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Mike Daisey on Steve Jobs

edited May 2011
Has anyone seen his new show about Apple? Is anyone planning to go? there are 3 more performances. There is also a free Apple Museum in the lobby.

Sounds like some powerful, Niebuhrian stuff!


  • I just got back from this. It was incredibly powerful, maybe the most effective experiences I've had with art this year.
  • is it different than the thing he did at tba in 2010?
  • I guess the monolog is "always in progress"
  • I just saw Steve Jobs. I like that man.
  • Hey, so This American Life excerpted this on last week's episode podcast. You can still download it before Sunday at 7 when the next episode goes up!
  • Mike Daisey's piece provoked a response from Apple yesterday which was assessed in a post on the This American Life website:
  • worth noting that the FLA which Apple joined is widely understood to be an industry-controlled whitewashing group without truly independent monitoring. Which is why the Workers Rights Consortium was started back in 2001.

    How I miss the pre 9/11 heyday of the anti-sweatshop movement.
  • edited January 2012
    16 hour shifts, 12 year old workers, 15 people sleeping in 12' x 12' chambers under video surveillance.

    Stuff shouldn't be.

    There was a good quote in the epilogue-stuff at the website. Paraphrasing, "The 5 day week, 8 hour day and safe working conditions were the result of 100 years of US labor activism. By moving jobs overseas, manufacturers bypass this legacy of social investment."

    Triggers the image of starting the clock on 100 years of new activism to get everybody in around the world.
  • I recently watched this movie China Blue about the kids who make our jeans
    from 2006, quite good, check it out here:
  • This American Life retracted Mike Daisey's Apple episode:
    This American Life has retracted this story because we learned that many of Mike Daisey's experiences in China were fabricated.
  • Ira said:
    We're horrified to have let something like this onto public radio. Many dedicated reporters and editors - our friends and colleagues - have worked for years to build the reputation for accuracy and integrity that the journalism on public radio enjoys. It's trusted by so many people for good reason. Our program adheres to the same journalistic standards as the other national shows, and in this case, we did not live up to those standards.
  • Very interesting. I wonder how much of what he said was untrue.
  • Maybe the part where he meets secret union-organizers in a dark cafe and they reverently ask to see his iPhone. "I've never seen a finished one before."
  • I got so worked up about it, too... I'm no better than those Kony people
  • Ira Glass is good at marketing (and journalism).

    "This week, we devote the entire hour to detailing the errors in "Mr. Daisey Goes to the Apple Factory," Mike Daisey’s story about visiting Foxconn, an Apple supplier factory in China."
  • This is an insult to all of us who have supported Daisey's work. His ego is so huge he doesn't realize what he has done.
  • OMG that Kony thing is too perfect.
  • edited March 2012
    Literature is cool.
  • So, Daisey will say that he is an artist and not a journalist?
    Then what will happen?
  • Nothing.
  • edited March 2012
  • edited March 2012
    This whole retraction story is a tempest in a french press.

    Lies: He made up the dramatic scene with the guy with a mangled hand uses his iPad, he pretended he met underage workers and victims of n-hexane poisoning when it actually happened in different factories and/or at different times.

    Truth: The Foxconn factory has SUICIDE NETS around the dorm buildings. The NYTimes published an expose on Foxconn reporting that employees work seven days a week, live in crowded dorms, and stand so long that their legs swell until they can hardly walk. 137 workers at an Apple supplier in eastern China were injured after they were ordered to use a poisonous chemical to clean iPhone screens, two explosions at iPad factories (including in Chengdu) killed four people and injured 77. Before those blasts, Apple had been alerted to hazardous conditions inside the Chengdu plant and taken no precautions.

    This guy is making art about an important cause he cares about and is not trying to rip anyone off. Sounds to me like there's a PR firm out there somewhere earning every penny they are paid.
  • Yeah, this reeks of heavy pressure on Ira's team. A lot of tense phone calls from PR heavyweights for sure.
  • edited March 2012
    There's a difference between making art or theater about a social issue and making what appears to be a piece of journalism about a social issue.
    When asked to share his piece on This American Life he should have said HEY, You do know that this is embroidered, right? It's art, I am not a journalist, etc.
    But he didn't, and now he's retroactively (and quite coolly) stating that everyone should just chill 'cause he's a storyteller and he never said it was all true.

    I'm not even a fan and I think it really undercuts his work to let the lines blur to the point of this misunderstanding... it makes him look like a dick.

    It is, however, great that we all have a burgeoning awareness of the Apple/China situation. God, it makes me sad, as I sit here typing on my dumb computer.
  • I now put Daisey in the category of certain presidential candidates, members of Congress, and talk radio people who will say any lie that they think will advance their cause. There are just too many problems we need to solve to lie about shit.

    If you look at Daisey's blog and many, many press appearances, he has been repeating this stuff for quite some time in the non-fiction space.
  • >> the dramatic scene with the guy with a mangled hand uses his iPad

    that is what I was thinking was drama!
  • It is tough that he didn't just neglect to tell them but actively lied about it to the fact checkers and producers of that show. And not only that show but in many other outlets as well.

    But on the other side apple has hired independent regulators or whatever to check out their factory situations and will release "granular data" about their findings that I guess could be used to see if things are getting worse or better.

    Also there is this that I saw in a toot today:


  • edited March 2012
    That graphic seems to be arguing that because Foxconn employees aren't treated as badly as other people in China, they must not be treated badly. Which, c'mon, that's bullshit. I'm glad that Foxconn treats their employees better (at least in 2 metrics) than the Chinese national average, but that's not much to be proud of. The Chinese national average is pretty terrible.

    And the fatal injuries comparison to US Workers is completely fallacious. I'm sure there's not a lot of FATAL injuries in a Foxconn plant. You can't compare that to ALL the jobs in America, a category that includes commercial fisherman, coal miners, police officers, and truck drivers, as well as many other dangerous and fatal jobs. I'd like to see a comparison of fatal AND non-fatal injuries at Foxconn to a US manufacturing job.

    Of course, we should be fighting for better wages and conditions for ALL jobs, but the current focus is on Foxconn (and not other terrible jobs in China) because we expect better from a company like Apple.
  • edited March 2012
    I agree that any infographic boils things down to unrealistic numbers and can be basically be finessed to say one thing or the other. It is definitely a complicated situation and harsh working environments are not okay for any human. We all want things to be better. But by lying he put in question the credibility of legitimate issues which is why everyone is upset.
  • Glass did something really smart by concluding this weeks episode by doubling down on the charges against Apple and basically concluding that yeah, their labor practices are still totally fucked--that part of Daisey's piece was still totally true.

    Again, Apple's changes in policy thus far are a total PR sham with tactics lifted directly from Nike's meaningless pr blitz at the height of the anti-sweatshop movement.
  • Seems like nearly all of his most compelling first-person images - the details that blow you away and that you repeat to friends - nearly all of those were made up or lifted from newspaper articles. He's finished. Still, I predict he produces a monologue about this experience.

    I dug the editing of the piece today. The silences spoke louder than words.
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