The managerial leisure suit

October 29, 2006

Andy Bichlbaum presents a new management leisure suit in The Yes Men.  (Photo used with permission of the Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin.)One of the funnier films at the Berlinale was the U.S. documentary The Yes Men, which follows the antics of a group of political activists who impersonate the World Trade Organization (WTO). The Yes Men started by creating the bogus website gwbush.org during George W. Bush’s 2000 election campaign. They quickly moved on to bigger and better things by creating the gatt.org website, which many groups mistook for the WTO’s website. Soon, they were receiving invitations to international conferences (in Austria and Finland) and even television programs (CNBC Marketwrap Europe) to speak on behalf of the WTO. They attended these events posing as WTO representatives, but instead of talking about real policies, they lectured on such ideas as selling votes to the highest corporate bidder, allowing countries to commit human rights abuses with a system of “justice vouchers”, and even combating widespread hunger by making the poor eat “recycled” hamburgers. The film does a great job of showing activists “on the front lines” while making a strong case for their ideological viewpoints, plus its often very funny subject matter was a welcome relief from all of the heavy films shown at the festival. (KG)

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