How a big gold penis came to symbolize corporate power

Even a huge golden penis, swelling alone in an auditorium full of corporate leaders, can make no sound.

Shortly after the New York Times publishes a full page about our trickery in Salzburg, the organizers of a textiles conference in Tampere, Finland make the same exact error, mistaking our fake WTO website for the real one. They invite the "WTO" to give their keynote address; Andy and Mike are, of course, glad to oblige.

This time, Mike and Andy decide to cook up more drastic fare. The lawyers in Salzburg hadn't noticed anything wrong with our talk, so we ask Mike's friend Sal Salamone, a costume designer in Hollywood, if he could make us a truly outrageous costume that would demonstrate in one unambiguous image what corporate freedom is all about.

After a time-zone screwup—they hadn't realized Finland was ahead of the rest of Europe, meaning they had 5 minutes instead of an hour to change into costume—Andy begins his keynote speech to the textiles scientists, engineers, and managers in attendance. He first describes how the US Civil War was a great waste of money, because slavery would have been replaced by remote sweatshop labor, anyhow.

After several additional tasteless "jokes" about Gandhi, he got to the crux of the talk: today's rich-world corporate managers don't want to go to the "shithole countries" where their workers live, and furthermore don't have enough leisure. There's a technological answer. Andy spreads out his arms, and Mike rips off a breakaway business suit to reveal a shimmering golden leotard—which, when Andy pulls a rip-cord in his crotch, sports a three-foot-long golden phallus: the "Employee Visualization Appendage," which allows managers to control far-off workers while engaging in healthful leisure.

The real goal here, of course, is to clarify how dangerous it is to equate human freedom with a free market. But nobody gets it; instead, the audience rewards what they think is the WTO with a healthy round of applause, and no questions. A reporter snaps photos. As they wander around discussing the presentation with attendees, a couple of people admit being mystified by the appendage, but no one is bothered by the content of the speech, even when they're reminded about the references to slavery. Finally one woman admits being terribly offended—because the "appendage" implied that only men can be factory managers. Finally, at dinner, the conference organizer seats Andy at the table of honor. It's only the next day, when a reporter informs him it's fake, that he realizes it was all a ruse, and he's furious.

The fact that nobody got it, of course, doesn't matter. It would have been great if someone had gotten the point, but the 2004 movie in which it figured got wide distribution and communicated to hundreds of thousands of viewers that corporate leaders can hear the most horrible ideas imaginable and not raise a peep. So who needs to be watching? You. And you and you and you.