"I'm not going to say that I didn't take a few shortcuts in my passion to be heard," Daisey tells Schmitz and Glass. "My mistake, the mistake I truly regret, is that I had it on your show as journalism, and it's not journalism. It's theatre."
"At that point, we should've killed the story," says Ira Glass, Executive Producer and Host of This American Life. "But other things Daisey told us about Apple's operations in China checked out, and we saw no reason to doubt him. We didn't think that he was lying to us and to audiences about the details of his story. That was a mistake."
Reached by phone in Shanghai, Schmitz says “This was not an amazing piece of detective work.” He Googled the name of Daisey’s translator and called the first person with that name he found.
"I'm coming to you today to say something that I've never had to say on our program."
Daisey went to Shenzhen. Foxconn wouldn’t let him in, so he stood outside the main gate with his translator, talking to workers at shift change.
“In my first two hours of my first day at that gate, I met workers who are 14 years old,” Daisey said. “I met workers who were 13 years old. I met workers who were 12. Do you really think Apple doesn’t know?”
Pick a company we hate, and start bitching at them? Threaten to boycott computers? Sing folk songs? Send checks to China? I wrote to Tim Cook, and I'm not upgrading my phone, but what concrete steps can we take beyond picking a company on Foxconn's customer list that we dislike and feeling smug about them?
Holy crap the FedEx driver marked an exception and didn't deliver.
Charles Duhigg: You're not only the direct beneficiary; you are actually one of the reasons why it exists. If you made different choices, if you demanded different conditions, if you demanded that other people enjoy the same work protections that you yourself enjoy, then, then those conditions would be different overseas.
Here in the US, factory automation was already becoming a big issue before outsourcing changed the conversation permanently.
By the simple choices of journalism, facts in and of themselves do not constitute truth. They can be selected and arranged any which way, intentionally or unintentionally, to distort truth and turn it upside down. That is precisely how political consultants earn a living: assembling nominal facts to tell big, fat lies.
Nonetheless, the argument for what Stephen Colbert mocks as "truthiness" is hollow. Weschler's position requires we trust his goodwill, that we trust Kapuściński and Mitchell and Capote and Steinbeck – and Mike Daisey – to embellish and invent responsibly. We should process the quotation marks on their stories in a different way – not as verbatim, but as something purer.
am I in a position to tell another country what its labor laws should be?
Rob Schmitz: So you lied about that. That wasn’t what you saw.
Mike Daisey: I wouldn’t express it that way.
RS: How would you express it?
MD: I would say that I wanted to tell a story that captured the totality of my trip. So when I was building the scene of that meeting, I wanted to have the voice of this thing that had been happening that everyone been talking about.
Ira Glass: So you didn’t meet any worker who’d been poisoned by hexane?
MD: That’s correct.
Rob Schmitz: How many factories did you visit when you were there?
Mike Daisey: I believe I went to 5.
RS: You told ira 10.
MD: I know.
MD: But, now that I’m looking at it, I believe it was 5.
(Cathy remembers three.)
Ira Glass: I think it’s OK for somebody in your position to say it isn’t all literally true, know what I mean, feel like actually it seems like it’s honest labeling, and I feel like that’s what’s actually called for at this point, is just honest labeling. Like, you make a nice show, people are moved by it, I was moved by it and if it were labeled honestly, I think everybody would react differently to it.
Mike Daisey: I don’t think that label covers the totality of what it is.
IG: That label – fiction?
MD: Yeah. We have different worldviews on some of these things. I agree with you truth is really important.
"What bullshit essentially misrepresents is neither the state of affairs to which it refers nor the beliefs of the speaker concerning that state of affairs. Those are what lies misrepresent, by virtue of being false. Since bullshit need not be false, it differs from lies in its misrepresentational intent. The bullshitter may not deceive us, or even intend to do so, either about the facts or about what he takes the facts to be. What he does necessarily attempt to deceive us about is his enterprise. His only indispensably distinctive characteristic is that in a certain way he misrepresents what he is up to.
"This is the crux of the distinction between him and the liar. Both he and the liar represent themselves falsely as endeavoring to communicate the truth. The success of each depends upon deceiving us about that. But the fact about himself that the liar hides is that he is attempting to lead us away from a correct apprehension of reality; we are not to know that he wants us to believe something he supposes to be false. The fact about himself that the bullshitter hides, on the other hand, is that the truth-values of his statements are of no central interest to him; what we are not to understand is that his intention is neither to report the truth nor to conceal it. This does not mean that his speech is anarchically impulsive, but that the motive guiding and controlling it is unconcerned with how the things about which he speaks truly are."
- Harry Frankfurt, On Bullshit
"The things narrated in this book really happened, the things they did [are] historical actualities." After indicating that the work was based on history, the note went on to position the author's presentation of her work as fiction, saying: "But this is also a work of fiction. I have presented it as fiction...."
When I contacted theater companies on Friday afternoon, it was evident that they were more taken with the “engaging” nature of Daisey’s show rather than its veracity. DJ from New York’s The Public Theater informed me that the three remaining performances of Daisey’s show scheduled on Saturday and Sunday were still on. There were no plans to cancel.
