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#rC3 - The Yes Men from Tricksters in an age of dirty tricks

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    rc3 preroll music
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    Herald: So the next talk is Mike Bonanno
    of the Yes Men, and I think we'll just
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    allow him to get started right away. Mike,
    please go.
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    Mike Bonanno: Thank you so much and hello
    everybody. It's so good to be here
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    participating in the chaos. I can say that
    I've intended to for years, but finally,
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    maybe due to the pandemic, I'm finally
    here. So and it's great to to be here
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    after observing from afar for about twenty
    five years. Anyway, I was told that the
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    other day that I'm getting kind of old.
    The Yes Men are elderly now. And so a lot
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    of people wouldn't, you know, know very
    much about the types of things or what we
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    had been doing. And I'll admit I've
    forgotten most of it myself. So I look
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    through it, I looked through the archives,
    just something that would introduce what
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    we do a little bit. And I found this
    picture that you see here where I'm
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    holding up an ExxonMobil card, business
    card. And then Andy, who's the guy that I
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    work with at the Yes Men, the co-founder
    of the group is there holding a National
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    Petroleum Council card. And this is from
    an event that we were at and I think
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    2009 or so where we went to a
    conference in Calgary, Alberta,
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    representing these two companies. We've
    been weaseling, weaseling our way into
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    events, conferences and sometimes online
    types of venues for over two decades now
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    and representing people in power. And we
    do one of two things. Either we do
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    something satirical and funny in front of
    an audience that usually thinks we are the
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    most powerful people in the room, or we do
    something that is more utopian where we
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    announce the reality that we might like to
    see, like in our wildest dreams, what we
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    might think ExxonMobil might say if they
    suddenly turned around and stopped being
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    some of the world's largest climate
    criminals and had a kind of reckoning and
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    woke up and decided to fight climate
    change. So anyway, there's been a lot of
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    things that have happened over the last
    two decades in terms of the media
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    landscape and the sort of flexibility of
    reality that have made our tactics more or
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    less useful. Also, like who's in power
    politically makes a difference, because
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    this, the types of things that we do, this
    kind of mischief we find works pretty well
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    when there's people who are movable, who's
    in office. Whereas if you have a total
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    despotic tyrant, then you have to go to
    more tactical methods instead of the types
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    of things that we do that are all about,
    you know, pushing political leaders to
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    change or about sort of bolstering a
    movement like creating some exciting, fun,
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    entertaining media that shows us all that
    the people that we're fighting are
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    actually really fallible and no different
    than you and I, despite the kind of power
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    that they hold. So I'm going to go ahead
    and play a little video clip here.
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    Hopefully it works. This is a video clip
    from our second, third Yes Men film.
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    Narrator within video: We don't usually
    get arrested, but ever since the 1990's,
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    Mike and I have been dressing up
    in secondhand suits and impersonating big
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    and powerful people.
    Actor: Hello, this is Reggie Lambrick
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    calling. I'm from the "Yes Bush Can"
    campaign
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    A: Hi, this is Kinnithrung Sprat
    from the WTO.
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    A: My name is Francesco Guerrero
    A: My name is Brad, I'm Halliburton's
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    N: We weasel our way onto center stage, at
    least for a little while.
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    Rr: Mr. Oswin, you're not even on the
    directory. You're not even listed. You
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    don't even have a phone number.
    A: It's come to that.
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    Rr: The hoax was an elaborate one.
    A: For the first time, Dow is accepting
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    full responsibility for the Bhopal
    catastrophe.
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    R: So the prank, which briefly knocked
    three percent of Dow shares.
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    N: When the jig is up, it makes the news.
    R: It's a group of pranksters who call
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    themselves The Yes Men.
    R: An activist group called Yes Men…
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    N: It's not the way most people protest,
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    but it's our way to say
    no to corporate greed.
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    pop
    Oooh!
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    M: Oops! OK laughing. So, I just want to
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    give a little bit of backstory: I've made
    three films, three feature docs in the
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    last 15 years. We released one, it seems,
    every five years. That's kind of a
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    compilation of a bunch of the antics that
    weave the exploits, whatever we want to
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    call them. But a lot of people ask, well,
    how do you start doing this? With what
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    initiative? Why, how? And it all kind of
    happened by accident. I just wanted to
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    start out by showing you the World Trade
    Organization headquarters in Geneva. This
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    is obviously a pretty large building in
    one of the most expensive real estate
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    markets in the world. And how did we get
    our first major kind of exploit like this
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    was when we when we actually impersonated
    the WTO. And so this is their
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    headquarters. This at the time was our
    headquarters. You can see this little plot
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    here is where we lived. This is a meeting
    of the OMC, the WTO. And of course, this
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    is the kind of meeting that we used to
    have. And so people would say, well, how
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    did you end up representing the WTO on
    television? You know, on stage? At
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    business meetings? Here we are standing
    with several dignitaries in Australia
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    after a trade conference there. And the
    answer was, is actually way simpler
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    than it needs to be. Like a lot of things
    with social engineering, it's actually a
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    lot dumber and less technical than people
    imagine. This is Andy at a computer. At
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    that thing down there. And that's called
    that's called the computer. There's a
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    television in the background, a CRT. We
    had put up a website called gwbush.com
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    that was meant to be a satirical website
    for George Bush, who at the time was
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    running for president. He wasn't president
    yet, but you can see that his banner for
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    his website said valuable, said
    "education, values, responsibility". It's
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    the banner on the bottom. And then our
    banner at the top said, "valuable,
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    educated, prosperous". These are subtle
    differences, but they're differences that
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    make a big difference in English because
    there and of course, in this one, instead
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    of sitting with his wife smiling in front
    of the Texas state capitol, he's pointing
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    his finger at black people. So it was
    meant to be satirical, but it turned out a
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    lot of people took it seriously anyway.
    And it got a lot of press coverage. This
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    is some old, an old Netscape window,
    browser window here. And then, sorry, it
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    got a lot of press coverage and then
    actually, George Bush denounced it at
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    several press conferences and he made it
    famous, quote, at the time, although he
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    made tons of famous gaffes and at this
    press conference he said about us, there
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    ought to be limits to freedom. That was
    what he was suggesting when they asked
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    what they should do about us for making
    this website that look like he hasn't made
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    fun of them. We put up a website at
    gatt.org, which a lot of people associated
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    with the World Trade Organization, because
    GATT, the Global Agreement on Tariffs and
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    Trade, was the predecessor organization to
    the WTO and the predecessor, the
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    previously existing agreement. So we had
    that website. This is actually Bretton
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    Woods where they first set up the GATT, I
    believe, in 1946. And then of course the
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    WTO building that you've already seen on
    the shores of Geneva. Now in the early
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    1990s, the mid late 1990s, there was a big
    global movement against neoliberalization
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    and neoliberal policies. And the WTO was a
    big focus of that. And Andy and I were
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    participating. This is one of the marches
    that you see of people mostly in the
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    global south who are rebelling against the
    free market ideologies that were really
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    hurting the poorest of people in many of
    those countries. And of course, there are
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    protests like the famous Battle of
    Seattle, which was famous because it shut
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    down the city of Seattle during a OMC
    meeting. And this is a great picture of
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    what it's like to be to be there at that
    event. It was. But unfortunately, we
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    couldn't be there. I mean, Andy couldn't
    be there to experience this wonderful
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    feeling of tear gas. And so, feeling left
    out, we put up a fake website for the WTO.
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    And again, it's a satirical website,
    but it's at gatt.org.
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    And unlike the WTO's web sites that…
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    The WTO website was very hard to
    find out how to talk to anybody there.
