The Yes-Men got international coverage when one of them impersonated a spokesman for Dow Chemicals and announced a multi-billion dollar compensation settlement for the people of Bhopal. Now they have a new movie out in the US and the UK.
It was the latest in a long line of politically inspired hoaxes targeting the World Bank, GATT and other global institutions. This time they managed to fool BBC Radio news. “We wish it had been Fox TV, but they couldn’t give a damn about Bhopal” said Yes Men spokesman Mike Bonanno.
In London to promote their new book, they told me how anyone could be a Yes Man, on a local scale. So if your elected officials are in league with developers, or the local newspaper editor is in the same branch of the freemasons, this is what you might want to do, as advised by the Yes Men:
1. Figure out how to satirize your target — Is it by impersonating them as you think they are, or as you would wish them to be? So in the Dow Chemicals hoax, the Yes Men considered issuing a fake press release in which “Dow” argued why the people of Bhopal were undeserving of help. But in the end they settled for making the statement they wished Dow would make. (The chemical company responded by issuing a denial). You will need to do research to establish which individual or group is most in need of criticism or a satirical lambasting. Pose as a journalist and go interview your target to uncover more dirt. Most local bullies are too vain to check up.
2. Identify your opportunity. Set a trap. Perhaps put up a fake web site — that was what spoofed the BBC into their interview. Look out for a private meeting, charity event or luncheon you can infiltrate. You could start a petition apparently put out by your target. There are any number of possibilities.
3. Make sure the event gets publicity. The life-blood of political activism, the oxygen of opposition, is public attention. Whatever you achieved when you set your trap has to be publicized via a press release. Better still is when you get the media to publish an interview, but you then still need to publicize the fact that you successfully spoofed the media into falling for your scheme, because that will get more publicity for your cause than the original event.
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