You know the dog days of summer are upon us when the Washington Post’s television highlights include tonight’s The Yes Men Fix the World, a new HBO documentary about those zany activists/performance artists, who go around impersonating corporate executives.

Their particular form of protest comes from poking fun at serious issues such as world trade rules, corporate greed and the human role in global warming. And, they are so good at it that the suits usually don’t know the joke is on them until it’s way beyond face-saving time.

They’ve pinioned officials at the World Trade Organization, FEMA and Halliburton. In my book, I included their 2007 antics at a Canadian oil convention. Impersonating executives from ExxonMobil and the National Petroleum Council, The Men had a roomful of industry types on their feet and solemnly lighting candles made from what they claimed to be the next big renewable energy source: Vivoleum, a “fossil fuel” supposedly made from the human flesh of people killed in hurricanes, floods and other global warming-related disasters.

Given what’s on TV this time of year, there are many worse ways to spend a Monday night. But even before seeing it, I have a complaint for the filmmakers: the title. The Yes Men certainly make it more fun to fret about corporate corruption and lack of political will, but change the world? At best, they call attention to its many dysfunctions.

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