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    Although they emphasized their
    transparency as an organization, they were
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    very hard to actually speak to. And since
    their web page had literally thousands of
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    pages of documents, legal documents that
    you needed to be a lawyer to understand.
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    Ultimately, it wasn't very transparent.
    And so our web site, on the other hand,
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    gatt.org, was very easy to hit the contact
    button and get in touch with what a lot of
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    people turned out to think was the, were
    the WTO. Now, that became news and the WTO
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    issued a press release saying: warning,
    fake WTO website. And so since they had
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    actually then sent this press release to
    their entire mailing list, the Google
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    algorithm, which was fairly new at the
    time, ranked our web site very high in the
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    rankings just below theirs actually.
    Without any warnings about it being fake.
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    So many people would go to their real WTO
    website, would fail to be able to get in
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    touch with them, and then instead would
    actually come to our website and on our
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    website, we posted these alerts like fake
    WTO website, misleading the public just to
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    make sure that people knew that we that we
    existed. We wanted to help them help the
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    WTO do this work of warning people about
    the fakes, this sort of hall of mirrors.
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    So once again, the word deplorable gets
    used in reference to us. This here is the
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    then director general of the WTO whose
    name happened to be Mike Moore, and he was
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    from New Zealand, very different. He's a
    former prime minister of New Zealand, very
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    different prime minister than they have
    now, really. But he held a press
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    conference where he announced that he
    deplored the fake website and said that
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    they undermine the transparency. And so,
    of course, we published this on our fake
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    website as well. And then immediately it
    gets picked up and widely, widely picked
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    up by the press. So without actually going
    to Seattle, we managed to actually engage
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    the WTO and to get them to talk to us, to
    address us, and then to get several rounds
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    of media attention that we used to try to
    redirect traffic to what was happening in
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    Seattle, to what was happening on the
    ground with the movement. And actually,
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    this for us, we've been doing things like
    this before, but for us this was like a
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    really big win because we realized, wow,
    this took very little work. It was a lot of
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    fun and with absolutely no power - you
    remember what our office looked like
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    compared to the WTO - we were able to sort
    of do these moves that would throw a much
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    heavier opponent like judo moves. And so,
    anyway, we got into it. So many people
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    then were mistaking our website for
    theirs, thanks to the sort of internet
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    being so new and the you know, I mean, the
    web, the world wide web and the way search
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    engines worked, that we got a lot of email
    from people, questions like: "Could you
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    advise me of the relationship of Gibraltar
    to the WTO?" And this is the Treasury
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    Department of the Isle of Man asking us
    this question. So, you know, it's fun,
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    it's entertaining. Another question might
    be: "I would like to interview a WTO
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    spokesperson on South America's new
    technology sector." By the way, on the
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    relationship of Gibraltar to the WTO, we
    explained in detail how Gibraltar was a
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    rock south of Spain, a really big rock laughs in
    the, basically, in between the
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    Mediterranean and the Atlantic Ocean and
    the WTO is this human construction,
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    imagination organization, very different
    thing. So we we became experts basically
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    very quickly overnight. It was a lot of
    fun. And then finally, we were so good at
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    it, so good at being the WTO that we
    started to get invitations. "Can the director
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    general, Mike Moore, address our
    conference in Salzburg?" was a question we
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    got and well, this is Mike Moore. This is
    what he looks like. And we realize, damn,
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    we can't we can't possibly be that guy.
    This is a problem. We can't send him
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    either. So we wrote to them and we said,
    well, we can't send you Director General
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    Mike Moore, but we would very much like to
    send a substitute. And that's when they
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    embraced the idea of Andreas Bicklbauer,
    Dr. Andreas Bicklbauer, which is a name we
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    got out of the Vienna phone book.
    Actually, a friend of ours, Hans of Uber
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    Morgan, had sort of sponsored our trip by
    leaving some cash on the table of his
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    apartment and leaving us the keys. So when
    we arrived in Vienna with our new
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    thrift store suits, we were immediately
    ready to go to this conference as the
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    World Trade Organization. So that's sort
    of how it happened in the beginning. This
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    adventure in mischief, which has now
    lasted twenty years, doing these things in
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    person was something that just almost sort
    of like occurred spontaneously. But then
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    once we were onto that and into that, it
    became quite an energizing and addictive
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    sport thing that we've got a sportcoat
    that launched us onto the twenty years of
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    fun and excitement. And we haven't quite
    landed yet. But I'm worried about that
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    landing because it could could be a rough
    one. So I want to just frame what we're
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    doing a little more. You know, some of you
    probably recognize this guy. This is Santa
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    Claus. This is an actual photograph of
    Santa Claus emerging from a chimney,
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    looking at a photographer who happens to
    be crouched in this room in somebody's
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    house. They both had to break in, in order
    to do this. And so my point here is that,
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    you know, we love mischief, we love
    mischief, and we actually even love
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    trespass. We love breaking in. We love
    breaking and entering. The stories of
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    crossing borders, crossing boundaries,
    changing shape, putting on disguises, the
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    masquerade. These are the stories that
    really carry us through history. They are
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    some of our oldest stories. And this
    season, with Christmas is no exception.
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    Now, the stories have been hijacked and
    manipulated in a number of ways, just as
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    all information and stories are in our
    culture and Santa Claus is reckless, break
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    in in order to leave gifts, have become
    something hijacked by capitalism, in part
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    created by capitalism. But the fact that
    we want to lean on this idea of him
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    trespassing, I think is that's really
    important. That's a key to something. So
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    remember, don't tell anybody, though.
    Santa Claus will do so. We have this
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    history we see it fitting into something
    that's sort of common to all cultures, and
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    this is the idea of the trickster. This is
    often a deity or sometimes it's actually
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    based on a real historical figure that's
    more recent. But all cultures have these.
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    I won't say all, but nearly all cultures
    have these trickster characters. There's a
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    few listed on this sort of cartoon image
    here, Kokopelli of the Hopi or the Zooni,
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    which is, you know, in the United States,
    in North America, Aboriginal people in
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    North America, Anansi, the spider of West
    Africa, the Raven and the Pacific
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    Northwest. It goes on and on because
    they're everywhere. Everybody has these.
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    And it doesn't take too much digging to
    find out about your own trickster
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    character in your culture. And since we're
    kind of in, I think mostly in Germany
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    right now, and actually my mother is
    Dutch, so I'm going to stick with, I'm
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    going to go with Reynard, the Fox or the
    Fox as a character, as a trickster
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    character. And so we're going to look at a
    little bit more history through the Fox's
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    lens to frame the types of things that
    we're doing through the eyes of the of the
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    trickster. Jesus, another trickster. Laughs. And
    I'm not a big fan, although I am a fan of
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    some of his original tactics. You know, he
    rode in on this donkey and this is an
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    actual photograph of him because, you
    know, somebody had a time machine and went
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    back and got this shot of him riding a
    donkey into Bethlehem. And, you know, this
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    is like nobody rides a donkey into
    Jerusalem. Nobody rides a donkey. It
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    didn't make sense. He did it because he
    knew that people would talk about it. It
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    was a symbolic action that was meant to
    project the kind of humility and make
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    people tell stories about what happened.
    So the idea was to propagate this myth,
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    which, of course, works so well that now
    we have you know, we have Christianity.