But what of theatergoers who might have believed that Daisey’s story is real and who booked tickets in advance of these allegations?
“We don’t offer refunds,” said DJ.
Ira Glass: I understand that you believe that but I think you’re kidding yourself in the way that normal people who go to see a person talk – people take it as a literal truth. I thought that the story was literally true seeing it in the theater. Brian, who’s seen other shows of yours, thought all of them were true. I saw your nuclear show, I thought that was completely true. I thought it was true because you were on stage saying ‘this happened to me.’ I took you at your word.
Mike Daisey: Yeah. We have different worldviews on some of these things. I agree with you truth is really important.
Ira Glass: I know but I feel like I have the normal worldview. The normal worldview is somebody stands on stage and says ‘this happened to me,’ I think it happened to them, unless it’s clearly labeled as ‘here’s a work of fiction.’
(awkward pause albeit only mildly awkward by this episode’s standards)
Mike Daisey: I really regret putting the show on This American Life and it was wrong for me to misrepresent to you and to Brian that it could be on the show.
"I wanted to have the voice of this thing that had been happening that everyone been talking about."
Spalding Gray: I'm not making up any of these stories I'm telling you tonight. Um... except for one. Except for the fact that the banana sticks to wall when it hits. That's the only one. Everything else is true.
This article demonstrates multiple perspectives. The social responsibility of Apple, the moral standing of Apple’s fans, the monitoring function of the government, the labor rights awareness of the workers, and the supervision power of the media… All these aspects were discussed but none of them is doing what they should have done. One detail in the story caught my attention. The problem of n-hexane and industrial dust is not yet to be solved after such a long time, and we need to think about why. — Wozhizhiyi
Mike Daisey wasn’t the first person to make up a false personal story as a way of raising the kind of “awareness” that will necessitate change, [...]
The pattern, the trend, and the continuity are far more interesting than the individual stories. [...] While their subjective accounts tend to be the least true part of it [...] behind those subjective untruths, we also find a broad field of objective accuracy: Foxconn is a terrible place to work, Joseph Kony really is a nightmare, building schools in Afghanistan is a good thing to do, and Syrian repression is no joke. Marlo really was a serial killer.
"I think his monologue has influenced Apple to take steps in that direction the best they can," Wozniak said. "I don't want to see that undone. Because people must know there are workers who can't get medical coverage and are underage and are put on a blacklist that prevents them from getting work again. I applaud Mike Daisey because of the attention and understanding he has brought to this."
A lot of people are saying [about Daisey] 'Oh you didn't experience this yourself,'" Wozniak continued, "but in his style of art he's trying to help the audience experience these things. I never expected the show to be real. The 'Pirates of Silicon Valley' [the film about the early rivalry between Apple and Microsoft] was not completely accurate. How could it be? But the movie is very true in the way that matters most."
And so, all those reasons are true, but I also didn't want them to talk to her because I knew my chronology was fucked. I knew that I had taken ... liberties. And so I didn't want them to talk to her for that reason too. So they're both true. So I told my producer that her name wasn't Cathy, that it was Anna. And I said that I had a cell-phone number but it didn't work. And then Ira called me. And Ira talked to me, through it. And he was like, "Really? You really don't have any contact information?" And he said, "Look, I know how things get made, things are complicated*. You can tell me. You can tell me. People are composited." And I said to him, "She's a composite, of three characters."
I did it because I'm suggestible when I feel guilty. So I just said it. In the conversation. That she was composite of three characters. That one of them was named Anna. That I did not have contact information for her. And that was the end of that.
When I went in to talk to them about everything that had done down*, we talked about that. They brought up the fact that I had emailed Brian and told him about Anna. I said yes, and I told you this was a composite of three characters. No one brought it up. But it's on the tape, from the full four hours that I talked to them, that is edited to 15 minutes that are in the episode. Which is not to say that I think somehow the full four hours would make me look a lot better. I'm not saying that. I'm just saying ... there's more tape.
"That's why I decided to travel to ancient Egypt. Alone. To personally witness — to see with my own eyes — the brutality behind these pyramids we love so much."
— I was THERE! by Mike Daisey
Abed: Documentarians are supposed to be objective, to avoid having any effect on the story. Yet we have more effect than anyone because we decide to tell it and we decide how it ends. Will your story be another sad one of yet another man who just wanted to be happy? Or will your story acknowledge the very nature of stories, and embrace the fact that sharing the sad ones can sometimes make them happy?
A heavily anticipated report on working conditions at Apple supplier Foxconn documents dozens of major labor-rights violations, including excessive overtime, unpaid wages and salaries that aren't enough to cover basic living expenses.
More than 60% of the workers at three of Apple supplier Foxconn's factories in China say their wages fall short of their basic needs, according to a report released Thursday by auditors from the Fair Labor Association. The FLA is a watchdog group hired by Apple to audit its overseas suppliers.
The FLA's report says Foxconn has agreed to work with the group to remedy many of the violations it recorded. In one key move, Foxconn says it will achieve "full legal compliance" with Chinese work-hour laws by July 1, 2013. To do that, Foxconn will need to hire "tens of thousands" of extra workers to offset its current employees' workload, the FLA said.
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