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” … highly readable guide to activist tactics and principles … “

Neil Ungerleider, Fast Company Magazine

Everyone has balls/ovaries of steel

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In Sum

Courage is in the eye of the beholder.

Many people over the years have said to the Yes Men (and many other activists) that they have “balls of steel,” an impolite way of saying that they are courageous. This is simply not so.

Watch any pre-conference moment of The Yes Men Fix the World and you will see a great deal of nervousness. It has even been said that Andy is a good bit more nervous than the average bear. “He’s a real nervous nellie,” says longtime friend-of-Andy, Joseph R. Wolin. This is even more remarkable because the contexts in which the Yes Men operate are entirely without threat, populated mainly by timid, polite men in suits who would never endanger their reputation by hitting someone.

What the Yes Men have, which is mistaken for courage, is a need to follow through on crazy ideas (single-mindedness), and an ability to goad each other on to do so (peer pressure). Really, this formula can be reproduced by anyone.

Andy Bichlbaum (AKA Jacques Servin) got his start as an activist when, as a computer programmer, he inserted a swarm of kissing boys in a shoot-'em-up video game just before it shipped to store shelves, and found himself fired, famous, and hugely amused. Now, Andy helps run the Yes Lab for Creative Activism as part of his job as professor of subversion at New York University. Bichlbaum once flew down the Nile in a two-seater airplane, bringing a live goat to a remote Sudanese village as a hostess gift for a homecoming party. (The party was fun and the goat was insanely delicious.)

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