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    But here's Nasrudin riding a donkey
    backwards a century later. And again, an
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    original photo. This is sort of a wise
    aged coming from out of Turkey and part of
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    Islamic tradition. And again, all these
    stories, though, are stories of a kind of
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    wisdom. And these are sort of the reason I
    say they're Trickster's is that they were
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    fighting larger powers. I mean, Jesus was
    fighting the Romans. Jesus was leading a
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    movement of liberation at the time. It
    became something entirely different. But
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    we see the same thing. This version of the
    trickster, that's Nasrudin is like a wise
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    man is usually about telling a story where
    through cleverness and sometimes agility,
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    a character can outwit others who have
    more power, who would otherwise exercise
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    power over them. I mean, there are good
    trickster's and bad, but we like to focus
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    on the idea of the good trickster, which
    is those who are fighting power instead of
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    those who are serving power. So here's
    another example, a modest proposal. This
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    is a pamphlet published by Jonathan Swift
    where he suggested that the Irish eat
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    their babies in order to solve the hunger
    problem in Ireland. Because, of course,
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    the potato famine was not a famine that
    was caused by lack of food in that
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    country. It was caused by lack of money,
    as most famines are. The British were
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    still shipping grains out of Ireland
    because they made money when people were
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    starving to death because the potato crops
    had failed. So this is a comment on that.
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    Well, why don't the Irish just eat their
    own babies? And then it was, it's become
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    one of the most famous examples of, you
    know, English satire in history and
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    English language that is. This is the
    seventeen hundreds. So the whole point
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    here is that this pamphlet, like a lot of
    this sort of hacking techniques that we
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    end up using now, this pamphlet was like
    disguising itself as something else when
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    it was first published. OK, I'm going to
    skip ahead. These are a few pictures of
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    the women's movement, but I want to get
    through this stuff quickly. The whole
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    purpose here is to show you that, again,
    this obsession with stories with
  • 24:50 - 24:58
    infiltrating with causing trouble, which
    they did, is something that's constant,
  • 24:58 - 25:06
    has continued to happen, to occur. Hang on
    a second ... he's showing a low power, but
  • 25:06 - 25:12
    I'm a power problem. I'm going to have to
    go and get another power supply because
  • 25:12 - 25:21
    this one is not working. But this is a
    group called Climate Rush that was, that
  • 25:21 - 25:27
    was repeating those actions. So I'm going
    to run off and get another power supply. I
  • 25:27 - 25:34
    will be back in just a moment. I'm going
    to leave you with a picture of a Gandy's
  • 25:34 - 25:41
    saltmarsh. Now, just a minute. This is
    actually Surmont Sumati Naidu, who is
  • 25:41 - 25:47
    leading one of the salt marches. I'll be
    right back.
  • 25:47 - 25:51
    Herald: I will use this interruption to
    remind you that you can ask questions at
  • 25:51 - 26:01
    the hashtag "#rc3one", "one" spelled out as
    a word on Twitter and Mastodon and also on
  • 26:01 - 26:20
    the IRC. And now we all sing some songs
    together and wait.
  • 26:20 - 26:37
    Mike: Hey, everybody, sorry. They are good
    laughs.
  • 26:37 - 26:40
    H: Welcome back.
    M: Thank you. That's not the thing that I
  • 26:40 - 26:47
    expected to stop working. Never had a
    power supply just stop in the middle. OK,
  • 26:47 - 26:53
    well, anyway, I was also going to say that
    a lot of the stuff that we get inspiration
  • 26:53 - 27:00
    from comes from principles of nonviolence
    going where you're not supposed to go,
  • 27:00 - 27:04
    crossing borders. This is, again,
    trickster tactics. So the tactics of
  • 27:04 - 27:10
    civil disobedience are the same kind of
    tactics that we use when we infiltrate and
  • 27:10 - 27:17
    do something in a business meeting. It's
    doing something illegal, something that is
  • 27:17 - 27:24
    illegal, but might, of course, have just
    ends in mind or might even be the right
  • 27:24 - 27:30
    thing to do. So the salt march in India
    during the Indian independence movement
  • 27:30 - 27:38
    was where people marched to the sea and
    made salt, which was illegal because it
  • 27:38 - 27:45
    was being taxed by the British. And it's
    one of the ways that the British crown was
  • 27:45 - 27:54
    suppressing the local populations and
    preventing India from having autonomy and
  • 27:54 - 28:01
    from being able to break the yoke of
    colonialism. So, again, the idea was to
  • 28:01 - 28:10
    try to cross those boundaries and to do it
    in a way that was visible to the world.
  • 28:10 - 28:16
    Another example is the bus protests in the
    United States during the civil rights
  • 28:16 - 28:24
    movement. This is a woman actually well
    before Rosa Parks who this photo here is
  • 28:24 - 28:31
    of, there was this woman whose last name
    is Morgan, who - this is over a decade
  • 28:31 - 28:37
    earlier -, who was riding on the bus and
    refused to give up her seat. And so there
  • 28:37 - 28:42
    are many, many people doing these sorts of
    tactics which were really about crossing
  • 28:42 - 28:47
    these borders, crossing these boundaries.
    All right. I'm going to move ahead here
  • 28:47 - 28:57
    through a few more slides of occupations,
    things like the American Indian movement
  • 28:57 - 29:03
    that was, sorry, this is Indians of all
    tribes occupying Alcatraz saying this is,
  • 29:03 - 29:09
    this space is ours. This is after the
    prison had left the island. This is just
  • 29:09 - 29:15
    off the coast of San Francisco in 1971
    and again at Standing Rock,
  • 29:15 - 29:21
    same kinds of tactics, occupation,
    refusing to move and getting moved by the
  • 29:21 - 29:28
    authorities and a display of violence that
    shows really that should in theory at
  • 29:28 - 29:34
    least be embarrassing for those wielding
    power when they claim to be benevolent.
  • 29:34 - 29:40
    Billboard alteration, another simple
    transgression. It's just like going up
  • 29:40 - 29:45
    there and changing a billboard. Street
    signs, you can change the street signs in
  • 29:45 - 29:52
    Malcolm X Street, which is something that
    in the early 90's I was doing in Portland,
  • 29:52 - 29:58
    Oregon, and this was in protest of them
    not naming a street for Martin Luther
  • 29:58 - 30:03
    King. Sometimes it is as simple as
    changing an existing sign. Like Hollyweed.
  • 30:03 - 30:08
    I show this because it's a successful
    campaign. You know, weed is now pretty
  • 30:08 - 30:14
    much legal. Well, it's legal in California
    and in it will be soon, probably in most
  • 30:14 - 30:20
    of the United States, if not all. And
    things like banner hangs, again, going
  • 30:20 - 30:26
    where you're not supposed to. Getting your
    message there. If you don't have the money
  • 30:26 - 30:32
    for a banner, you can draw it on a beach.
    You can put on a costume like Superbarrio
  • 30:32 - 30:41
    in Mexico City. This is after the
    earthquake in 1987. This guy showed up
  • 30:41 - 30:49
    wearing a wrestling outfit and demanded
    rights for the poor people in Mexico. And
  • 30:49 - 30:55
    the neighborhoods that weren't being
    repaired by the government. And people
  • 30:55 - 31:01
    loved him so much and the media loved him
    so much. That when he started to challenge
  • 31:01 - 31:07
    political leaders to wrestling matches,
    they kind of had to show up and talk to
  • 31:07 - 31:13
    him. Otherwise, it would be very
    embarrassing. So this is an example of
  • 31:13 - 31:19
    using some kind of flamboyant tactic in
    plain sight to go places you're not
  • 31:19 - 31:26
    allowed to go. And then again, the masked
    man, the identity here for the Zapatistas
  • 31:26 - 31:33
    as a sort of the flip side of that is the
    obscured identity, you know. Wearing a
  • 31:33 - 31:37
    mask because you have to. Because you're
    actually participating in an armed
  • 31:37 - 31:45
    rebellion. But also this movement of the
    Zapatistas was really thinking very much
  • 31:45 - 31:50
    about their media image and about
    presenting their revolution to the world.
