The Yes Men
Anti-corporate pranksters Mike Bonanno and Andy Bichlbaum—the Yes Men—seek “to create public spectacles that reveal something about our culture that’s a problem,” and in this 2004 documentary they take on the World Trade Organization. As their WTO parody Web site is increasingly mistaken for that of the actual WTO, the two take advantage of the opportunity and impersonate WTO executives at a series of international venues to which they are erroneously invited. As lead spokesman, Bichlbaum satirically portrays the WTO’s views to audiences that should be sophisticated enough to detect the joke. Amazingly, they don’t, nor does the mainstream press covering these events. At a presentation on “The Future of Textiles” at a conference in Finland, Bichlbaum goes so far as to lament that slavery wasn’t able to achieve its natural evolution. He then offers a modern take on this institution, ending the presentation with the unveiling of his shiny gold “executive leisure suit,” featuring an inflatable phallic appendage with an eye-level monitor, which allows the busy executive to “manage his sweatshops remotely.” “The future is bright for the Yes Men. … The world is a different story,” says Bonanno. They’re looking for new recruits.