Listening to this retraction, I can’t help but feel a sense of disappointment. The clear images that Mike Daisey portrayed in his original piece were bold and fresh. They made me think. They induced mixed feelings of shock and empathy. They added an obvious reality to the story that made listeners imagine the events, develop sympathy for the workers, and form strong opinions of Apple. But when these stories were proven false and retracted, I notice a sense of frustration brewing inside me.
In my last post, I commented on how jaded Americans were. How we are aware of what is happening in China with the factory workers but have simply accepted this reality and moved on. We support the Apple stock and it has, as a result, just become the most valuable company in U.S. history Read Here. We will still purchase Apple goods despite their unethical manufacturing practices and their exorbitant over-pricing. We hear about it, but it does not necessarily evoke rash behavior – no one is going to throw away their iPhone because it was made by abused Chinese workers. These stories, although moving, do not make us cry or boycott Apple products. I am even writing this blog post on my Macbook Pro.
But what does bring about a strong emotional reaction is the idea that we, as American consumers, were lied to. I do not know whether the reason for this response is that we have developed such a trusting relationship with the media that we feel cheated when lied to, or if we feel foolish because we were willing to accept such horrible occurrences that in the end were not actually the case. Further, are our reactions, as American consumers, based on our genuine concern for the safety of the global community, or are we fixated on self-satisfaction?
It seems to me that a main reason for supporting a cause is the way it makes us feel. I admit that this is a very cynical way of viewing volunteer work, and I understand that the ultimate goal is to better one’s community, or take a stance against injustice. But we cannot ignore the positive affects doing good has on self-worth. When I form an opinion on a subject, and really stand up for that cause, I feel proud and strong and it seems that I can have an affect on the world.
Nevertheless, as pessimistic as this may sound, I question the greater mentality behind American support for this cause overall, the ethics behind Mike Daisey’s originally exaggerated and overzealous presentation, and the genuineness of the reactions to this retraction.