  • 31:50 - 31:58
    And having it exists on a global stage.
    Oh, and here is Comandante Ramona, who's
  • 31:58 - 32:05
    the leader of the Zapatistas with
    Subcomandante Marcos. And again, thinking
  • 32:05 - 32:14
    about who is in charge here. And it's this
    under five foot tall indigenous elder who
  • 32:14 - 32:23
    is running the Zapatista revolution at the
    time in 1994. Just one or two more slides
  • 32:23 - 32:28
    here of other things. To put it all in
    context, here's a group called the Space
  • 32:28 - 32:34
    Hijackers with one of their tanks. They
    had a few they bought a few tanks. It
  • 32:34 - 32:40
    turns out that in the UK it's not that
    hard to buy them. And they dressed as
  • 32:40 - 32:46
    these sort of comic riot police. And this
    was sort of the clown car that distracted
  • 32:46 - 32:53
    the real riot police who followed them.
    And then let their other tank roll right
  • 32:53 - 33:01
    into the largest arms show in the world in
    London. So sometimes these plots involve
  • 33:01 - 33:09
    decoys, involved many layers in order to
    access these venues. But this is a picture
  • 33:09 - 33:15
    of a teddy bear catapult. The fun thing
    about this, this is that the FTAA, a
  • 33:15 - 33:24
    protest in in Quebec City, in Canada. And
    the fun thing about this is that it
  • 33:24 - 33:30
    created a dilemma for the police. Because
    the world leaders are meeting inside the
  • 33:30 - 33:35
    fortress city. Literally, it's the only
    fortress city in North America. Europe has
  • 33:35 - 33:41
    a lot of them. But this is at the top of
    the hill. There's a fort in Quebec and
  • 33:41 - 33:45
    that's where they were meeting. And, of
    course, the antiglobalization activists
  • 33:45 - 33:52
    surrounded it and laid siege to it. And
    one group built this hilarious catapult
  • 33:52 - 33:56
    and were flinging teddy bears in. And the
    police were faced with the decision. Do we
  • 33:56 - 34:01
    arrest? Do we stop the teddy bears from
    being flung in? And do we arrest the
  • 34:01 - 34:06
    catapult and then look ridiculous walking
    away with it? Or do we let them keep
  • 34:06 - 34:12
    flinging? Neither option was a good one.
    They arrested the activists. And
  • 34:12 - 34:18
    they then there's this hilarious picture
    of them hauling around their catapult
  • 34:18 - 34:24
    teddy bears. If you can't make a catapult,
    you don't have the means, maybe you have
  • 34:24 - 34:32
    some bread and you can strap it to your
    head like in the Egyptian... the recent
  • 34:32 - 34:37
    revolution in the Arab Spring. Where
    people were strapping all kinds of things
  • 34:37 - 34:43
    to their heads to make a statement about
    the violence that was being perpetrated
  • 34:43 - 34:48
    against them. Because, of course, the
    state is saying that they were creating
  • 34:48 - 34:53
    the violence and the activists were
    saying, no, we don't even have helmets.
  • 34:53 - 34:58
    We're going to just strap whatever we have
    to our head. And it became a hilarious
  • 34:58 - 35:04
    living meme. Where people are walking
    around with all kinds of crazy makeshift
  • 35:04 - 35:13
    helmets. One more image, the flying penis
    that attacked Garry Kasparov in, I think
  • 35:13 - 35:19
    what became a very popular viral video for
    its moment. And you can look this up, but
  • 35:19 - 35:25
    this is also a warning. Because this
    phallus, which is flying, it's like an RC
  • 35:25 - 35:31
    helicopter with a dildo attached to it.
    And this thing, which was flown against
  • 35:31 - 35:37
    Kasparov, who was at the time the
    strongest opposition candidate to Putin,
  • 35:37 - 35:42
    could very well be the KGB's flying
    phallus. So everybody uses these tactics.
  • 35:42 - 35:46
    And I say that because, you know, it was,
    it became a really popular and
  • 35:46 - 35:55
    embarrassing video that was against
    Kasparov. And so who knows who was behind
  • 35:55 - 36:04
    it. Who was at the controls? So to go back
    to what we do with the Yes Men. We are not
  • 36:04 - 36:08
    beneath a few phallic metaphors ourselves
    because it works really well When you're
  • 36:08 - 36:17
    trying to impersonate people in power.
    This is an example of one time when we
  • 36:17 - 36:24
    went to a conference in Finland
    representing the WTO and announced that
  • 36:24 - 36:31
    the WTO's solution to the problem of
    sweatshops was this thing called the
  • 36:31 - 36:38
    "Employee Visualization Appendage". Which
    was a three foot long phallus that had a
  • 36:38 - 36:46
    kind of heads up display on it, that
    allowed you to see your remote workers
  • 36:46 - 36:50
    anywhere in the world. And give them
    electric shocks. And of course, the
  • 36:50 - 36:57
    audience loved it because because they
    thought we were the most powerful people
  • 36:57 - 37:01
    in the room. At the beginning of the talk,
    we were wearing business suits and we made
  • 37:01 - 37:07
    a breakaway business suit that I could tear
    off of Andy, in one quick movement. And
  • 37:07 - 37:18
    then this three foot long inflatable
    phallus was instantly deployed with a CO₂
  • 37:18 - 37:26
    cartridge. Inflated in a matter of maybe a
    second and a half. And this is a story
  • 37:26 - 37:32
    from the newspaper, the second
    largest daily in Finland, that sort of
  • 37:32 - 37:44
    explains a little bit about the WTO
    plans. So I don't know, how well you could
  • 37:44 - 37:53
    see those videos.Can I get a little
    feedback on that? Can anybody tell me how
  • 37:53 - 37:59
    easy it was to see some of the video?
    H: It looked OK. The sound was great and
  • 37:59 - 38:02
    the video was very stuttery. But you
    could do it.
  • 38:02 - 38:07
    M: OK, so I'll show a little bit more
    video. I'm going to actually show... I'm
  • 38:07 - 38:12
    going to skip this one. This is probably
    the most famous of the things that we've
  • 38:12 - 38:20
    done. It's in our second film, which is
    called "The Yes Men fix the World". And
  • 38:20 - 38:29
    you can find that, it's on You Tube,
    other places, file sharing. And this is
  • 38:29 - 38:39
    where Andy was representing Dow Chemical
    on a live television broadcast on the 20th
  • 38:39 - 38:45
    anniversary of the Bhopal catastrophe. And
    as Dow Chemical, he took responsibility
  • 38:45 - 38:51
    for the disaster and offered to pay back
    the victims and meet their demands. And
  • 38:51 - 38:58
    clean up the plant site. So sometimes you
    use that tactic where we, if we're given
  • 38:58 - 39:05
    enough power and we have the right
    platform, it's incredibly useful to
  • 39:05 - 39:10
    announce that sort of utopian solution. Or
    to announce that the company that you're
  • 39:10 - 39:14
    targeting is meeting the demands that
    activists have been asking for
  • 39:14 - 39:21
    years. Because then it puts the company in
    a real dilemma.They have no good
  • 39:21 - 39:26
    choice. They either have to say "That wasn't
    us and we are not fixing the problem that
  • 39:26 - 39:32
    we created." Or if they ignore it, then they
    have this disinformation out there in the
  • 39:32 - 39:40
    universe. That means they have to act. So
    I'm going to skip that and I'm going to go
  • 39:40 - 39:46
    to this, which is a more slightly more
    recent thing. This is also pretty old,
  • 39:46 - 39:51
    though. This is, I think in our last Yes
    Men movie called 'The Yes Men Are
  • 39:51 - 40:03
    Revolting'. And what we're doing here is
    creating a replica of the stage at the
  • 40:03 - 40:10
    Copenhagen climate conference. So this is
    2009, the COP15. And the reason, we just
  • 40:10 - 40:14
    wanted to create something that looked
    enough like it so that we can make
  • 40:14 - 40:20
    Internet videos to embed in our fake
    website that would allow us to make
  • 40:20 - 40:26
    announcements as the COP15 that would, I
    mean as the official climate conference on
  • 40:26 - 40:33
    behalf of Canada and Uganda. And I'm going
    to play a little video here.
