An Eye Opening Lie

I am now faced with a dilemma: am I angered with the fact that Mike Daisey blatantly lied during his monolog or I am okay with the lies because he shed some light on real issues? I understand that many of the allegations Mike Daisey made during his monolog should not be associated with Apple, but that does not mean there are not real issues in in other factories.  But then again I, as the audience, was betrayed. I emotionally connected with the stories Daisey told and felt remorse for the workers described. In order to find some peace of mind, I decided to undertake a small investigation of my own.

After taking some time to research the Foxconn facilities in China, I came across an interesting article. This article describes a strike that took place in January 2012. The one sentence that immediately jumped out at me was that “at least 14 Foxconn workers in plants in the Chinese cities of Shenzen and Chengdu have taken their own lives since a string of worker suicides began in early 2010.” Another article I discovered discusses how many of the workers at Foxconn are underpaid, overworked, and are surrounded by safety risks. It is obvious that the working conditions overseas are unacceptable.

After reading both articles, I am beginning to understand why Mike Daisey may have fabricated and embellished his actual experience. The majority of Americans are ignorant to the fact that working conditions, like the ones Mike Dasiey described, actually exist overseas. Sure, Daisey lied to us all, but I believe some good came out of it. I, for one, would have remained blissfully naïve and would have never thought to research the Foxconn facilities. Mike Daisey went for the “wow” factor, he wanted to grab the public’s attention and he wanted to make a statement—he succeeded. While Mike Daisey’s account was not entirely truthful, it was definitely eye-opening. Maybe instead of dismissing Mike Daisey’s monolog, we should thank him for enlightening the public on real issues, even if his context was dishonest.


3 thoughts on “An Eye Opening Lie

  1. I agree that Daisy went for the “wow” factor, but I think he made a huge mistake in doing so. I would have been just as appalled at the real truth as I was at Daisy’s version of the truth. And now, after learning that Daisy was so dishonest, I feel like the majority of his listeners will discredit the story entirely, no matter what Cathy attests to.

  2. I agree with you in that Daisey had overall good intentions when fabricating his information. Something clearly needs to be done in Shenzhen, and Daisey has the talent to get people to listen. Daisey claimed that his fake facts were only to “make people care” about this situation–and it worked. However, it is unfortunate that he thought that people wouldn’t care if he had just told the truth. Because of his mistake, people are less likely to involve themselves in the issues at hand.

  3. Good research.

    Suicides are very dramatic. It is easy for us to associate the known facts of the working conditions with the event of the suicide. As a social scientist, I would like to know more about the suicides to see if we can start to discern patterns of facts.

    Did the articles say what might have been contributing factors to suicide?

    Interestingly, one off the most important developments in social science was the “discovery” of suicide by Emile Durkheim in the 1890s. In short, people considered suicide to be a purely individual act. By showing that it varied in societies and across times, Durkheim established (using statistics) that suicide was really a social fact and not purely a choice of psychology or sin.

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