The Yes Men (Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno) pose as top-notch representatives for large corporations and nations…yes, nations. At the Copenhagen Climate Conference last December, The Yes Men delivered a faux press release claiming Canada was reversing its position on climate change. And how can one forget the jaw-dropping statements made by "spokesperson for Dow Chemical" accepting full responsibility for the Bhopal disaster on worldwide news station BBC?
Needless to say, they have a knack for striking chords of condemnation and admiration, stimulating polar perspectives simultaneously. Their latest documentary, "The Yes Men Fix the World," has been hailed as "a riotous reminder that patriotism is often misconstrued as troublemaking."
This talk at the Commonwealth Club features Andy Bichlbaum, leading member of the Yes Men.
Jacque Servin (also known as Andy Bichlbaum) is one of the leading members of The Yes Men, a culture jamming activist group. Their exploits in "identity correction" are documented in the films The Yes Men and The Yes Men Fix the World. As Ray Thomas, he is a co-founder of RTMark.
A former Maxis employee, he was fired after secretly adding code into the game SimCopter that would cause sprites of males in swimming trunks kissing each other to appear on certain dates. This was not discovered until after the game had been published. The resulting media storm, which Servin says he didn't expect, inspired him to start RTMark, a bulletin board for similar actions, but whose goal was to get attention for under-reported issues.
Servin is also the author of two books of short stories, published with FC2.
He teaches as an assistant professor in subversion at Parsons The New School for Design in New York City.
Joe Garofoli writes about media at the intersection of politics and culture for the San Francisco Chronicle, an extension of a beat he created several years ago called Red and Blue to examine the political and cultural differences in the country. Over the past 20 years of feature writing, he has covered Seventh Avenue fashion shows, the Jeffrey Dahmer serial murders, two Olympic Games and been on the road covering the presidential race in Missouri and Ohio.
He has won national and regional awards for health, education and lifestyle stories and column writing during a journalistic journey that has taken him from Chicago to Fort Lauderdale to Washington, D.C. to Milwaukee to the Bay Area. He received his masters and undergraduate degrees in journalism from Northwestern University.
Andy Bichlbaum, member of activist duo The Yes Men, explains how he managed to impersonate a representative from Dow Chemical on BBC World. The prank sent the company's stock plummeting; $2 billion was lost in twenty minutes. He questions the ethical implications of the event, saying: "It's really dire that a company does the right thing, and gets punished by the stock market."