  • 40:33 - 40:41
    Newsreader: Well, while Terry was looking
    through those documents, the world was
  • 40:41 - 40:46
    laughing at Canada because of another one.
    It surfaced as a press release or so
  • 40:46 - 40:53
    everyone believed. But soon it was clear
    Canada had been punked. Leslie McKinnon
  • 40:53 - 40:57
    reports.
    McKinnon: First, there was this demo
  • 40:57 - 41:03
    inside parliament. 20 or so protesters who
    caused a minor stir. Then this Greenpeace
  • 41:03 - 41:10
    paper, but that got mostly reported as a
    breach of security story. Neither managed
  • 41:10 - 41:15
    to get Canada's climate policy as much
    attention in Copenhagen as today's
  • 41:15 - 41:21
    multilayered hoax. The day began with this
    press release announcing the astonishing
  • 41:21 - 41:28
    news that Canada was suddenly doubling its
    emission cuts to 40 percent below 1990
  • 41:28 - 41:35
    levels by 2020 and that it would
    generously pony up 13 billion dollars to
  • 41:35 - 41:40
    be allocated to the African countries for
    emissions reduction. Then there was this
  • 41:40 - 41:45
    article about it on what looked like the
    Wall Street Journal's website. See then
  • 41:45 - 41:51
    this, a news conference purportedly by the
    Ugandan delegate, posted on what looked
  • 41:51 - 41:55
    like the Copenhagen conference website.
    Delegate: Dearest Delegates.
  • 41:55 - 42:00
    McKinnon: It looked amazingly real until
    the speaker compared Canada's oil reserves
  • 42:00 - 42:03
    to a loaded gun.
    Delegate: ... and seemed ready to pull the
  • 42:03 - 42:09
    trigger on millions of us around the
    globe. You left us no choice but to deal
  • 42:09 - 42:11
    as criminal.
    McKinnon: But a press release from
  • 42:11 - 42:16
    Environment Canada followed, that
    seemingly deplored the spoof releases and
  • 42:16 - 42:22
    false hopes. This turned out to be a hoax.
    In fact, it was all a hoax.
  • 42:22 - 42:24
    Person 1 in video: I mean, you think it's
    a game, but it's not a game. It's a
  • 42:24 - 42:26
    serious situation.
    Person 2: You're playing games. I'm not
  • 42:26 - 42:28
    playing games.
    McKinnon: Truth can be stranger than
  • 42:28 - 42:32
    fiction. This is the prime minister's
    spokesman blaiming the stunt on Stephen
  • 42:32 - 42:34
    Elbo (?) of the environmental group
    [inaudible].
  • 42:34 - 42:38
    Person 2: And I want an apology.
    McKinnon: And this is also the real thing.
  • 42:38 - 42:41
    Jim Prentice: I was in the plenary session
    at the time that this happened, and I
  • 42:41 - 42:44
    really can't comment any further.
    Interviewee: Why is it a hoax that Canada
  • 42:44 - 42:47
    is going to do the right thing?
    McKinnon: This environmentalist thinks the
  • 42:47 - 42:51
    whole elaborate joke worth.
    Interviewee: I had nothing to do with this
  • 42:51 - 42:52
    one, but I'm really happy that they did
    it.
  • 42:52 - 42:56
    McKinnon: As to who pulled this off. There
    are reports tonight it's a group of
  • 42:56 - 43:00
    pranksters who call themselves the Yes
    Men. They say they'll have a press
  • 43:00 - 43:05
    conference tomorrow, if you can believe
    that. Leslie McKinnon, CBC News, Ottawa.
  • 43:05 - 43:10
    Newsreader: Well that climate related
    stunt is one of many that have happened
  • 43:10 - 43:13
    lately.
    Bonanno: OK, so just to wrap that little
  • 43:13 - 43:19
    thing up. You can see here that we're just
    in a basement. Basically, these
  • 43:19 - 43:24
    microphones are just made out of pipe
    cleaners and electrical tape. We printed
  • 43:24 - 43:29
    out a bunch of you know, we had to make
    our own teleprompter, print out a bunch of
  • 43:29 - 43:37
    the logos and paste them up on the wall.
    We use the reverse shots of the audience
  • 43:37 - 43:43
    for the videos from other videos that we
    found already on their website, and it
  • 43:43 - 43:48
    created this kind of illusion where we
    could do both the big conference room and
  • 43:48 - 43:55
    the press briefing room fairly easily. So
    we made several videos and then eventually
  • 43:55 - 44:01
    we had the press conference the next day,
    which highlighted mostly the position of
  • 44:01 - 44:08
    the Ugandan participants in this project,
    particularly Kodili Chandia, who's there
  • 44:08 - 44:17
    sitting in the middle in that red suit. So
    I just wanted to show that, because it's
  • 44:17 - 44:22
    really interesting. And that's, again,
    it's 10 years old and it was effective at
  • 44:22 - 44:27
    the... at that moment. And there weren't a
    lot of people talking about fake news at
  • 44:27 - 44:34
    that time. But something that people are
    really concerned about now is whether
  • 44:34 - 44:39
    these tactics work anymore. And I think it
    just depends on the context. We found that
  • 44:39 - 44:44
    sometimes they work really well. In fact,
    we had a successful action a few weeks ago
  • 44:44 - 44:50
    that got a lot of attention for the Bank
    of England's fiscal policy. But they don't
  • 44:50 - 44:56
    really work very well against a rogue head
    of state like Donald Trump or something.
  • 44:56 - 45:04
    There's no amount of satire or kind of
    like utopian thinking that can work on
  • 45:04 - 45:13
    that... on that kind of wildcard. So just
    to end the talking part or the ranting
  • 45:13 - 45:21
    part, this here we have an image of Renard
    the fox, which is, of course, something
  • 45:21 - 45:25
    I'd like to leave you with. And I think
    getting in touch with all of our trickster
  • 45:25 - 45:30
    roots is a good thing to do, because when
    we find the roots, we also find that we
  • 45:30 - 45:35
    have common ground with everybody else who
    has trickster characters in their cultural
  • 45:35 - 45:43
    histories. And this is forever confused,
    only confuse from below. This is one of
  • 45:43 - 45:49
    our primary tenets of Confuse-ianism. And
    we've started a school called the
  • 45:49 - 45:56
    Trickster Academy. We can talk about that
    later. OK, I'm going to stop sharing and
  • 45:56 - 46:00
    talk to you in person.
    Herald: I think I'm back.
  • 46:00 - 46:04
    B: Great. Sorry, that talk took so long.
    I just…
  • 46:04 - 46:06
    H: That's OK.
    You had a lot of interesting stuff to say.
  • 46:06 - 46:09
    B: I got ambitious with saying things.
  • 46:09 - 46:14
    H: And I think the phrase "the KGB's
    flying phallus" is one for the ages.
