FORWARD BASE B

"Pay my troops no mind; they're just on a fact-finding mission."

The Yes Men Troll Big Business

Consider the “SurvivaBall.” This is a fake survival suit, built by the Yes Men but presented as a new product from Halliburton. This is an inflated padded globe completely containing a human body, and round as a beach ball. Obviously, if you fell over, you’d have no way to stop yourself from rolling, or be able to stand up on your own. There’s a closable face opening, air filters, little extendable gloves and a port that, unless I miss my guess, is intended for extra-suit urination. It comes with the big red Halliburton trademark.

In the post-9/11 paranoia, the Yes Men seriously pitch this invention at a conference for the security industry. Study the faces in the audience. No one is laughing. People look bored or perhaps mildly curious. There isn’t a look of incredulity in the room. The few questions are desultory. Not a single security “expert” seems to suspect a hoax.

Experts in the news business are no more suspicious. The Yes Men faked a BBC interview during which a “spokesman for Dow Chemical” announced a multibillion-dollar payment to the victims of a notorious 1985 explosion at a Union Carbide insecticide factory in Bhopal, India, that killed 8,000, injured many more and spread poisons that cause birth defects to this day.

Think of that. Twice as many dead as on 9/11, we know exactly who did it and Dow (which absorbed Union Carbide) has never paid a dime of reparation. At the news it was finally settling the suit, Dow Chemical’s stock price plunged on Wall Street: Things like this could cost money. The Yes Men were unmasked as the hoaxers. Link

MJ: How did you become the Yes Men?

Mike: I founded the Barbie Liberation Organization. Just before Christmas of ’93, we bought a bunch of Teen Talk Barbie dolls and talking G.I. Joes, switched their voice boxes, and then snuck them back into stores. When people opened them on Christmas Day, they found Barbies saying things like, “Dead men tell no lies.” And coming out of the G.I. Joes were things like, “I love to shop with you!”—which was kind of shocking coming out of a G.I. Joe. It should have been just as shocking coming out of a Barbie.

Andy: I was a programmer, and I inserted these kissing boys into a video game; 80,000 copies got shipped to store shelves, and it became a big media brouhaha. It became obvious that this was an interesting way to get media attention for causes.

MJ: Tell me about your work for the “Bush/Cheney” campaign.

Mike: Last summer we traveled around trying to represent the Bush campaign more honestly than they represent themselves. We asked people to sign the Patriot Pledge.

Andy: Part of the pledge was volunteering to pollute as much as you possibly could. We even got people to pledge their support of global warming as a weapon. You know, global warming might upset the global weather system so there will be a new ice age that will freeze over Europe, leaving America relatively intact. We went around saying that we should look at it as a bonus, and just pollute more and more.

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