Is capitalism on the ropes, or what? First came that embarrassing global financial crisis. Then, though the charge is dubious, the teabaggers bruised capitalism’s image by claiming that our president has abandoned it for socialism.
Now it’s taking its lumps from filmmakers: earlier this month from Michael Moore, and this week from culture-jamming performance artists the Yes Men. Writers Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno (who direct, with Kurt Engfehr) stage Yippie-influenced hoaxes to point out the rapaciousness of corporations — and to offer their own, often amusing market corrections.
The most successful — like the time Bichlbaum poses as a rep from Dow Chemical and announces on the BBC that the company will pay out $12 billion to the victims of the Bhopal gas leak — put multi-nationals (or even the US government) in the crosshairs. But when the butts of the jokes are mid-level losers at meaningless conferences, the guerrilla theater seems misdirected, even cruel.