Presentation for the Big Games class on the Yes Men’s Identity Correction as a big game.
On the night of December 3rd 1984, a lethal gas leaking from a Union Carbide Corporation gas-plant in the city of Bhopal , India killed thousands of citizens. None of the security systems worked and no alarm warned the citizens. The man responsible for the disaster, Warren Anderson, faced multiple homicide charges in India, has fled India and the US does not make an effort to extradite him. (the FBI claims they can’t find him though he’s been living openly in Long-Island for years). Since then Union Carbide was bought by Dow Chemicals, and the citizens of Bhopal are suffering the consequences of the disaster.
Towards the tragedy’s 20th anniversary, the BBC approached the Dow-Carbide corporation through the site dowethics.com to respond on the subject in a live interview.
Unfortunately the interviewed representative of Dow was none other than the media activist Andy Bichlbaum from The Yes-Men:
Identity Theft – which is small-time criminals impersonate honest people in order to steal their money. Targets are ordinary folks whose ID numbers fell into the wrong hands.
Identity Correction – Honest people impersonate big-time criminals in order to publicly humiliate them. Targets are leaders and big corporations who put profits ahead of everything else.
Global Warming is not the problem it’s often made out to be. In fact, it’s a lethal weapon that’s free!
I believe that Identity Theft and all of the Yes Men’s work can be seen as a big game.
The rules – pretend to be a big-time criminal and unveil his ‘correct identity’ by pushing his agenda to the extreme.
The game-board – real life, real world, real media.
The challenge – manage to play on the thin line between absurdity to non-credibility.
The Goal – Use the media – television / the web / the street… to spread the word and make a satirical political critic.
To broaden the example, here’s another approach to Identity Correction. Ali G’s [Throw the Jew Down the Well] follows the same game-design with a slight change of rules: Pretend to be very stupid / primitive / racist in order to encourage people to present their correct identity – stupid / primitive / racist…