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The Yes Men Fix the World – Movie Review

February 8, 2010

I just came back from watching a very entertaining, and at the same time, very inspiring film. The Yes Men Fix the World made me laugh and made me think about what people can do to confront power.

The Yes Men, for those who are not familiar with them, are two guys who engage in a form of street theater, where the often pose as corporate or government spokespersons and present proposals they would like these centers of power to enact.

In The Yes Men Fix the World they create a fake website for Dow Chemical and then get invited by the BBC for an interviewed based on the website. On this fake website the Yes Men claim that Dow Chemical, which bought out Union Carbide, will now pay out $12 billion dollars to the thousands of people who have suffered from the chemical accident in Bhopal, India in 1984. The BBC took them seriously and this announcement was news worldwide even after it was discovered that this was a staged action.

The film looks at several instances in recent years where the Yes Men have fooled people in power or news agencies by passing themselves off as representatives of big oil or the US government. The actions are well thought out and very creative.

More importantly, the film challenges the fundamental tenets of free market capitalism. The Yes Men present the audience with a critique of the economic philosophy, and the idea that markets make us free. As part of the documentary, they go an interview several “experts” from economic think tanks (like the American Enterprise Institute and the CATO Institute) to get their take on the importance of the free market.

In many ways this film is an artist version of an analysis of the free market system that Naomi Klein provides in her groundbreaking book, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. The Yes Men take one of the lessons learned from Klein’s book and expose the hypocrisy of the private sector in collaboration with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD was working in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina to demolish public housing and turn over property to private contractors to build more upscale housing.

Overall, The Yes Men Fix the World is a well-produced film that will make you laugh out loud and inspire you to challenge power. The film will be showing 3 more times in Grand Rapids this week at the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts (UICA) – Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 5pm. If you have a chance to see it we highly recommend it.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Doug Burkholder permalink
    February 8, 2010 2:07 am

    Its a must see 4 me , at some point anyway

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