I recently went to see the docu-movie 'The Yes Men', a film about two radical dudes and their radical friends who impersonate WTO spokesmodels to righteous (or should that be 'lefteous'?) and often hilarious effect. I enjoyed the film, found myself laughing at the appropriate places (unlike quite a few of my fellow audience), and overall quite recommend it. In fact, if you haven't already, then go see it. Now. And yet..and yet...there is a part of my political self that is sent vaguely akilter by the Yes Men experience. Here is why.
But before I do anything else, let me justify my political position. I am aware of the evils (real or imagined) of the WTO. I am aware of global poverty, and the plight of workers in the world (both developing and developed). I see myself, in short, as a liberal right-thinking individual. And that I feel I need to state this before I can be critical of this film is quite probably the main critique I have against it.
What the Yes Men say and do during the film, to several audiences worldwide, is clever and subversive. I am sold on their message. However, I was sold before I went in to the film. I cannot imagine that I would have 'gotten' what the film was about had I not bought into it beforehand. For this reason, I am perturbed. I want a film that right-wing globalization embracers can go to and be enlightened. But that seems frankly impossible, any more than I could read an Ann Coulter book and come away 'enlightened' (admittedly I haven't tried it, but her blog is quite enough to scare me off, thank you.)
So is asking for a funny righteously radical film which could both amuse and inform unrighteous reactionaries asking for too, too much?
*This works better for Danish speakers...'men' in Danish is 'but' in English.