Late capitalist comedy

"The Yes Men" sticks it to the powers that be

Claire Joseph

Michael Bonanno and Hank Hardy Unruh are on tour to speak about the World Trade Organization, whether the WTO likes it or not.

“The Yes Men” is a comical documentary about an anti-corporate group whose members, mostly young, privileged, white guys, are doing their own, unique part for the anti-globalization movement.

The group members’ privileges make cynical viewers wonder if their goals are as honorable as they make them seem.

Mainly through the Internet, the Yes Men steal identities of corporations that they feel are immoral.

The goal of the Yes Men is to seek publicity and to advocate ridiculous positions on behalf of these allegedly immoral corporations. The group hopes their parody will make the public realize the true nature of these companies.

The film centers on the Yes Men’s work targeting the WTO. The Yes Men create a Web site that claims to be an official WTO Web site. Although the two sites contain entirely different messages, their layouts and structure are almost identical.

Many gullible visitors to the fake site believe it is an official WTO site and the Yes Men are invited to various conventions to speak on behalf of the organization.

In their satirical speeches, the activists advocate ludicrous positions on behalf of the WTO.

For example, they argue that the Civil War effort to abolish slavery was unnecessary, and that the United States would be better off today with slaves. They also promote a gold spandex outfit with an erect, phallus-shaped extension. This extension houses a TV monitor which allows American employers to watch their outsourced employees at far-away locations.

The Yes Men also advocate a phony WTO plan to end world hunger. McDonald’s would recycle the excrement of people who eat their hamburgers. Then, the recycled product would be served to people in third-world countries.

Even though the Yes Men’s efforts seem like a rich-man’s game, it is clear that they believe they are working for the betterment of the country and the planet. But trying to undermine the power of the world’s largest corporations is a colossal task.

“The Yes Men” closes on a less humorous note. The world may be in trouble, it avers, but “the future is bright for the Yes Men.”