The best word I can use to describe the past 57 minutes and 35 seconds is painful. This word suits this podcast for mainly two reasons. Reason #1: You would think that if Mike Daisey knew he was going to be interviewed about his falsifications and exaggerations that he would at the very least come up with a few explications, but no. Ira Glass, the interviewer, asked questions, but Daisey responded with silence. Even when Daisey admitted that he didn’t see what he claimed he saw, he would justify it with something. His answers were never simple. He never just said, “I lied”. It was quite uncomfortable to listen to the conversation between Glass and Daisey. Reason #2: I was pained by the extent to which Daisey both exaggerated and lied. In fact, the most powerful and memorable moments in the story all seemed to be fabricated.
Among the plethora of fabrications Daisey alluded to in his story, what I found to be most out of line was the mention of the guns. Daisey claimed that standing by each factory gate was a guard holding a gun. This was one of the very first descriptions made about the factory and it really set the scene. It sounded as if he was describing a prison, not at all a work place. I find it quite interesting that Daisey even decided to add that little snippet about the guns because, as mentioned in the retraction, gun control is extremely strict in China. The only people who are even allowed to carry guns are the armed forces, and by no means would it be acceptable for factory guards to possess them.
After further researching the topic, it is clear that the Chinese do not take gun possession and violence lightly. As mentioned in a recent article in the Huffington Post ( Zhou Kehua, Chinese Serial Killer, Shot Dead After Massive Manhunt ), “Gun crime is rare in China as a result of tight controls over firearms”. In this article, just the picture alone is enough to show that the Chinese mean business when it comes to gun possession and violence. Displayed at the top of the article is a fugitive serial killer/armed robber shot dead. Blood is streaming from his head and lying next to his hand is a handgun. The fact that the Chinese allow this picture to circulate shows that they want this image to be seen and to be engrained in their minds.
I find it quite brainless of Daisey to have included the line about the presence of guns. Yes, it helped set the scene of “If you don’t work hard, fast, long enough, I will shoot you”, but it was a complete lie. Even if he just opened up the Huffington Post he could have read that firearms in China are a huge no-no. All Daisey really did by adding that snippet about the guns was make himself look ill informed. Better luck next time Mr. Daisey.