> Volume 6 > Number 22


Chris Smith
Sarah Price
Dan Ollman

Andy Bichlbaum
Mike Bonanno

Release: N/A

The Yes Men


The Yes Men are Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno, a pair of free market activists who’ve had such an impact that George W. Bush has called the “trash.” Even if they’ve been on the news many times, their scams still remain mostly uncaught. These are a collection of insane stories from appearances at symposiums and talking heads shows, all built around making completely absurd statements for the World Trade Organization to make the place seem inhumane (which they consider it to be). As a couple of the smarter people in the early days of the Internet, they grabbed up (the WTO comes from the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade), and made it look like an official WTO splash page with links to crazy (but still somewhat believable) assertions on trade.

While I’m not quite the economic liberal that the film speaks to, I was entertained by the hoaxes these two guys bring to unsuspecting audiences. What’s even more amazing is when comparing the way people react to them: a forum audience in Norway completely accepts a plan that essential brings back slavery through jumpsuits equipped with a huge phallus, but a group of college students question their idea to recycle human waste to sell cheaper McDonalds burgers in the Third World.

Though their online numbers are probably great, their full affect is fairly negligible. Chris Smith, the filmmaker behind American Movie, with co-directors Dan Ollman and Sarah Price offer the Yes Men as the economic progressive equivalent to Michael Moore’s cultural progressive. They may seem like the great white hopes for ruining the WTO after fairly unpopular uprisings at the organization’s meetings. They know that shouts and signs have nary the impact as humor

©2004, David Perry,, 28 May 2004