The Yes Men Fix the World: If Only Capitalism Were This Funny

The anti-globalist performance guys who call themselves the Yes Men are masters of forging corporate rhetoric and media protocols. Their forte is the phony Web site and the fraudulent PowerPoint presentation. This sequel to 2004's The Yes Men continues the saga with the heroes' greatest stunt—one of them going live on BBC World in the guise of a Dow Chemical spokesman to announce that Dow would mark the 20th anniversary of the Bhopal chemical disaster with a $12 billion aid plan for the victims. Dow stock dropped faster than the interviewer's jaw. The BBC, which had taken the bait of a faux Web site, blamed the Yes Men for fooling the poor people of Bhopal into thinking they would get justice. But Fix the World asks the spectator to decide which hoax was crueler—the Yes Men's, which at least directed attention back to Bhopal, or Dow's. The Yes Men enact scenarios, however fleeting, of social justice. But mainly, Fix the World is about the beauty of the riff. The Yes Men are funniest when addressing a straight audience, making outlandish claims in favor of the free market and the benefits of unregulated catastrophe—the Black Plague gave us capitalism! What's fascinating is the spectator reaction (or lack of). Some people laugh or register disgust; others find their outrageously mercenary ideas "refreshing." As one Yes Man explains, "Instead of freaking out, they just took our business cards." People want to believe. (Note: Yes Man Andy Bichlbaum will attend all screenings Fri.–Sun.) 

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