Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Yes Men

The Yes Men are lead by Mike Bonanno and Andy Bichlbaum. "The Yes Men have created their own Theatre of the Oppressed. They call what they do “Identity Correction”. By posing as spokesmen for these large and flawed organizations, they plant their tongues firmly in their cheeks and highlight what they believe to be the hypocrisies and true motivations behind these companies—the routine placement of profits over people." - Lucidforce.com
The Yes Men make websites that are similar to the original they are makin fun of. Once they create these websites, other corporations exist to believe that they are the real one and therefore attend important events held by other corporations. They portraty that corporations and government organizations have themselves in their best interest.

“What we’d love to see is people using whatever they’re good at for a good cause…The Yes Men Lab is really about spreading our techniques and getting more people doing them—just thinking about different ways of fighting back and getting issues advanced. And figuring out ways to create change, and we lend our experience to that.” Bichlbaum adds, “It’s not necessarily about bigger pranks, but we want to really think about real change. Does what we do create real change? I don’t know, but wherever we go it will be towards that.” - Lucidforce.com

Similar to most culture jammers, they want people to get involved, make awareness, and make a change. The Yes Men want people to know that there is not one way of looking at things. And if you feel differently than the centralized view of issues in society than fight back.

A culture jam that the Yes Men are well known for is the hoax of Dow chemical's refusal to take responsibility for the Bhopal disaster. For those of you who may not know the Bhopal disaster occured on December 2, and 3, 1984 in Bhopal, India. "In the factory of Union Carbide (India) Limited, a chemical reaction had started. At around midnight, this chemical reaction culminated in the leakage of deadly Methyl Isocyanate (MIC) gas from one of the tanks of the factory." Mp.gov This leak killed around 3,000 civilians. Well now that you know what the Bhopal distaster is, one of the Yes Men, impersonated a Dow chemicals spokesperson. While impersonating, one of the Yes Men, on the incidents 20 year anniversary, said that Dow takes full responsibility for the tragedy and stated that there will be a multibillion dollar compensation bundle for the company. You can read an article about it here

As I was reading more and more about the Yes Men, I am wondering what they are doing is legal. Is impersonating illegal? I thought so. It definitely is a form of culture jamming but do they cross the line? I think so. Although, they certainly raise awareness.

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