  • 46:14 - 46:17
    B: Yeah. Yeah. I mean maybe the phallus
  • 46:17 - 46:22
    people are listen are here now and can
    come forward and ask a question or tell us
  • 46:22 - 46:29
    who they are. But as far as I know, nobody
    knows. Could still be the KGB.
  • 46:29 - 46:33
    H: All right. We have the first questions.
    Questions.
  • 46:33 - 46:36
    Why are you guys always such assholes?
  • 46:36 - 46:39
    B: Yeah, that's a really good question.
  • 46:39 - 46:43
    We are always such assholes because
  • 46:43 - 46:48
    we don't care about
    what people think about us.
  • 46:48 - 46:53
    I was once at a party where me and my
    brother had built this giant tower of
  • 46:53 - 46:57
    chairs in in the swimming pool. Because it
    was like this fancy place. We didn't get
  • 46:57 - 47:03
    to go to fancy places like that, and we
    dive off the giant tower of chairs. It was
  • 47:03 - 47:06
    great fun and we thought we knew how to
    have a party, but apparently people were
  • 47:06 - 47:12
    really offended and then somebody lost
    their golden necklace in the pool. And so
  • 47:12 - 47:18
    we, of course, were swimming and we went
    and found it for the guy. And he was so
  • 47:18 - 47:24
    excited and so overjoyed. He said, I don't
    care what everybody else thinks. You guys
  • 47:24 - 47:29
    are OK. So I've always remembered that
    word of wisdom. And I thought, OK, our
  • 47:29 - 47:35
    goal is not to make friends with people.
    Our goal is to get to that place. In fact,
  • 47:35 - 47:39
    we can be the fall guy for a big
    organization that's worried about the
  • 47:39 - 47:45
    reputation. So like if the Sierra Club,
    big environmental organization, wants to
  • 47:45 - 47:50
    use the kind of tactics that we do, but is
    worried that their membership will gonna
  • 47:50 - 47:55
    be unpleased, then they can get in touch
    with us and we'll do it for them.
  • 47:55 - 47:59
    H: So that's how you finance working on
    The Yes Men full time?
  • 47:59 - 48:05
    B: I actually finance it by working at a
    university, so I still teach at
  • 48:05 - 48:10
    university, but Jacques more than I has
    financed it through things like that. And,
  • 48:10 - 48:15
    and some of the actions–quite a few of
    the actions–have been financed by, by
  • 48:15 - 48:19
    large NGOs like the Greenpeaces of the
    world.
  • 48:19 - 48:25
    H: Nice. So people on the Internet want to
    know if you've ever had to go to jail for
  • 48:25 - 48:29
    your actions.
    B: I've never had to go to jail for these
  • 48:29 - 48:36
    kinds of actions.
    H: You went to jail for unrelated reasons?
  • 48:36 - 48:41
    B: I went I went to jail for ice skating
    once. Seriously, come on. New York City.
  • 48:41 - 48:43
    I just, you know…
  • 48:43 - 48:48
    I highly recommend ice skating on
    Prospect Park Lake.
  • 48:48 - 48:50
    It was originally built for ice skating.
  • 48:50 - 48:53
    You know there's pictures of hundreds
    of people doing it in the 19th century.
  • 48:53 - 48:56
    But if you do it now, you get arrested.
  • 48:56 - 48:59
    And they actually take you in overnight.
  • 48:59 - 49:04
    So you get to spend a night in jail.
    Which, by the way,
  • 49:04 - 49:09
    is a very... it's not exclusive,
    but it's expensive.
  • 49:09 - 49:12
    It costs the taxpayers $1700 per night.
  • 49:12 - 49:16
    H: It's a pretty good hotel for this kind of money.
  • 49:16 - 49:21
    B: Yes. Yes. It's like a five star.
  • 49:21 - 49:26
    H: So did you read any book
    about social engineering
  • 49:26 - 49:30
    or did you just wing it until
    you figured out all the tricks?
  • 49:30 - 49:31
    B: It was, sort of, yeah.
  • 49:31 - 49:35
    It was like reverse engineering the
    social engineering for us.
  • 49:35 - 49:40
    Because it was figuring it out as we went,
  • 49:40 - 49:45
    but then starting to discover
    a world of people doing things
  • 49:45 - 49:48
    and yeah reading about it.
  • 49:48 - 49:52
    So, and there are so many people
    doing so many amazing things.
  • 49:52 - 49:55
    I mean, I'm loving following
    some of these people now on
  • 49:55 - 50:00
    even Youtubers who do stuff like this.
  • 50:00 - 50:02
    So yeah, but there are a few books.
  • 50:02 - 50:07
    I'm reading a great book about early
    con men right now that's really fun.
  • 50:07 - 50:11
    It's like… I can't remember the title.
    I'd have to grab it to read the title.
  • 50:11 - 50:15
    but yeah, constantly constant education.
  • 50:15 - 50:20
    And also, I think it's necessary also
    to always have innovation.
  • 50:20 - 50:26
    You know, but ultimately, it seems like
    it does boil down to the one thing
  • 50:26 - 50:32
    and that is understanding
    what somebody wants, right?
  • 50:32 - 50:35
    Like if you know who you're talking to,
  • 50:35 - 50:37
    and you know what they want,
  • 50:37 - 50:41
    then you can build a world
    that delivers it to them
  • 50:41 - 50:45
    and that seems to deliver to them
    the thing that they desire.
  • 50:45 - 50:48
    And that is…
    That usually works really well.
  • 50:48 - 50:51
    You know, it's a…
  • 50:51 - 50:53
    even on people who are expecting it.
  • 50:53 - 50:56
    laughing
  • 50:56 - 50:58
    H: All right,
    the next one is a trivia question,
  • 50:58 - 51:00
    which I really enjoy as a concept.
  • 51:00 - 51:03
    What are the top three
    most impactful events in world history
  • 51:03 - 51:07
    that you can summarize
    in the fewest words possible?
  • 51:07 - 51:10
    Sounds like a game show. I like it.
  • 51:10 - 51:12
    B: Top three
  • 51:12 - 51:14
    H: Fewest words
  • 51:14 - 51:16
    B: In human history?
  • 51:16 - 51:19
    H: In the world history.
    B: In world history.
  • 51:19 - 51:24
    H: So I guess it can include
    geological events before humans.
  • 51:24 - 51:30
    B: Yeah, I kind of want to say, you know,
    Big Bang, even though I don't know.
  • 51:30 - 51:34
    That's what I've been told,
    I don't totally really understand it, but…
  • 51:34 - 51:38
    Big Bang. How many words am I left?
  • 51:38 - 51:41
    H: I think as few as possible.
  • 51:41 - 51:49
    B: Big Bang, asteroid, Anthropocene.
  • 51:49 - 51:53
    H: Very good.
    I'm sure you won, whatever the game was.
  • 51:53 - 51:58
    B: I feel like I won.
    I feel great about that answer.
  • 51:58 - 52:01
    H: How did you guys
    come up with the human candle idea?
  • 52:01 - 52:03
    And maybe explain the human candle idea.
  • 52:03 - 52:06
    B: So the human candle idea was...
  • 52:06 - 52:09
    Actually this goes back to the very
    first slide! Thanks for the call back.
  • 52:09 - 52:15
    When I'm holding up the
    business card that says Exxon.
  • 52:15 - 52:19
    We were at a conference
    representing ExxonMobil
  • 52:19 - 52:22
    in Calgary, Alberta,
    at the stampede grounds
  • 52:22 - 52:26
    which is where they have
    the largest rodeo in the world,
  • 52:26 - 52:29
    and they also have Canada's
    largest oil conference.
