Sunday, June 27, 2021

Someone thinks I am a fine artist! Why?

A while back I got an  email asking me to submit to a Fine Arts Journal. Why me? Here are some possibilities:

1) They were impressed with my play: 

Sure he created the universe, but would he get Tenure? (see here) which did get into a play-writing contest and was performed (one of the actresses  scolded me since I took a slot from a real playwright).

2) They were impressed  with my Daria Fan Fiction (see the four entries here labelled as Daria Fan Fiction).

3) They were impressed with my play JFK: The Final chapter (see here). Unlikely since this was rejected by a play writing contest and is not well known (as opposed to my other works in the fine arts which are well known?)

4) They were impressed with my collection of satires of  Nobel Laureate Bob Dylan (here) .

5) They were impressed with some subset of (a) complexityblog, (b) Problems with a Point,  (c)  Mathematical Muffin Morsels, and (d) Bounded Queries in Recursion Theory. Or maybe just having 3 books on amazon is their threshold.  If it's complexityblog then Lance and I should co-author something for them.

6) It is a vanity-journal where you pay to  publish. So why email me who (a)  is not an artist, (b) is  not a fine artist, and most important (3) does not think of himself as a fine artist. The PRO of emailing me or people like me is they cast a wide net. The CON is--- there is no CON! It costs nothing to email me, and emailing me does not affect their credibility. That still raises the question of how they got my name.

7) Could it be a phishing? If I click on something in the email would they  get my credit card number? Their email begins Dear Professor not  Dear Professor Gasarch.   So they know I am a professor. Then again, I have known of ugrads who get emails that begin Dear Professor. (The emails to HS student Naveen and ugrad Nichole in the story I tell here were addressed to Dear Professor.) 

8) They mistook me for my parents who, in 1973,  put together an anthology of short stories titled Fiction:The Universal elements,  for a Freshman Comp course my mom taught, see here. I note that their book ranks around 18,000,000, so even that explanation is unlikely. Actually the rank changes a lot- it was 12,000,000 this morning. Still, not what one would call a best seller. It's fun to see what is doing better: Bounded Queries in Recursion Theory (currently at around rank 6.000.000)  or Fiction: The Universal Elements.

 If I ever get one of these emails from a History Journal I will submit my Satirical Ramsey Theory and the History of Pre-Christian England: An Example of Interdisciplinary Research (see here) just to see what happens- but  I will stop short of paying-to-publish. Or maybe I will pay-to-publish so that the next time I try to fool a class with it I can point to a seemingly real journal which has the article. 


  1. An interesting perspective on a related topic "Why do Nigerian Scammers Say They are from Nigeria?":

  2. That is interesting. So, you mom was a CS pioneer?!
    How did this influence your decision of majoring in CS?
    On a different note, I doubt over analyzing why you got that
    email is healthy ... most likely their algo picked your email
    for mostly random reasons, based on the fact that your last name
    matched with some things in their database or it could have been entirely random, or a combination of the fact that you have
    written a lot of, on various topics.

    1. Read more carefully- my mom and my dad had a book that was an anthology of short stories. They are not CS or math people.
      For more on my upbringing see this post

      I agree that the reasons I got the email are more random than my post indicates. Still fun to think about, but not dwell on. I got a blog post out of it and I got to tell my readers about some of my fiction!

    2. :) Thanks. I tried to read between the lines but
      hoped that they indeed were CS folks with additional ventures in literature!