Lie to me.
I've heard everything from "my secret fracking fluid is safe", to "I need sweetheart regulation and tax deals for my Big Oil and Gas folks because we are still having trouble making ends meet in our family." Can you convince a room of kids that fracking is safe using cupcakes and icing? Encana can. How about having kids compare natural gas to farting in Spectra Energy's "Kids Say [the] Darndest Things About Natural Gas"?
And there really is a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FPCA) blog, but the Yes Men have us wondering about the truth in ways that make us smarter by asking us to verify the legitimacy of the messages we receive through the media. Their work makes urgent civil disobedience by activists such as Appalachia Rising and scientists like James Hansen look all the more vibrant.
Unlike Josh Fox and Michael Moore whose "in your face" documentaries rub the liars' nose in doodoo, Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno serve up matter-of-fact impersonations that put their personalities in the back seat. Their tagline: "Sometimes it takes a lie to expose the truth."
Where is the truth about the Marcellus Shale gas play? It's here and out there, far flung from British Columbia, Wyoming, Colorado through Texas, Louisiana, Alabama to Pennsylvania, New York and on to Poland, Paris, Malaysia, China, India, and Nigeria; from corporate corruption to lax government oversight and environmental justice. It's hiding in the boardrooms waiting for the whistle blowers and insiders to say that we really needed those environmental impact statements to be honest after all, after there is not a drop of water left to drink. (Neil Zusman, Jan. 30, 2011.)
Fake Newspaper/Database, real website as reported by YesMen, Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno.
See: Video - The Yes Men Fix the World. (2009). Full 1:35 video from YouTube below.
June 18, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TOP HEADLINE: WORLD LEADERS SIGN PACT TO AVERT CLIMATE DISASTER
Newspaper Ignites Hope, Announces "Civil Disobedience Database"
In a front-page ad in today's International Herald Tribune, the leaders of the European Union thank the European public for having engaged in months of civil disobedience leading up to the Copenhagen climate conference that will be held this December. "It was only thanks to your massive pressure over the past six months that we could so dramatically shift our climate-change policies.... To those who were arrested, we thank you."
There was only one catch: the paper was fake.
Looking exactly like the real thing, but dated December 19th, 2009, a million copies of the fake paper were distributed worldwide by thousands of volunteers in order to show what could be achieved at the Copenhagen climate conference that is scheduled for Dec. 7-18, 2009. (At the moment, the conference is aiming for much more modest cuts, dismissed by leading climate scientists as too little, too late to stave off runaway processes that will lead to millions or even billions of casualties.)
The paper describes in detail a powerful (and entirely possible) new treaty to bring carbon levels down below 350 parts per million - the level climate scientists say we need to achieve to avoid climate catastrophe. One article describes how a website, http://BeyondTalk.net, mobilized thousands of people to put their bodies on the line to confront climate change policies - ever since way back in June, 2009.
Although the newspaper is a fake (its production and launch were coordinated by Greenpeace), the website is real. Beyondtalk.net is part of a growing network of websites calling for direct action on climate change, building on statements made in recent months by noted political figures. (For example, in September Nobel laureate Al Gore asserted that "we have reached the stage where it is time for civil disobedience to prevent the construction of new coal plants.")
See: Stephen Holden. "All Suited Up for Mischief, to Rumple Stuffed Shirts." NYT. Oct. 7, 2009.
See: The Yes Men. "Chevron - We Agree."
See: Anne C. Mulkern. "U.S. Chamber Sues Activists Over Climate Stunt." NYT. Oct. 27, 2009.