawlowski to stand up, whereupon Pawlowski, knowing precisely the role he is playing for the sake of the camera and all the rancid clickbait to follow, remains resolutely on his knees, because, you know, Ezra Levant.
It's all so precious, the totally contrived drama that Pawlowski is now a part of, playing to the camera and knowing that the subsequent outrage is going to be used for nothing more than frantic fundraising underneath a caption reading something like, "Pastor Art slammed bodily to airport tarmac by police thugs!"
It's all so depressingly predictable.
Did I mention the typical definition of "grift?" Yeah, I think I did.
P.S. Send money.
P.P.S. If you want to know how long Pastor Art and Rebel News have been running this con game, recall that I wrote about exactly this scam way back in May.
Yeah, I'm that good.
AND THE LIES KEEP COMING: Here's Rebel News, insisting it's an absolute mystery why Pastor Art was arrested:
And here's Pastor Art's lawyer, knowing exactly why:
The grift never ends.
BONUS TRACK: It's worth asking how much money has been hoovered up to make a small group of lawyers terrifically rich by defending one person -- just one person. Based on the number of court appearances and relentless fundraising, a back-of-the-napkin calculation suggests that some $400,000-$500,000 has been collected for the sole purpose of rallying around one "Pastor Art" Pawlowski, and for what exactly? What precisely is at stake here? Ah, here we go:
Pause with me to appreciate that what appears to be in the vicinity of a cool half million has been collected and distributed to some lucky lawyers, in order to beat back the potential of ... $17,000 in fines and costs?
Let that sink in. Really, let that sink in.
MY EVIL PLAN: If law enforcement wants to know how to deal with "Pastor" Art's sleazy choreographed drama queenism, let me make a suggestion based on his latest performance. As soon as Pawlowski dropped (unasked) to his knees with his hands behind his head for full dramatic effect, the arresting officer should have said, "Um, OK, not what I asked for but if you want to kneel on the tarmac like that, help yourself ... I have all day. No, no, no, don't lower your hands; you put them there, you keep them there. We'll be right here when you decide to stand up and listen to instructions; until then, you stay right there just like that, and we'll be over here, talking about Cowboys/Eagles. Knock yourself out."
I suspect the level of drama of "Pastor Art" kneeling on the tarmac would be somewhat lessened if the arresting officers are some distance away, clearly not paying any attention and just letting Pawlowski make a total ass of himself until he'd had enough.
And, yes, you can steal that idea.