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Bluff The Listener

CHIOKE I'ANSON: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME, the NPR news quiz. I'm Chioke I'Anson, filling in for Bill Kurtis. We're playing this week with Mo Rocca, Shannon O'Neill and Paula Poundstone. And here again is your host at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.


Thank you, Chioke.


SAGAL: Right now, it's time for the WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME Bluff the Listener game. Call 1-888-WAIT-WAIT to play our game on the air.

Hi, you are on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.

ROY KAPLIN: Hi, Peter. This is Roy called from Belfast, Maine.

SAGAL: Belfast, Maine - I know it. What do you do there?

KAPLIN: I'm an anesthesiologist.

SAGAL: You're an anesthesiologist. Oh, that's one of those old-time Yankee professions.


SAGAL: And how long have you been there, Roy?

KAPLIN: About a year.

SAGAL: Only a year. OK. Well, then it'll take a little while before they accept you. Is it difficult to adjust to life in Maine?

KAPLIN: It's just an amazing little town, and I've enjoyed it very much.

SAGAL: Yes. And you enjoy meeting people and then putting them to sleep.


KAPLIN: Making sure they wake up because that's the gratifying part of my job.

SAGAL: I understand.


SAGAL: Well, Roy, it's great to have you with us. You're going to play the game in which you must try to tell truth from fiction. What is the topic, Chioke?

I'ANSON: You can always get what you want.

SAGAL: Yes, in reference to one of Mick Jagger's most famous quotes, right after how the hell is Keith still alive?


SAGAL: This week, we read about a new way to get what you want. Now, our panelists are going to tell you about this amazing technique to make your dreams come true. Pick the one who's telling the truth, and you'll win the WAIT WAITer of your choice on your voicemail. You ready to play?

KAPLIN: I'm ready.

SAGAL: All right. First, let's hear from Paula Poundstone.

PAULA POUNDSTONE: Who among us hasn't wished they lived in a castle? The members of the group Believe in Castles aren't like the rest of us idle wishers, though. They take action. Believe in Castles is a group with a common goal - to acquire a castle through spiritual and mindful means. Founding member Richard Davon (ph) now owns a castle in Denmark.

At a recent meeting in the Binghamton, N.Y. Town Hall following a session of prayer-filled handholding in a circle, a baker's dozen or so members constructed a large paper-mache castle in the center of the room. Some are clad in medieval garb. There are two faux kings, complete with robes and crowns. Edward Buffington (ph) stands out just because he's wearing jeans and a shirt. We're not all the same here. Sure, I want to own a castle, but I don't want to be a king. I'm a software developer. Some of these people are a little nutty, Buffington explained, scratching some hardening paper-mache from his eyebrow. I'm just here because it worked for Richie Davon.

Seasoned member Susan Swamo (ph) wears a cone-shaped tower roof replica on her head. We focus on telecommunicating to the universe that we desire to own a castle, she explains.


POUNDSTONE: There are lots of ways of doing that. For example, I speak with a British accent, but I'm from Waukegan.


POUNDSTONE: The important thing is to just put it out there. I bake castle-shaped cookies, Bundt cakes - any food that I prepare with enough substance to hold a castle shape. I watched all eight seasons of the television show "Castle." I even listened to Carl Kasell for years before I realized he was spelled wrong.


SAGAL: Castle fans trying to get themselves a castle...


SAGAL: ...By imagining castles. Your next story of a new way to get what you want comes from Shannon O'Neill.

SHANNON O'NEILL: Some say meditation is a great way to manifest your dreams. But have you tried screaming?


O'NEILL: Tonya Kenneally (ph), a cognitive therapist from Worcester, Mass., has discovered that you can get anything you want as long as you scream it. It's called the scream method. Are you up for that big promotion? Instead of showing your boss you have what it takes, just go into their office and scream, give me the promotion, Pam (ph). Also, fire Carl (ph). He takes K-Cups home.


O'NEILL: Want to be friends with the cool kids at school? Just scream, I'm going to the party in the woods with you. Please note, I have access to my grandma's medicinal marijuana.


O'NEILL: Preliminary studies show that the scream method is 80% more effective than good, old-fashioned hard work and emotional stability. So next time you want something, just try screaming. You are going to choose this bluff the listener story, Roy, not anyone else's.


SAGAL: Screaming at people gets them to do what you want. And your last story of somebody figuring out a way to make their dreams come true comes from Mo Rocca.

MO ROCCA: Rest assured, Facebook is done corrupting our democracy by placing propaganda in front of millions of eyeballs. Now someone is using Facebook to brainwash us one by one. That's the promise of Elliot Shefler. He's the spokesman for the U.K. startup called The Spinner. For as little as $29, The Spinner will individually target a special someone with content to influence the behavior of an unsuspecting recipient. Say you want to get a hard-partying friend to stop drinking or a nasty co-worker to quit his job, or - most popularly - say you want your spouse to initiate sex. The Spinner's on top of it, so soon your wife will be.


ROCCA: A wife targeted with the initiate sex campaign will be bombarded by articles, including nine ways to initiate sex, why sex is so important to your husband and the importance of sex for a happy marriage. The Spinner is the first business to monetize something called Facebook sniper targeting. And if that doesn't unsettle you, you are too far gone.


SAGAL: All right. So here are your choices. They're all about the way to get what you want. From Paula Poundstone, it involves sitting around envisioning and even modeling - although the thing that you will get is a castle. From Shannon O'Neil, the way to get what you want is just scream your desire at the person you want it from, and they'll automatically give it to you. Or, from Mo Rocca, a service that will create personalized Facebook ads to get the person you want to change to change the way you want them to do it. Which of these is the real story of persuasion in the week's news?

KAPLIN: I will lean in the direction of The Spinner.

SAGAL: You're going to go with Spinner - that's Mo's story about the service that places those Facebook ads.

KAPLIN: Because Mo Rocca rocks, so I'll go with...

SAGAL: He does.


SAGAL: He does. All right, well, to bring you the correct answer, we spoke to one of these people behind this scheme to get you what you want.


ELLIOT SHEFLER: The Spinner is an online service that enables you to influence a specific individual...


SAGAL: That was Elliot Shefler, the COO of The Spinner, which, in fact, targets ads right at one person to brainwash them. Congratulations, Roy. You got it right. You earned a point for Mo Rocca, and you've won our prize - the voice of your choice on your voicemail.

ROCCA: Thank you, Roy.

SAGAL: Thank you so much for playing, Roy.

KAPLIN: You're welcome, Peter.


KAPLIN: It was a pleasure.

SAGAL: Bye-bye, Roy.



STEEL PULSE: (Singing) You can't always get what you want. You can't always get what you want. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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