Thursday, November 13, 2008


That's the headline of the New York Times, anyway. It turns out thousands of remarkable facsimiles of the newspaper were delivered this morning--nationwide--stunning readers with the news that the war was over. The paper also reported that Bush had been indicted for treason, and that columnist Thomas Friedman had confessed: "I have no business holding a pen, at least with intent to write."

The Yes Men: high concept anti-corporate pranksters

As far as we can tell, the parody is the work of brilliant satirists and pro-consumer pranksters, The Yes Men. You may have seen the 2003 film of the same name documenting their exploits (if not, I highly recommend it). These guys frequently pose as corporate or government spokesmen and lobby for shocking anti-consumer projects--and get the full support of the unwitting profit-seekers of the private sector. It's best to see for yourself. These guys have elevated guerrilla theater to an art form.

Jonathan Swift: don't believe him either

Original Yes Man Jonathan Swift punked the entire English-speaking world with his book--pamphlet, really--A Modest Proposal. In the essay, Swift eloquently, reasonably, suggested that Ireland's poor escape their poverty by selling their children as food to the rich:

"I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London, that a young healthy child well nursed is at a year old a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food...”

The Yes Men documentary trailer

Watch these clips of their exploits. It's amazing how far they get! Like the secret agents in Mission Impossible (the television series) a suit and an official-looking letterhead seems to grant them complete access.

BBC: You've been punked!

The Yes Men proposing slavery...well, sort of

YES MEN links:

-Read their answers to "frequently asked questions" here.
-Follow their latest hijinks here.
-Get the fake New York Times at the fake Times website here.


Tor Hershman said...

It’s regrettable that The Yes Men’s parody is 100% "Real world" wrong and that mine is, was and shall be, about 00.1% "Real world" incorrect.

Stay on groovin' safari,
Tor Hershman

Bob Rini said...

Tor, thanks for the note. I guess we're only human--or maybe just glorified apes--or should I say Monkees!

A sense of unreality unites you both--too bad the "real" parts of the parody are actual: war, corporate greed, intolerance, torture. Nice work!