We love the Yes Men and we love the way they adaptively reuse, for good, the stolen identities of some of the biggest bastards on the planet.
Andy of the Yes men once appeared before a Sydney accountancy conference as a World Trade Organisation representative to announce a new direction. As they explained….
The World Trade Organisation has finally understood that corporate globalization is hurting the little guy; it has therefore to shut down completely. After that, Andy explains, the WTO will re-launch as a new organizationâ€”the Trade Regulation Organizationâ€”devoted, as its name suggests, to making corporations behave responsibly towards all world citizens, not just the wealthy.
The accountants rally behind the plan with excitement. They are authentically thrilled at this radical new direction the WTO is taking. At the luncheon, some of them give suggestions for insuring that the new organization will serve the poor rather than only the rich. It is very clear that these accountants want to help the poor as much as we do.
Could it be that the violent and irrational consensus gripping the world, that we call corporate globalization, is maintained only through a sustained and strenuous effort of faith? Could it be that almost everyoneâ€”even those, like accountants, that we are usually inclined to think of as conservativeâ€”would immediately embrace a more humane consensus if one were presented by those in positions of authority?
We particularly liked their story of collecting signatures in support of George Bush (and John Howard’s) policy of increasing greenhouse gases while turning the US into a fortress to keep the starving hordes out. Only one person realised they weren’t serious…
During the three hours or so we walked around with our clipboards, there was only one person who understood that we couldn’t possibly be serious. We approached him because he was clean-cut and well-dressed, just the type we imagined might be a Republican. He immediately saw through our charade and joined in. His jovial political banter made it clear he had thought things through, knew the difference between Clean Air and “Clear Skies,” and knew exactly how to pull someone’s legs.
Then he explained to us and our camera that he was mentally ill and homeless, and that he was dressed up in order to deal with some administrative issue. He signed our petition with a big flourish, to be part of the joke.
When the only person who understands the full insanity of our government’s positions is supposedly insane, what kind of reality are we living in?
Indeed! And you can even join them!