After After the Fact
After a swath of deflection attempts and half-apologies, notorious truth-exaggerator and Apple opponent Mike Daisey has finally issued the genuine apology we’ve all been waiting for.
In an entry posted to his blog yesterday, Mr. Daisey apologized to everyone who ever paid him a modicum of attention, including his audience, theater coworkers, journalists and human rights advocates, for exaggerating the negative details of Apple’s Chinese factory conditions on “This American Life.”
After the Fact
On his personal blog yesterday, Mike “The Boy Who Cried Foxconn” Daisey responded to Ira Glass’s public shaming and retraction of excerpts of his monologue that aired on “This American Life.”
“I thought the dead air was a nice touch, and finishing the episode with audio pulled out of context from my performance was masterful,” wrote Mr. Daisey, who seemed to object to being lumped into the same category as James Frey and Stephen Glass.
“Given the tenor of the condemnation, you would think I had concocted an elaborate, fanciful universe filled with furnaces in which babies are burned to make iPhone components, or that I never went to China, never stood outside the gates of Foxconn, never pretended to be a businessman to get inside of factories, never spoke to any workers,” Mr. Daisey wrote with pride.
Apple in Your Eye
Gawker may be on a witch hunt to catalog every lie and half-truth Mike Daisey has ever uttered, but audiences at the final performance of his one-man show “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs” were much more forgiving. In fact, the crowd at yesterday’s matinee performance, Mr. Daisey’s final showing at The Public Theater on Lafayette, gave the second-coming of James Frey a standing ovation.
Ira Glass and Public Radio International retracted its most-listened to segment ever for Mr. Daisey’s willingness to lie to fact-checkers about things like whether he actually encountered underage workers at Foxconn (he did not) or whether a Foxconn worker with a mangled hand compared a finished iPad to “magic” (he neither worked for Foxconn, nor emoted thusly).
But that didn’t seem to deter onlookers:
Apple in Your Eye
Remember that whole Apple/Foxconn debacle, wherein the New York Times questioned the human cost of the iPad’s Chinese production? Yeah, neither do we.
It turns out that the majority of Americans have succeeded in ignoring the gnawing guilt they displayed a few months ago over the whole ordeal just in time for the release of the new iPad. Congratulations, short-term Internet memory! You win again.
Funtimes at Foxconn
Was it the segment on The Daily Show, one of the iTunes store’s bestselling TV shows? Or the eye-opening investigative report from the New York Times, prominently featured in every other Apple commercial? Or that episode of one of the most downloaded podcasts/radio shows in the country, This American Life? Or—after weeks of silence—Apple’s most famous fanboy, David Pogue, finally weighing in?
Whatever it was, Apple is now blessing and participating in the Fair Labor Association’s “unprecedented” inspection of Foxconn, the Chinese manufacturer whose negligence towards human rights has been opened to the world in recent months.
The Tao of Steve
Betabeat made the mistake of stopping by the Apple Store before work last week, forgetting it was the day the new iPhone 4S went on sale. The line stretched down 14th Street. A stream of glowing customers were exiting the store, new phones clutched in their hands. A photographer got down on one knee to shoot a happy British couple. A man in a tweed jacket agreed to speak with a television news crew about his purchase. Our plan to pick up a power cord didn’t seem likely to pan out.
As we walked back to the subway, we passed an Apple employee standing by a far door no had yet noticed. “You need a phone,” the guy whispered. “Full price, but you can cut the line.”
No one knows the lure of Apple products better than Mike Daisey. He is, in geek parlance, an Apple fanboy. “I belong to the Cult of Mac. I have been to the House of Jobs. I have felt the Tao of Steve.”
Mr. Daisey looks the part. He is fat, Chris Farley fat, with a face that emerges and recedes into his neck like an animal into its burrow. He tosses off casual references to long dead coding languages and various races from Lord of the Rings. Sometimes to relax, he claims, he goes home and field strips his Macbook Pro, cleans all 47 individual parts, and puts it back together.
But over the past 14 months, as he has traveled the country performing his one man show, The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, Mr. Daisey has become a pointed critic of Apple and its charismatic founder. Betabeat caught a sold out performance of his work at the Public Theater the evening after our trip to the Apple store.
The Tao of Steve
It took about a day of beatification after Steve Jobs death before the backlash started in. Well, less than a day in Gawker’s case. But playwright Mike Daisey is betting that the stasis is somewhere in between.
His controversial play, “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs,” begins previews today at the Public Theater, less than a week after Mr. Jobs’s death. Although some lines in the monologue have been changed to reflect his passing, as MarketWatch reports, it won’t be pulling any punches about what Mr. Daisey describes as Apple’s inhumane manufacturing, based on his trip to the Foxconn plant, the site of multiple worker suicides, in Shenzhen, China.
Agony and Ecstasy
Apple fanboys and girls, New York is shaping up to be the city for you. Take your picture with the Cube on Fifth Ave. and then take in a theatrical performance dedicated to the glory of Steve Jobs. Tickets went on sale yesterday for the New York premiere of THE AGONY AND THE ECSTASY OF STEVE JOBS, a “hilarious and harrowing tale of pride, beauty, lust, and industrial design.” It is a monologue.
Creator and performer Mike Daisey “illuminates how the CEO of Apple and his obsessions shape our lives, while sharing stories of his own travels to China to investigate the factories where millions toil to make iPhones and iPods. Daisey’s dangerous journey shines a light on our love affair with our devices and the human cost of creating them.”