  • 52:29 - 52:34
    And we had convinced them to host us
  • 52:34 - 52:41
    by telling them that Lee Raymond,
    who is the former CEO of ExxonMobil,
  • 52:41 - 52:45
    would go to their conference.
    So I claim that I was from a PR agency,
  • 52:45 - 52:49
    got in touch with the people
    running the conference.
  • 52:49 - 52:52
    I had a domain name that looked like
  • 52:52 - 52:55
    Hill+Knowlton or Burson-Marsteller.
    I can't remember who.
  • 52:55 - 52:58
    One of the big PR companies
    that tends to do this kind of
  • 52:58 - 53:03
    high level, you know, bullshitting.
  • 53:03 - 53:09
    And so I promised them that
    Lee Raymond had a very important
  • 53:09 - 53:12
    announcement to make that would really
    put their conference on the map.
  • 53:12 - 53:16
    And, of course, they were excited about it.
    But then…
  • 53:16 - 53:18
    This is the tricky part.
  • 53:18 - 53:20
    At that point, I had to tell them that,
  • 53:20 - 53:23
    you know, they had to keep it secret
  • 53:23 - 53:27
    until just before the announcement because
  • 53:27 - 53:32
    what he was going to say had
    such repercussions for the global economy
  • 53:32 - 53:35
    that they could very well be breaking
  • 53:35 - 53:38
    various kinds of SEC
    (that's like, stock market) laws,
  • 53:38 - 53:41
    if they didn't embargo the information.
  • 53:41 - 53:46
    So I said, this is important.
    You're part of a web of, you know,
  • 53:46 - 53:48
    You're part of a bubble of secrecy.
    We have to maintain the secret.
  • 53:48 - 53:53
    Because as soon as people know that
    he's going to make a big announcement,
  • 53:53 - 53:56
    they're going to freak out, because
    he had a new position with the government.
  • 53:56 - 54:00
    And so they bought it.
    And, in fact, this is one of those
  • 54:00 - 54:05
    counterintuitive things where you would
    think that telling them that you have this
  • 54:05 - 54:09
    great honeypot for their conference, this
    guy who other people are going to register
  • 54:09 - 54:17
    to see at their conference, you think that
    that then when you tell them that they
  • 54:17 - 54:23
    can't tell anyone that it would be
    immediately blow you up, but it doesn't
  • 54:23 - 54:26
    because they feel like they're on
    the inside of something big then.
  • 54:26 - 54:28
    And so they kept the secret.
  • 54:28 - 54:31
    And then what we decided
    we're going to announce was that
  • 54:31 - 54:36
    ExxonMobil had a climate change solution.
  • 54:36 - 54:43
    Which was to turn the humans
    who die as a result of climate change
  • 54:43 - 54:47
    into a new biofuel called Vivoleum.
  • 54:47 - 54:49
    And so we had an animated thing.
  • 54:49 - 54:51
    It's in our second movie,
    The Yes Men Fix the World.
  • 54:51 - 54:54
    But that idea came from us thinking about
  • 54:54 - 54:59
    what is the logical extension
    of ExxonMobil's climate policy?
  • 54:59 - 55:02
    Because at the time,
    it had just been revealed
  • 55:02 - 55:05
    that ExxonMobil had done all of this
  • 55:05 - 55:13
    very shady suppression of knowledge
    about the about climate change.
  • 55:13 - 55:19
    ExxonMobil had scientists working for them
    in the 70s that knew that climate change
  • 55:19 - 55:24
    was huge problem and they had decided to
    suppress the information themselves.
  • 55:24 - 55:28
    And then they went on a protracted campaign
  • 55:28 - 55:32
    of suppressing the information
    at the federal level in the United States
  • 55:32 - 55:34
    and at the global level.
  • 55:34 - 55:36
    So they became the target,
  • 55:36 - 55:38
    and this announcement became the…
    what we were going to do.
  • 55:38 - 55:42
    And then, of course, when we're at the
    conference, at the very last minute,
  • 55:42 - 55:46
    Lee Raymond, the former CEO of ExxonMobil,
  • 55:46 - 55:50
    who's now has a federal position
    with the US government,
  • 55:50 - 55:55
    Doesn't show up, and
    a substitute takes his place on the stage.
  • 55:55 - 55:56
    Then that's. Yeah.
  • 55:56 - 55:59
    So did I answer the question?
    I can't remember.
  • 55:59 - 56:02
    H: I think someone wanted to know
    how you you came up with the idea.
  • 56:02 - 56:03
    H: But…
    B: Yeah, that was...
  • 56:03 - 56:05
    H: But that is also difficult to answer,
    right?
  • 56:05 - 56:10
    B: I think it was really just shooting the
    shit, as they say, with with some friends.
  • 56:10 - 56:16
    And as I remember, it was a guy called Bob
    Ostertag, who worked with us for a while,
  • 56:16 - 56:24
    who is actually a more of like a musician.
    And, you know, anyway…
  • 56:24 - 56:28
    He was the one, I think,
    who really pushed that idea forward.
  • 56:28 - 56:32
    And it turned out to be a really fun one.
    laughs
  • 56:32 - 56:36
    H: I mean it's basically a direct callback
    to the Jonathan Swift stuff, right?
  • 56:36 - 56:41
    You really get very into people's bodies.
  • 56:41 - 56:47
    B: It is. It's a classic. I mean,
    babies, people eating them, cannibalism…
  • 56:47 - 56:48
    I mean, these are like…
  • 56:48 - 56:54
    You know, they hit you. They hit you.
    Right where it, right where you feel it.
  • 56:54 - 56:58
    chuckles
    H: Yeah. All right. Another question is:
  • 56:58 - 57:02
    Do you worry at all that your
    campaigns erode trust in the media?
  • 57:02 - 57:05
    Or do you just think that they should
    maybe pay some more attention?
  • 57:05 - 57:08
    B: Yeah, no, we don't worry
    about that at all. I mean, it's…
  • 57:08 - 57:12
    It's weird because for a while, there
    was something to worry about there,
  • 57:12 - 57:15
    because people's, y'know,
    trust in the media.
  • 57:15 - 57:22
    I mean, now it's just a… it's just
    a weird landscape, totally bizarre.
  • 57:22 - 57:25
    I mean, in terms of what people believe
    or don't believe.
  • 57:25 - 57:29
    One of the things that
    we do all the time, though, is
  • 57:29 - 57:35
    reveal our hoaxes immediately
    after we perpetrate them.
  • 57:35 - 57:39
    And so the result is that
    there is actually more information
  • 57:39 - 57:45
    as opposed to, you know,
    what we see as fake news
  • 57:45 - 57:47
    which is people
    who are perpetrating a hoax,
  • 57:47 - 57:51
    and they mean for it to
    exist for eternity, ideally.
  • 57:51 - 57:55
    Like, if you create a falsehood,
    and you're not revealing it,
  • 57:55 - 58:01
    that's the type of thing
    that the advertising industry,
  • 58:01 - 58:07
    PR agencies have done, and
    governments have done for centuries.
  • 58:07 - 58:13
    But our types of hoaxes
    are meant to be revealed right away.
  • 58:13 - 58:17
    H: All right. I have a mysterious question.
    B: Yes!
  • 58:17 - 58:20
    H: Oh, OK. Now I understand. What are
    your thoughts about the orange man?
  • 58:20 - 58:22
    And I've just realized that
    that's Donald Trump.
  • 58:22 - 58:27
    B: Oh, I don't know if I would have gone...
    H: Or just unrelated orange person,
  • 58:27 - 58:30
    if you know any.
