The Yes Men (5/10)
by Tony Medley
Andy and Mike, two
smarmy nobodies, establish their credentials at the outset by revealing
that they had a website, www.gwbush.com, to torpedo George Bush in his
run for the Presidency in 2000. They then amplify their ideology by
including a testimonial from Michael Moore, hardly a paragon of truth.
Then they set up a parody of the World Trade Association website at the
domain GATT.org, that leads people to think they are dealing with the
World Trade Organization.
Essentially, this is
a documentary of two unctuous self-involved guys, viewing themselves as
hotshots, who lie themselves into apparent positions with the World
Trade Organization in order to destroy it. After creating their
deceptive website that dupes people into thinking they actually are
communicating with the WTO, they arrange and/or accept speaking
invitations. When they arrive at the conferences at which they are
scheduled to speak they speak gibberish. For example, at an
international law conference in Austria they proposed a free-market
solution to democracy, auctioning votes to the highest bidder, On the TV
program CNBC Marketwrap Europe, they said there ought to be a
market in human rights abuses. At a textiles conference in Finland, they
unveiled a 3-foot phallus for administering electric socks to sweatshop
employees. And so on.
When people are
polite and accept the absurd things they say without castigating them,
they assume they have fooled everyone.
These two guys are
hateful beyond contempt. They have no compunction about wasting the time
and money of people of good faith and better manners. We are told
nothing about their backgrounds, but there is an inadvertent shot of the
two of them eating a meal in which one has to use a fork. He uses it as
if he had been raised in a barn by hogs. While this might seem
irrelevant, their lack of manners and decorum is symptomatic of the
mindset that could be as rude and inconsiderate as these two are
throughout this film. Just as an example, near the end of the film a
conference in Australia that had scheduled them to speak is cancelled.
They impose upon the conference to exert exceptional efforts to get
people together to hear their presentation, even though what they want
to say, and do, is rubbish.
I saw this in a very
small gathering of film critics. There were five of us. Two of the
others laughed throughout, the kind of laugh that indicates agreement
rather than humor.
At one point Andy
and Mike indicate that Herb Alpert, who founded The Tijuana Brass, and
parlayed that into a fortune by then founding A&M Records, financed
them. If true, Herbie just lost a fan.
Andy and Mike are
nothing more than nihilists, who really believe in nothing but
destruction. They have their equivalent in the imbeciles who create
computer viruses and spread them throughout the world. That anybody
could think what they did in this film might be funny would be a sad
commentary on society. If this film is true, as claimed, and not just
scripted fiction, one wonders why they have not been subjected to
criminal prosecution. When
asked if what they do is illegal, they responded, “Perhaps it is! And
we don’t know!” Although I deplore what these two guys did, and
didn’t think it was funny, I did find it interesting that they could
pull it off.
August 11, 2004