I'd always wanted to meet the Yes Men. Tricksters, after all, are the ones who can tell the hardest truths and escape without losing their necks.
So when I found out the Yes Men were planning a stunt in New York on a day I would be in the city with my adult daughter and nearly adult son, we agreed to help out. The stunt itself was a closely guarded secret until the last minute—we only knew it involved climate change. Late on Sunday, we received, via Twitter, a list of places we could meet up.
The stunt turned out to be a print run of over a million copies of a fake edition of the New York Post, with the headline "We're Screwed."
Dozens of co-conspirators took to street corners and subway entrances giving away free copies of the "Post" to unsuspecting passers-by.
"This isn't really the Post?" one reader asked me after reading the paper.
"No, but it's all true and fact checked," I told him. "It's just that the New York Post isn't telling you this story."
World leaders are meeting at the United Nations this week in preparation for talks in Copenhagen.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has made it a top priority to "seal the deal" on a climate agreement in Copenhagen: "Climate change ... is the fundamental threat to humankind," he says.
Maybe the ersatz New York Post will help. Michael Bonnano, of the Yes Men, put it this way when I asked him what he felt the prank accomplished: "You know we recently had a pyramid scheme disaster with housing. If you have that kind of disaster with the entire planet, then you're screwed. We're out here trying to prevent that."
You can read this edition of the New York Post here.
Find YES! Magazine's coverage of previous Yes Men stunts here.
A particular favorite of mine is this one, about the time the Yes Men announced the end of the WTO and the launching of a new trade organization that would assure trade is just and sustainable.