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By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

Yes Men, we have no housing today: the sequel

Too true to be good: “A prankster posing as a federal housing official took centre stage at a New Orleans event with the city mayor and the governor of Louisiana, controversially promising to throw open closed public housing to thousands of poor former city residents,” Reuters reports, via The Scotsman. Oh-oh: are the Yes Men in town? yes_men.jpg Report Peter Henderson and Matt Daily, “The stunt, which the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development called a “cruel hoax,” was the latest by an activist group known as “The Yes Men” who have previously masqueraded as World Trade Organisation officials announcing they were disbanding the body. Activist Andy Bichlbaum, pretending to be HUD “Assistant Deputy Secretary Rene Oswin,” told hundreds of businesspeople at a forum the agency would reverse policy and reopen housing units now targeted for replacement by mixed-income development. He promised to “fix New Orleans, not just for the benefit of a few but for everyone.” The audience applauded the speech and the moderator thanked “Oswin” for the “dramatic announcement.” A cruel hoax, indeed. “Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco and New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin gave the preceding speeches at The Gulf Reconstruction and Hurricane Preparedness Summit, although neither was on the podium when the bogus official spoke… Later, the group provided barbecued chicken and ribs to contractors at an open public housing development while a brass band belted out New Orleans jazz…. Mike Bonanno, the second “Yes Man,” told Reuters the hoax was a bittersweet achievement. “It’s helped us to become the people we wish we could be to correct the problems,” he said.” Here’s coverage by The Times-Picayune’s invaluable NOLA.com. The documentary The Yes Men does a fair job of showing the pair’s brass; their website is here.

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“Let’s lay it right on the line. Bigotry and racism are among the deadliest social ills plaguing the world today. But, unlike a team of costumed super-villains, they can’t be halted with a punch in the snoot, or a zap from a ray gun. The only way to destroy them is to expose them—to reveal them for the insidious evils they really are. The bigot is an unreasoning hater—one who hates blindly, fanatically, indiscriminately. If his hang-up is black men, he hates ALL black men. If a redhead once offended him, he hates ALL redheads. If some foreigner beat him to a job, he’s down on ALL foreigners. He hates people he’s never seen—people he’s never known—with equal intensity—with equal venom. Now, we’re not trying to say it’s unreasonable for one human being to bug another. But, although anyone has the right to dislike another individual, it’s totally irrational, patently insane to condemn an entire race—to despise an entire nation—to vilify an entire religion. Sooner or later, we must learn to judge each other on our own merits. Sooner or later, if man is ever to be worthy of his destiny, we must fill out hearts with tolerance. For then, and only then, will we be truly worthy of the concept that man was created in the image of God–a God who calls us ALL—His children.”
~ Stan Lee, 1965

“I’m more and more interested in Godard’s idea that not much matters except dealing with the present moment, that when you look at history, you’ve got to refract it through your awareness of the present. I mean, I’m interested in history, and here I am talking about biopics, but I don’t want to run from the present. And the idea of time-travel through CGI feels like a magic trick that might be an evasion of other issues. Besides, I like working with real actors in real spaces. Can’t help it.”
~ Michael Almereyda