The Yes Men Fix the World
- Pages: 6
- Word count: 1343
- Category: Humanities
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In the documentary, The Yes Men Fix the World, Mike Bonanno and Andy Bichlbaum the two political activists expose the issues and misconduct of Corporations and depict the twisted logic of corporate capitalism. Bonanno and Bichlbaum lie their ways into conferences dress the part of corporate executives and have very convincing presentations along with visual aids and props to convince the audience they are authentic. They use humor, sarcasm and a variety of techniques to convince their captive audience and us the viewers to see things their way and to expose the misdoings of the corporations. During the dialogue they show both sides of the subject in their presentation this built more creditability and help us gain confidence in them because they appear to be telling the whole story. Bonanno and Bichlbaum impersonate professionals, use illustrations and facts to gain our trust, and play on our emotions by showing humans in distress, all in order to gain followers to their cause. I believe that this documentary did avery fine job of playing on the viewer’s emotions, and kept us concerned in the issues they present.
The rhetoricians have attempted to create feelings of compassion towards the victims affected by the misdoing of Corporations. To further persuade us at one point they show actual footage of a comedian who they named Reggie Watts, he is posing as a Exxon janitor they claim he is terminally ill and his wish is to come back as a candle, all done in a humorous manner. (51:43) Following Bichlbaum, presentation they hand out candles to the audience that when lit smell like burning flesh. This makes an emotional impact on their viewers and I had a shock reaction when I could see them relate to the smell. This is very moving although a little inconceivable for one to believe it could be reality. It makes us the viewer feel a bit distressed and surprised they would use humor in this approach. In another segment they travel to India and they show an actual clip of Bhopali victims (14:35) who were sickened by chemical poisoning at the hands of their employer Dow Corporation.
They go on to state facts and use very alarming statistics about the money paid to victims all going to the Texas victims. The people look very distraught, this footage is very heart retching; it made me feel, it is so unfair how they are being treated it was not honorable to treat people this way. I found it very moving and really it made me angry at the corporation for not caring anymore than they did for the health and life of these Indian people. All this made me develop a feeling of disappointment and disgust towards these businesses. They are successful at playing on our emotions and helping us to recognize issues their way when dealing with the possible death of employees of Dow. Playing on our sympathy is one of the most powerful ways used when trying to persuade an audience. Ethical appeals are used in this documentary when exposing Dow Chemical’s lack of concern for human life the men make a golden skeleton who they named Gilda presented with a puff of smoke, this prop is an excellent way in getting their point across. The image of the skeleton has an impact on me as it relates to dying it made me feel compassion for those that might be harmed.
They illustrate how Dow calculates the expectable risk on human life they state, “How they calculate the cash value of human life.” ( 16:56) For example, Andy when posing as Erastus Hamm is interviewing a representative from Dow he asked, what would you say to people who harp on the Bhopal catastrophe? He answers, “3000 people died that’s a tragedy, there is always a risk when going into the future (26:00) This further proves their lack of concern for human life as it relates to the capital of the Corporation. Throughout the film it shows Andy and Mike both being a person we can relate to they can be nervous and anxious often biting their nails and fiddling with things.
At one point in the film it shows how nervous Andy is, Mike was behind the camera says’ “Andy is about to go live in front of 300 million people…this is why he looks so nervous.” (10:01) Another example is when Andy is in bed pulling the covers over his head because he is anxious about the day ahead. (27:30) The fact that they are being so apprehensive makes us relate to them and builds a connection between the viewer and the Yes Men. Bonanno and Bichlbaum rely on statistics; data and what they say are hard facts as evidence and proof of the wrong doings of the businesses. They also show financial numbers regarding the company’s profits to demonstrate how they are more concerned about money than human life. When presenting these facts they use flip charts and power points to establish credit to the data.
They want Dow Chemical to show, “How they exactly calculate the cash value of human life?”(16:56) The use of these visual aids helps viewer gain trust in them faith in them is also enforced as we see the audience shaking their head in agreement during the lecture. The “Yes Men” in one presentation use a combination of humor, empathy and hard facts all at once. They are attending a conference for bankers posing as IBM PR Agents and in this case in order to really get to their audience in one example they use a golden skeleton as a prop. Bonanno says, “The only good skeleton is a golden skeleton.” (16:18) In this segment of the story they combine techniques in order to create a persuasive argument. The play on emotion by telling how there is not concern for human life when it comes to making profit is very powerful. Included in their presentation are photos of bags of money, they state facts and back it up with statistics and have it on large board with bold bright letter and clip art of bags of money. Bonanno and Bichlbaum appear reputable because this was done so efficient and professionally. All this is impressive and I also found it quite funny and outrageous.
Their use of facts, power point and data helped me to believe all that they were saying and the information was indeed true. I think particularly in this one scene it is very compelling evidence that the Dow Corporation is only concerned with making money and not about human life. The men do a very good job of getting their message across using different techniques. They persuaded me to believe in their cause. The objective of this film is to get the attention of the public and the media in hopes of exposing what these corporations are doing. The goal of their hoaxes is to humiliate the corporations into stopping these inhuman practices and to have more concern for their employees. The men’s actions are dramatic and clear making us believe in their expertise, trusting their facts to be truth and making us feel empathic to the victims.
They immensely achieve their goal by bringing awareness, getting these Corporations to act upon their conduct and getting followers for their cause. Very possibly they did not sway everyone however I think they did at least build a good enough case to make most people at the least think about what is going on. I personally believe in their cause and agree that the corrupt practices of these companies must stop. The Yes man documentary is informative and entertaining at the same time, the use of humor and sarcasm along with bold facts is a great combination in getting their point across. They succeed in persuading and gaining my trust not as executives of companies but as experts that are conveying the transgressions of the corporations while gaining supporters to join their fight again corrupt Corporations.