You may have heard about Mike Daisey by now. He's the monologuist who's spent the past year and a half performing his new monologue, "The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs," which examines the links among Apple, industrial design and overseas manufacturing. Pieces of the monologue focusing on the harsh working conditions at Apple's Chinese factories were excerpted on "This American Life" earlier this year. It made for an incredibly compelling hour of radio.
And then this happened. Daisey made a repeat apperance on "This American Life," this time to answer to charges that he made a bunch of stuff up about his trip to the factories in China. It was compelling, too — this time in a raw, incredibly uncomfortable way as a Hulking-out Ira Glass deconstructed the lies.
After that show aired, Daisey gave a talk at Georgetown responding to the controversy (transcript here, audio here). He sounded defensive, even angry as he defended the greater impact of his work and condemned the media for focusing on him instead of the factories.
But when I spoke to him a few days later, he seemed contrite, content and ready to move on and fix his mistakes as best he could. It should be fascinating to hear him perform "The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs" at the Flynn Center on March 31. Will Daisey's tale still resonate emotionally with the audience? Will people still care to listen?
Photo courtesy of Joan Marcus