Watching the Yes Men Rule the World for the second time in this week’s screening really had me thinking about how powerful their “stunts” are and what makes them so effective. I came to the conclusion that its two things: 1. Its funny. It doesn’t feel like someone trying to teach you how to change the world, they simply inspire their audiences to do so in the way they go about their activism. 2. They highlight the issues on a deeper level of specificity. They are not simply tackling “global warming” or “class disparities” as these are sometimes to vague and faceless to inspire change. But rather, they address specific issues of injustice such as their interview as Dow Chemical which illuminated the lack of responsibility assumed the company on the 20th anniversary of the Bhopal tragedy. I think these two things: humor and specificity are two super important tools to be used from the Yes Men brand activism.

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4 responses »

  1. amihk says:

    I agree with you! I think that them making it funny also made the audience easier to follow with their actions and think of these issues from a new perspective since there aren’t many activists that does pranks to companies

  2. sonyajendoubi says:

    Though I believe that humor is a great tool to engage viewers, I do question whether or not it trivializes serious issues. I would also be curious to know whether or not people remember the PSA more when humor is used to convey the message or when it is done in a serious manner.

    • zainjazara says:

      I echo Sonya here and push her point a step further: are there follow-throughs with their stunts? I posted about this but to reiterate, I struggle to see their effectiveness after their initial grasp of attention. I believe they draw attention very well to very important issues, but I’m left asking, then what? Do they start campaigns, fundraisers, petitions etc? What do they do after they have our attention?

      • alexanderlandau says:

        I understand your concern. But, I feel that catching the audiences attention is enough. It seems that the job of the Yes Men isn’t necessarily to solve any issues but to get people thinking about injustices happening around them. Getting people to critically think about something is a feat. It’s then up to individuals watching the Yes Men to take the initiative and fight to fix any injustice they are passionate about.

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