ShareThis Page
Home

'Yes Men' is wasted effort

| Friday, Oct. 15, 2004

Successful before the 2000 presidential election at creating an anti-Bush Web site that looked like the genuine George W. Bush Web site, two guys calling themselves The Yes Men moved on to a more elaborate scheme.

To discredit the World Trade Organization (WTO), whose corporate globalization they oppose, the Yes Men, who also call themselvesAndy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno, set up another parody Web site, substituting their own contact information.

"The Yes Men" is their filmed-as-it-happened chronicle of being invited, usually with cameras in tow, to lecture under false pretenses.

In one instance, we follow them to Finland in 2001 for a Textiles of the Future conference at which one appears under the name Hank Hardy Unruh and defends slavery in Third World countries.

After reading his lecture, he strips off a business suit to reveal a gold lame suit accented by a huge phallus called an Employee Visualization Appendage upon which the wearer can view a surveillance video.

The underlying joke is that most of their presentations are presented so dryly in corporate-speak that the audience -- too bored, bewildered or courteous to question or challenge the speaker -- applauds perfunctorily at the conclusion.

Time and again, no one gets the joke, much less its politically charged subtext.

The Yes Men intend to have fun at the expense of the WTO and those attending its conferences and to discredit the WTO, thereby achieving a political objective.

But in providing no balanced information on the WTO and very little on what they hope to accomplish, their charades play like "Candid Camera" segments that no one gets or cares about for reasons no one articulates.

As "The Yes Men" drones on with its threadbare production values and congratulatory tone, it leaves all too much time to wonder whether the effort might not have been expended more productively joining the Peace Corps, working in soup kitchens or tending the elderly.

But where's the big-screen self-approbation in such genuine achievements•

Additional Information:

Details

'The Yes Men'

Director: Chris Smith, Dan Ollman, Sarah Price

Stars: Mike Bonanno, Andy Bichlbaum

MPAA rating: R for language

Now playing: Squirrel Hill Theater

One star

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me