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(Previously: Sam "The Spam" Osborne, the notorious spamillionaire, has improbably represented himself as a philanthropist.)

Time for the interview proper. Did he admit spamming was immoral?

"Spamming? Immoral?" He was amazed. "You’ve seen my operation. I’m providing a public service!"

In what sense, I wondered, was it a public service to send out 10 million emails per day tempting the unfair sex to buy wildly expensive and dubiously effective drugs to enlarge/stiffen their dangly bits?

"You need to understand men, Ms Stob." He leant back in his chair, staring up at the ceiling. "We are inhibited. We are not, to use Californian jargon, 'in touch with our own feelings'. We’d rather die than take these problems to the doctor, much less talk to a friend. An approach by a supposedly random bulk-email message is the only way to overcome the barrier of male bashfulness."

He paused a moment, to let this idea sink in.

"And anyway, our pills are absolutely harmless…"

Absolutely harmless? Did this mean he admitted that his drugs had no effect? Didn’t that make it fraud?

"Not at all. It’s medically proven that erectile dysfunction and size perception problems are nearly always psychological. The best treatment is some kind of placebo. Let a man take a pill and he feels he is doing something – and that’s half way to being cured.

"Yes, you are right: the pills have no intrinsic effect. As you programmers put it, that’s a feature not a bug. They won’t poison the patient if he overdoses in a fit of, um, excitement.’

So why did these sugar pills, or whatever they were, have to cost £35 per bottle? He could hardly claim that he was deferring the cost of expensive medical research.

"It’s the psychological angle again. If it weren’t expensive, it wouldn’t be convincing. The more these men pay for my pills, the more successful the treatment.

"Besides, we have done some research. Our survey has shown that mine is the most successful non-prescription treatment available. Much more successful than the most popular non-prescription treatment."

And what, I wondered, was the most popular non-prescription treatment?

The corners of Mr Osborne’s mouth pursed in disapproval. He put his folded hands on his blotter. He looked like a country solicitor reading out a controversial will where all the money has gone to the black sheep with a gambling habit.

"Putting a bit of talc on it after a shower," he said gruffly.

[To be continued] ®

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