In a world where endless information is literally a few keystrokes away, it’s encouraging to know that even the most careful robber barons can still be duped. That’s what the Yes Men have been proving for the past decade, as they gallivant around the globe, posing as industry experts to deliver hilariously satirical sermons to roomfuls of corporate characters and, at least in one case, millions of clueless television viewers. The men—namely Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno—have released two films, including last year’s hit, The Yes Men Save the World. They bring their antics to UCSB’s Campbell Hall on Friday, October 15, at 8 p.m. For tickets and info, call 893-3535 or visit artsandlectures.sa.ucsb.edu. For some examples of what Bichlbaum and Bonanno generally say no to, read on below.
1. Dow Chemical: As part of the hoax with the widest audience, Bichlbaum got himself on the BBC impersonating a Dow Chemical representative during the 20th anniversary of the Bhopal disaster in India, in which thousands died and more than 120,000 were left ill when a Union Carbide pesticide plant exploded. He claimed that Dow was going to give $12 billion to the survivors, causing the company’s stock to drop by $2 billion in a mere two hours.
2. ExxonMobil: Sneaking into a Canadian oil conference, the men pretended to be from Exxon as they delivered a speech that called North America’s energy policies “disastrous.” They then offered a solution: Vivoleum, a fuel made from the billions of people who would die due to the resulting climate change. Security escorted them away after they lit a Vivoleum candle.
3. New York Times and New York Post: In two separate 2009 pranks, the Yes Men released thousands of fake editions of these two newspapers. They exchanged the Times traditional tagline for “All the news we hope to print” and published such headlines as “Iraq War Ends” and articles where George W. Bush accuses himself of treason. For the Post, they printed the headline “We’re Screwed” the day before the United Nations was to meet on climate change, and followed it up the next day by introducing the supposedly Halliburton-designed SurvivaBall, a bubblized living apparatus.