|THE YES MEN
Back when the World Trade Organization (WTO) was preparing the controversial GATT agreement to further liberalize trade, two mischievous men reserved the domain www.gatt.org. There, they published a web site which looked just like the WTO site. Only on a closer look, visitors would find the site contained subtle criticisms of the organization.
Some visitors never took the trouble to look closely. And that’s how it happened that organizers of conferences seeking a speaker from the WTO mistakenly found the gatt.org site and contacted The Yes Men. The Yes Men accepted the invitation, bought themselves pin stripe suits at a charity shop and went to speak in name of the WTO. Their speeches were designed to show their audience the true nature of the organization. So the WTO representative might propose a plan to further exploit the poor, or to make votes for sale on the free market. Surprisingly, every time their audience would applaud and compliment the speakers.
And so The Yes Men took it a step further each time, stretching the limits of their audience’s acceptance. On one occasion Yes Man Andy removed his pin stripe suit and stood on the podium in a tight gold costume with an enormous blow-up phallus. The phallus had a screen at the end on which a First World business man might surveil his Third World employee to make sure the employee was working hard enough.
On another occasion, during a press conference, The Yes Men announced that the WTO had decided to disband after serious criticism, and transform itself into an organization devoted to helping the poor. The news traveled the world. In the Canadian parliament, questions were asked about what to do now that the WTO had ceased to exist.
The Yes Men made a movie about their work that came out a few years ago, much increasing their fame worldwide. This year their second movie is expected. It includes more amazing pranks, such as the time that Andy gave an interview on the BCC as a spokesperson for Dow Chemical, claiming the company would be paying damages to the victims of the Bhopal disaster. It also will show the latest prank, in which the Yes Men spoke at a major oil industry conference in the name of Exxon, suggesting that human beings will become an interesting source of fuel once climate change kills most of us.