Monday, February 1, 2010

Movie Review: The Yes Men Fix the World

The Yes Men Fix the World **
Directed By:
Andy Bichlbaum & Michael Bonnaro.

Although it seems easy, no one else has ever really been able to pull off the liberal muck raking ways of Michael Moore. Moore is fearless is his confrontations with corporate America, and the government, accusing them of greed, criminal activity and over all just being poor citizens that are ruining his country. You may not agree with him, but he is excellent at what he does. And based on the evidence supplied in The Yes Men Fix the World, it isn’t easy. These two bozos don’t have a clue in what they’re doing.

What the Yes Men do is set up phony websites for big corporations they want to humiliate, and then wait to be invited somewhere to speak. When they do so, they say things that the corporation would not want them to say. For example, they pose as representatives for Dow Chemical, whose subsidiary Union Carbide, was responsible for the largest industrial accident in history. In 1985, their plant in Bhopal, India had a spill that killed 8,000 people, and has adversely affected the area ever since – causing deformities and birth defects that last to this day. So what do these guys do? They go on BBC and announce that Dow Chemical is going to pay $12 billion to fix Bhopal – to finally clean up the mess they made properly, and then provide medical care for the people affected. The result is that Down’s Stock drops in value by almost $2 billion almost immediately, but regains that value when Dow announces that it was a hoax. The only thing this stunt accomplished was to temporarily embarrass Dow Chemical and temporarily affect its stock price. No lasting impact was felt, no changes actually made. Nothing really accomplished.

Most of their other stunts don’t even accomplish that much. They like going to trade shows and posing as big companies to announce a new product or service. For instance, they go to one trade show and announce that they have created a new risk calculator – what it will do is calculate the risk that a corporations action will cause people’s deaths, and then compares it to how much money they are going to make off of the idea. Or, they pose as executives from Exxon and say they have found a new energy source – dead humans. Or, they pose as representatives from Halliburton to promote their new protective suit, that looks like one of those sumo wrestler costume, that are apparently built to withstand any natural or manmade disaster. Or they pose as representatives from HUD and announce at a press conference that they are reopening some of the public housing in New Orleans. Or, they put together some money to print off 100,000 copies of a fake issue of the New York Times, that tells people what the future could be like if they work at it (the headlines include “Iraq War Ends”, “Bush Charged with War Crimes” and “Maximum Wage Law Passed”.

Some of these ideas are clever – others not so much. But they all have one thing in common – they accomplish nothing. They don’t even seem to be able to piss people off as much as Moore does, perhaps because everyone knows when their hoax ends, that no one will actually hear about what they did. What these guys are essentially doing is a corporate version of Punk’d and I have to wonder – what the hell is the point?

1 comment:

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