Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The Yes Men and other Activist Crud



I'm less of what you'd call an 'activist' and more of what is generally referred to as a 'passivist,' or 'someone who kinda just lets stuff happen to him and/or watches stuff happen to other people.' But I love reading about the exploits of kooky activists like The Yes Men, who came out with this documentary a few years back that is just freaking hilarious.

In short, these guys made a website that many international organizations mistook for the official website of the World Trade Organization (WTO). In effect, through their website, they were empowered with the credibility to impersonate flesh-and-blood WTO personnel at several economic conferences, and on CNN. The disturbing part is, no matter how outrageously they misrepresented the WTO (by, among other things, claiming that they had developed a device to control their Third-World sweatshop workers remotely through the usage of a gigantic golden schlong), they were not sniffed-out as impostors.

What's even cooler is that Mike Bonanno, one of the Yes Men, is actually the creator of the Barbie Liberation Organization (see their PDF about how to switch voice-chips in kids' dolls here), a pioneering culture-jamming project from the 90's which is documented in Sonic Outlaws, which I can't find on DVD anywhere, just on crummy VHS.

Anyway, if you like the above stuff (which I highly recommend renting or looking into), you should check also out Adbusters magazine. And if wanna be all old-school about it, you can participate in the 2005 National Buy Nothing Day, which is coming up on November 25. Now that's my kinda activism -- where you do something by not doing something. Kinda like Shabbos...

2 Comments:

At 4:40 PM, November 16, 2005, Blogger barseff said...

YES men are hilarious. my co-worker played me the CNN Bhopal disaster interview last year.

 
At 9:06 AM, November 17, 2005, Blogger MC Aryeh said...

when you are a freelance writer, almost everyday is buy nothing day. kind of loses its charm...

 

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