Published Aug 02, 2007Mike and Andy fly to a textiles conference in Finland representing the almighty WTO (World Trade Organization). They call for the re-introduction of slavery and unveil "the management leisure suit," which carries a giant phallus that Western CEOs wear to send electroshocks to punish their lazy Third World slaves. No one in the audience questions them. At a university lecture in Plattsburgh, NY, Mike and Andy propose a solution to global starvation: recycle human waste into McDonald’s hamburgers. The 200 horrified students curse and threaten them. Later, Mike, Andy and their "colleagues" issue a press release announcing the disbanding of the WTO, which alarms MP John Duncan of Vancouver Island North in the House of Commons.
These are the Yes Men, a group of American prankster/activists and also the focus of a hilarious film by the makers of the acclaimed American Movie. Called "trash" by one George W. Bush, the Yes Men impersonate WTO reps at public meetings, on TV, and run a satirical website, www.gatt.org, that is mistaken for the real thing. At the core of the Yes Men are Mike Bonanno and Andy Bichlbaum, who attracted so many official invites from trade conferences and media outlets to speak that they took their show on the road, posing as the WTO’s Hank Hardy Unruh and Granwyth Hulatberi. With a handful of co-conspirators making fake IDs and buying thrift-shop suits, The Yes Men have been shocking unwitting audiences with the worst aspects of global free trade.
Filmmakers Chris Smith, Sarah Price and Dan Ollman never question the politics of their subjects and obviously side with their ideals. While this will infuriate rightwingers, others will revel in the sheer nerve of The Yes Men, who espouse the most extreme aspects of free-market economics in a perfect deadpan. Like Michael Moore (Bowling For Columbine), The Yes Men understand that those who control the humour win public sympathy. (Yes Men Films)