The Yes Men Fix the World at the Dryden

I left the show a little early to get to the Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) for a screening of The Yes Men Fix the World. I had been aware of some of the … umm … pranks? stunts? performance-art pieces? … created by The Yes Men for some time. I had recorded a segment on Democracy Now! back when I had satellite where they had convinced BBC News that they represented Dow Chemical and wanted to help fix the ongoing disaster created by their then-recently-purchased subsidiary, Union Carbide in Bhopal, India in 1984. The movie goes behind the scenes of how they got on the air and announced that in honor of the 20th anniversary of the disaster, Dow was committing billions of dollars (US$12 billion, if I remember correctly [and indeed, upon reviewing my copy of the interview on Democracy Now!, it was]) to help the people and clean up the site. By the end of the day, the hoax was revealed, and the largest complaint was not that Dow didn't step forward and do what was right and just (i.e. commit resources and fix things) but that the hoax cost Dow shareholders US$2 billion.

And that's essentially what The Yes Men are continually asking: why can't we make a world where corporations do the right thing? Their method of asking that question is to enter situations where they present themselves as members of corporations and announce that they are going to do the right thing.

I spent most of the movie saddened that these pranks never seem to have any effect: corporations continue to do the wrong thing, claiming that the increased profits are worth more than any real benefit.

But then I realized that no one person (or even large a group) can instantly make change. Rather, it is through the constant pressure of good that makes the world better. So when I left, I got on my tall bike (which, believe it or not, I made just over 5 years ago) and realized that we all need to make the world a better place. Even little things matter because all there is is little things.

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