Wednesday, November 12, 2008

YES THEY CAN! ... Yes Men Strike Again!

By J. Thomas Duffy

You may have heard about this today, or, perhaps seen it (maybe even have gotten a copy).

Those irascible gents from The Yes Men struck again.

Fake 'NYT' Distributed: War Ends! Tom Friedman Resigns!

Fake copies of the NYT, possibly a year in the making, were distributed in the city today, and apparently some commuters thought it was for real. The banner announces the end of the Iraq war and other stories reveal that Tom Friedman has resigned and so on. It's set in the future--next July.

Alex S. Jones, director of the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, and a co-author of “The Trust,” a history of the family that controls The Times, said in a telephone interview that the paper should be flattered by the spoof.

“I would say if you’ve got one, hold on to it,” Mr. Jones, a former Times reporter, said of the fake issue. “It will probably be a collector’s item. I’m just glad someone thinks The New York Times print edition is worthy of an elaborate hoax. A Web spoof would have been infinitely easier. But creating a print newspaper and handing it out at subway stations? That takes a lot of effort.”

He added, “I consider this a gigantic compliment to The Times.”

You can go HERE to visit the website of the spoof edition (and be patient, it's got some heavy traffic, so you may have to try a few times to get on).

And, if you are not hip to The Yes Men, whose motto, more or less, is "Impersonating big-time criminals in order to publicly humiliate them. Targets are leaders and big corporations who put profits ahead of everything else."

Here's an example of one of their previous efforts:

Yes Men Strike Oil: Civil Disobedients Make Modest Flesh-to-Fuel Proposal

"Without oil, at least four billion people would starve. This spiral of trouble would make the oil infrastructure utterly useless" -- unless their bodies could be turned into fuel.

That was the satirical message delivered by two corporate ethics activists to the Gas and Oil Exposition 2007 in Calgary, Alberta. The activists, part of political trickster collective the Yes Men, used the Exposition to stage their latest theatre of corporate absurdity, with Exxon/Mobil and the Natural Petroleum Council playing the fools.

The prank, intended as a critique of the fossil fuel industry's influence on energy policy, caused confusion and consternation on the final day of the Exposition, one of the industry's largest gatherings.

After noting that current energy policies will likely lead to "huge global calamities" and disrupt oil supplies, Wolff told the audience "that in the worst case scenario, the oil industry could "keep fuel flowing" by transforming the billions of people who die into oil," said a Yes Men press release.

Yes Man Mike Bonnano, posing as an Exxon representative named Florian Osenberg, added that "With more fossil fuels comes a greater chance of disaster, but that means more feedstock for Vivoleum. Fuel will continue to flow for those of us left."

More on The Yes Man website: "Exxon's Climate-Victim Candles."

Also this -- Halliburton solves global warming!

Hysterical stuff!

So, for a day, at least, the old Grey Lady, The New York Times, was "All The News Fit To Spoof."

(Cross-posted at The Garlic.)

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