    B: Yeah, I mean, it's confusing for me
  • 58:30 - 58:34
    because an orange man. I started thinking
    about Poland and about there's all kinds
  • 58:34 - 58:41
    of orange people here and there, but
    chuckles
    Or orange movements. Anyway, the
  • 58:41 - 58:47
    orange man, oh, God, no. Horrible.
    H: All right, so the Dutch national
  • 58:47 - 58:50
    football team, what's your opinion? That's
    different orange men, right?
  • 58:50 - 58:55
    B: Yes, the Dutch football. I have to,
    have to be a fan because my mother is
  • 58:55 - 59:00
    Dutch. What can I say? And also, it's like
    a tiny country and I like kind of an
  • 59:00 - 59:05
    underdog that still out…like…does really
    ridiculously well. I mean, I don't know.
  • 59:05 - 59:10
    I don't know. I'm not…
    Football is awesome. Yes. Why not?
  • 59:10 - 59:13
    Nothing that wrong with it.
    chuckles
  • 59:13 - 59:17
    H: Is there a reason you don't have a bulb
    in your socket on your ceiling?
  • 59:17 - 59:22
    B: Oh, yeah.
    It's because I moved it to here.
  • 59:22 - 59:24
    laughs
    H: Ahh, nice.
  • 59:24 - 59:31
    B: This is my studio lighting and I got
    rid of that one and I created this one.
  • 59:31 - 59:35
    H: It looks great. I also have
    all the lights pointed at me now.
  • 59:35 - 59:39
    B: chuckles
    Thanks for that question. I like it.
  • 59:39 - 59:44
    H: Here.That's interesting. Can we trace
    the lineage of the tire rubber ducks into
  • 59:44 - 59:49
    Chinese umbrellas back to that taped
    bread? I think it's about these helmets.
  • 59:49 - 59:53
    B: Yes. Yes, definitely.
    chuckles
  • 59:53 - 60:00
    I don't know actually. If anybody can do
    that, do let me know. The empty bulb,
  • 60:00 - 60:06
    though. I'm putting my finger on right
    now. Here. Reminds me, though, that this
  • 60:06 - 60:11
    is like another… I remember the CIA
    sabotage manual that they were dropping on
  • 60:11 - 60:18
    El Salvador…actually, on Nicaragua. Sorry.
    Where they were encouraging people to like
  • 60:18 - 60:24
    sabotage everywhere because at the time it
    was, y'know, communist. And so the idea
  • 60:24 - 60:30
    was that if people broke everything, then
    the country would come to a standstill.
  • 60:30 - 60:34
    So they suggested things like taking the
    light bulb out and putting a coin in there
  • 60:34 - 60:40
    and putting the light bulb back in. So, I
    don't know. You know, everybody uses these
  • 60:40 - 60:49
    tactics. Again, thinking about the
    CIA's flying penis. You know.
  • 60:49 - 60:54
    H: Oh, now it is the CIA.
    B: Yeah, CIA sabotage manuals.
  • 60:54 - 60:58
    H: Maybe one last question.
    Do you have any projects in the pipeline?
  • 60:58 - 61:01
    I mean, I assume you don't want
    to talk about them, but you can.
  • 61:01 - 61:07
    B: You know, we have a movie about walls
    that we're working on. But we took a
  • 61:07 - 61:14
    hiatus with COVID. And we have a whole
    bunch of other things that are in the
  • 61:14 - 61:18
    works. Some of them we're doing
    independently, not as the Yes Men. But I'm
  • 61:18 - 61:24
    doing stuff and Andy is doing stuff. And
    yeah, we're also always trying to
  • 61:24 - 61:32
    recalibrate because, you know, the terrain
    is changing so quickly. And it's such a
  • 61:32 - 61:36
    strange and interesting moment,
    particularly in the United States,
  • 61:36 - 61:41
    but also all over the world.
    H: Yeah, there's a... I mean, there's many
  • 61:41 - 61:46
    questions that are along the lines of
    like, how do you feel about satire in this
  • 61:46 - 61:51
    year when it's just seems like half the
    news is satire. Right? Or at least it
  • 61:51 - 61:57
    feels just completely unhinged. Right?
    B: Yeah. And I don't think a lot of times
  • 61:57 - 62:01
    it doesn't... I don't think satire about
    Donald Trump works. I don't even think
  • 62:01 - 62:05
    that any of this stuff that was on
    Saturday Night Live was funny. You know,
  • 62:05 - 62:10
    where they impersonate the people in the
    administration. It's just like worse
  • 62:10 - 62:15
    versions of the real thing that's really
    funny if you could actually laugh about it
  • 62:15 - 62:20
    it if it wasn't real. I mean, it must
    have been the same, like looking at Hitler
  • 62:20 - 62:23
    in the in the 30's, you know, like you
    probably look at that and think this
  • 62:23 - 62:30
    cannot be real. But, you know, here's this
    crazy looking guy saying crazy shit. And
  • 62:30 - 62:35
    so then what do you do? And I think that
    you you choose different tactics for a
  • 62:35 - 62:39
    while, but you fight.
    H: It seems like the funniest thing to do
  • 62:39 - 62:43
    for him, would to just pretend he's giving
    a coherent speech. Right?
  • 62:43 - 62:47
    B: Totally. Yeah. I mean, it is like…
    laughs
  • 62:47 - 62:49
    He keeps outdoing himself.
  • 62:49 - 62:53
    What happened in the final weeks of
    the campaign and just after,
  • 62:53 - 63:00
    with Giuliani and the Four Seasons Total
    Landscaping, and the face melting off,
  • 63:00 - 63:03
    and the… I mean, there were so
    many things where you just like
  • 63:03 - 63:10
    the levels of crazy theater were…
    Oh man. I… Yeah. Anyway.
  • 63:10 - 63:14
    H: I mean, you could have definitely just
    claimed that as a Yes Men stunt.
  • 63:14 - 63:20
    B: Definitely. Definitely.
    It was a stroke of genius that. laughs
  • 63:20 - 63:22
    H: Yes. Alright, maybe a last question.
  • 63:22 - 63:27
    Do you have any things
    that failed spectacularly that you…
  • 63:27 - 63:29
    B: Yes!
    H: …want reveal to the world?
  • 63:29 - 63:34
    B: Yes. We have many things that have
    failed spectacularly. And there's some of
  • 63:34 - 63:40
    them that you can read about on the Yes
    Men website, which is at theyesmen.org.
  • 63:40 - 63:43
    And one in particular that
    I recommend reading about
  • 63:43 - 63:49
    that we documented, at least in text,
    is an event where we impersonated a
  • 63:49 - 63:54
    group called the International Web Police
    who claimed to be securing the Internet.
  • 63:54 - 64:00
    This is back in the late 90's,
    or around 2002 or something.
  • 64:00 - 64:07
    Anyway, it was a funny event. And… yes.
    I'm not going to get into it here.
  • 64:07 - 64:12
    But it amuses me just to think about it.
    chuckles
  • 64:12 - 64:16
    H: All right. Thank you very much.
  • 64:16 - 64:18
    B: Thank you so much!
    H: Somehow you have disappeared from my screen.
  • 64:18 - 64:21
    All right. Now there you are.
    Well, thank you.
  • 64:21 - 64:23
    B: Thank you!
  • 64:23 - 64:28
    H: I think we will go offline
    at some random point now.
  • 64:28 - 64:30
    Goodbye, Internet.
  • 64:30 - 64:31
    B: Goodbye.
  • 64:31 - 64:32
    postroll music
  • 64:32 - 65:10
    Subtitles created by c3subtitles.de
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Title:
#rC3 - The Yes Men from Tricksters in an age of dirty tricks
Description:

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Video Language:
English
Duration:
01:05:11

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