January 7, 2001
6:53 PM   Subscribe

Found in today's Times: It takes some time to wind up, but this could be the finest and most thorough Internet hoax ever, at least that I am aware of.
posted by luke (12 comments total)
Heh. After so many sarcastic comments about unclear or ambiguous posts, I make one myself, as this could really be more explicit as to what it is linking to. My bad.
posted by luke at 7:02 PM on January 7, 2001

Ahhh....brings a tear to my eye. THAT'S how you make a political statement, m'friends. Make your point while giving the ghosts of the Three Stooges something to smile about.
posted by Optamystic at 7:47 PM on January 7, 2001

Yeah, I gotta say, even though I'm not sure I agree with the ideology that prompted the hoax, it's the sort of thing that's likely to actually be effective, and it was an extremely clever action. If every political statement was this clever, I'd be complaining a lot less about 'em.
posted by kindall at 9:37 PM on January 7, 2001

Hey Kindall...
You call that clever? How about calling it what it reall is: just plain old lying! While I can't fault The Yes Men for trying new ways to get their agenda across, at least they could be honest about what they are doing and how they going about doing it.
posted by Bag Man at 11:37 PM on January 7, 2001

I don't mind the lying/deception part... A good con can be a fine thing.

What I find disheartening is that The Yes Men went to all that trouble, and came up with something so... lame. I guess the humor is supposed to be found in the fact that they could pull off the hoax at all, but I'd be more impressed if any of the "jokes" had actually been funny. {shrug}

posted by aurelian at 1:11 AM on January 8, 2001

As a fan of Joey Skaggs I can appreciate the value of a prank for its own sake.

What I am struggling to figure out here is whether or not the Doctor's speech did in fact ever take place. Is the whole thing a web hoax or did the character turn up and give the original presentation?
posted by tobyslater at 3:13 AM on January 8, 2001

I thought it was very clever the way they tested the conference-goers by bringing up two very offensive issues: the laziness of Italians and the best way for corporations to buy elections. The conference-goers failed by not even objecting to the notion of vote auctions.

Not all humor is knock-knock and fart jokes.
posted by luke at 7:27 AM on January 8, 2001

I call it clever because it plays on people's tendency to believe everything they read, especially on the Net. Also, it goes all the way, rather than just stopping with the site. I appreciate this.
posted by kindall at 8:37 AM on January 8, 2001

The power of academic discourse can be deadening.

So is "Mike Moore" Michael M. Moore of Flint, Michigan fame?
posted by mecran01 at 9:10 AM on January 8, 2001

I was about to ask if that was "the" Mike Moore, myself. I assume though, that we would have heard about it. He tends to publicize his missions quite well. That, and it seems a bit heady for him..
posted by fnirt at 11:36 AM on January 8, 2001

Um, no. This would be Michael Moore, the director general of the WTO and the former prime minister of New Zealand.
posted by luke at 1:40 PM on January 8, 2001

Not all humor is knock-knock and fart jokes.

Oh, agreed. But it's just... to give you something to calibrate against, when it comes to political stuff, I find PJ O'Rourke to be funny. Adam Gopnik, covering the French. Paul Fussell on the class system in the US. Molly Ivins, even. Paul Krugman, on the economy. Billy Connolly or Bill Bailey in the UK ("You can just tell that Wittgenstein had no mates!"). Midnight Oil or Bruce Cockburn, musically. You'll notice this bunch is a fairly mixed bag, ideologically.

My complaint about this thing is that these guys went to all the trouble of infiltrating the conference, and getting the attendees to believe that they really were from the WTO... and then, instead of something outrageous, the best they can come up with is a mildly wacked-out absent-minded professor. It's like those times during the Olympics, when they go out among the crowd, and say, "You're now talking to 2 billion people -- what do you have to say?" "Uhhhhhhhh... Hi, Ma!" It seems remarkably tame, trite, and, well, unfunny.

YMMV, obviously, but this really does seem to me to be all setup, and no punch line. I guess you can say it's post-modern that way, but still... :)

posted by aurelian at 3:57 PM on January 8, 2001

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