First of all, for those who have never seen it, let's start off by watching one of the greatest, most brilliant, most successful, and most well deserved hoaxes in the history of political activism: On the 20th anniversary of the chemical disaster caused by Union Carbide in Bhopal, India, BBC World was taken in by a member of the Yes Men posing as a spokesman for Dow Chemical, which now owns Union Carbide. The spokesman, "Jude Finisterra" (actually Yes Man Andy Bichlbaum), announced that Dow Chemical was taking full responsibility for the disaster and allotting $12 billion of corporate money to compensate the victims.
I saw this live when it happened, my mouth dropped open, and even though I knew something was terribly wrong (for Dow and the BBC, that is) I wanted to believe it. Audacious, breathtaking, stunning political satire--so right on that it will bring tears to your eyes.
Now, the good news: The Yes Men are premiering a new movie, "The Yes Men Fix the World," on HBO beginning Monday evening July 27, and the film will go into U.S. theatrical release on October 7 (click on the links for full details.) Many of you may know this already from listening to Democracy Now last Thursday, or perhaps you just know because you are sharp and paying attention to what goes on around you. Whatever, be sure to see it either on television or in the cinema when it comes out, buy the DVD when it is available, and support these brilliant pranksters. We need them desperately.
PS--One of the Yes Men's most elaborate hoaxes was a special issue of the New York Times.
Science Monday. Must reading for human evolution fans is University of Chicago evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne's review of "The Link," the book about Ida, the most hyped primate fossil in scientific history. Coyne's bottom line: "The Link fails the very first requirement of science journalism: the need to go beyond the claims of enthusiasts and look at the evidence objectively." Interestingly, the review is on the Barnes and Noble site, which gives you the opportunity to buy it anyway with just a couple of clicks. (With thanks to AG for the tip.)