What we found is that audiences want to do something. And we're hoping that that desire to do something translates into reality.
What happened after that prank?
We never heard back from Dow. They decided to not speak. We have never been prosecuted by any of these companies. And it's probably because we've always maintained the moral and ethical high ground. The corporations are doing things that are undeniably bad for people and the environment. And so it's hard for them to attack us and come off well in the court of public opinion. So we've begun to rely on that, and it's made us more brazen and bolder over the years.
What do you think about the state of investigative journalism today?
I think it's super critical to a functioning democracy. And it's a real shame that right now so many journalists are being put out of work. If we don't have an informed citizenry we can't hope to have representative democracy that works at all. And unfortunately, with so many media companies being owned by the same corporations and individuals, and now with journalism essentially becoming non-professionalized, with basically paid journalism being replaced by blogging and Twittering, things have really thinned out and our ability to get useful information is seriously hampered.
There are still the star investigative journalists out there who are doing great work and who are still paid for it. But there's only payroll for a few Seymour Hirsches. It's a lack of analysis of all kinds of political events in the world right now that I think is really hurting public knowledge. So we need more of it. It should be funded.
Where is your work headed? What can we expect to see next from The Yes Men?
Well, it's always hard to see where we're going and what we're gonna do. But right now, it seems like things are at a pretty desperate path. The effects of our consumer culture, or our unregulated free market system, if you prefer, have been pretty bad around the world. But now we're faced with a situation where it could very well mean the end of our civilization as we know it. So I think the time has come for really big change. So that's where I think we're interested in going, is trying to see how we can broaden our risk taking and help a lot of people take the sort of risks that are necessary to create change.
And there are a lot of concrete steps that we're taking to enroll people in this movement. People who see the film on HBO and want to do something should go to our BeyondTalk.net website which we're collaborating on with a bunch of other organizations, and sign up for our mailing list. People can say where they live, and we'll be able to contact them when there's something going down in their area. It's a data base that is meant to help motivate people to action when action is needed, which is now.
What have you learned from the people who've seen your films?
What we've found is that audiences want to do something. And we're hoping that that desire to do something translates into reality. And we're trying to facilitate that every way we can. Of course, people can also start their own organizations and act independently and try to do what's necessary to stop climate change, since that's the issue that sort of trumps all others right now. That's what we're asking, and that's what we're hoping for.