The Yes Men: The True Story of the End of the World Trade Organization
This is the companion book to The Yes Men, a United Artists movie. It follows two anti-corporate activist-pranksters as they impersonate the World Trade Organization on TV and at business conferences around the world.
The story begins with Andy and Mike setting up a website that looks just like that of the World Trade Organization. Some visitors don’t notice the site is a fake, and send e-mail invitations meant for the real WTO. Mike and Andy play along with the ruse and soon find themselves attending important functions as WTO -representatives.
Delighted to speak as the organization they oppose, Andy and Mike don thrift-store suits and set out to shock their unwitting audiences with darkly comic satires on global free trade. Weirdly, the experts don’t notice the joke and seem to agree with every terrible idea the two can come up with.
Exhausted by their failed attempts to shock, Mike and Andy change their strategy completely, and take a whole new approach for one final lecture.
The book is lavishly illustrated in full color throughout, featuring photographs of Mike and Andy getting deeper and deeper into their assumed identities. Also liberally dispensed are many of the hilarious e-mail exchanges between the Yes Men and various officials and individuals around the world who have asked their advice on issues of world trade.
The Yes Men are global authorities on “Identity Correction,” the art of impersonating big-time criminals in order to publicly humiliate them. Their high-profile targets have included George Bush, who responded to their imposture by saying “there ought to be limits to freedom” and The World Trade Organization, who called them “deplorable.” The Yes Men currently have thousands of job openings.
Multinational corporations have many enemies but few as creative and funny as the Yes Men. In 1993, Mike Bonanno made news by switching the voice boxes of Barbie and G.I. Joe dolls and returning them to store shelves. In 1996, Andy Bichlbaum made a splash by programming kissing, swimsuit-clad men into 80,000 copies of an action video game. When the two met, a collaboration was born. In 1999, they created a Web site parodying that of the World Trade Organization (WTO).Though the WTO denounced the spoof site, and though its creators felt the satire was self-evident, legitimate speaking invitations began arriving by e-mail. Undaunted, the Yes Men donned thrift-store suits and went where they’d been asked, posing as WTO spokemen and making outrageously callous statements. Their audiences were unfazed, prompting the Yes Men to raise the stakes again and again. This lavishly illustrated paperback is funny and chilling, the perfect coffee-table book for the kind of people who don’t own coffee tables. Now, if only it hadn’t been printed in Mexico. Keir Graff
Publisher: The Disinformation Company
Release Date: 2004