What would Ira say…

And when Apple would call journalists who had spoken to me, and tell them, “You know, I don’t know if you want to be associated with him. He’s kind of unstable. You know, he does work in the theater.”

I would keep my head down. And I would tell my story.

And tonight—we know the truth.

Ira Glass:

The truth? The truth is that you lied. We trusted you. We trusted you to come on our program and share what you had learned on your visit to Foxconn. And you lied! You flat. out. lied. And you knew it, the whole time. What kind of person does that? Did you feel any sense of guilt in doing that?

Yes, we made a mistake in letting you on our show. And yes, we should have been suspicious from the very beginning when you said there was no way to contact your translator in China.

But how hard is it to tell the truth! Working in the theater is not a valid excuse. Because you knew. You knew you were expected to tell the truth on This American Life, and you knew you were lying. And now, you’ve embarrassed me, you’ve embarrassed my coworkers, and, most of all, you’ve embarrassed yourself.

Ira’s Interruption

“And as we’re driving, we’re passing by arcology after arcology, these immense buildings that are so large they are redefining my sense of scale moment by moment, and then our taxi driver takes an exit ramp, and he stops.  Because the exit ramp stops. In mid-air.  There’s some rebar sticking out…and an eighty-five foot drop to the ground.  The only sign that the exit ramp ends is a single, solitary, orange cone.  It’s sitting there, as if to say,  “We’re busy…? Be alert…?” We back back onto the expressway and begin to drive again, and then Cathy turns to me, pushes up her glasses, and says, “Excuse me, but I do not think this is going to work.”

Ira Glass: An expressway that ends 85 feet in the air with a single orange cone as the sole indicator?! How could we not have realized that Mike Daisey’s story reeked of theatrical embellishments and exaggerations?  The scene he describes is straight out of a Hollywood movie, complete with the newfound doubt that Cathy expressed after the nearly traumatic setback.  Could this moment have been any more clichéd??…Of course it could, because like every cinematic and theatrical protagonist, Daisey was able to overcome this momentary pang of doubt with the desire to go on — the desire to see what lay ahead on his “incredible” journey. Wow, we really fell for this?? Boy do I wish that was the only Daisey Lie that escaped us…

Ira’s Chance Before Running the Monologue

Written as Ira Glass. An interruption that would have saved him from having to apologize to his listeners on the retraction. 

Mr. Daisey let me stop you for a second before you continue. I would like to run this story on my show “This American Life” but first I need to clear up some of the doubts I have in your story. First of all, I want to get in touch with your translator Cathy. Would she agree with all of the points of your story? And I mean all of the details of your story. You are depicting this story as if it true journalism and I am not sure it is. So you are telling that you were in a cab and came to a road with no end? The highway just stopped? I understand that China is not as developed as the United States but I find it hard to believe Apple would use a manufacturer of their most high tech products that is off of some deserted road. Continue reading

Dorm Room Diaries

So here I am, sitting at my standard wooden desk, in my typical cement-walled dorm room, at my classic American university listening to the Daisy Retraction podcast from The American Life through the silver speakers of my Macbook Pro. Did I feel a little guilty when the original podcast warned me that the solution that once cleaned this beautiful Macbook Pro might have caused the hands of Chinese workers to shrivel and melt? Yeah, duh.

After hearing the retraction, that feeling of guilt has not disappeared. But it has been slightly overshadowed by a feeling of deception. Like I had been forced to feel helpless regarding the horrible events at Foxconn, forced to accept these terrible working conditions, and even forced to question my position in the world and my decisions in life. I may be a little overzealous in this reaction, but mustering words to describe feelings is a difficult task.

So, here are some of my original thoughts from the first podcast: “Let me get this straight – there were security guards… with guns? What is this, a scene from Prison Break? I think about even the secured French embassy in DC where I had to apply for a French visa for study abroad. They had a guard at the gate and my parents were forced to wait outside for me. But that guard was about as ferocious as a mall cop. But guns – guns evoke fear, even when I can’t see them for myself, or feel the stern eyes of the guards watching me as I pass though the gates.”

In reflection, it seems absurd. My reaction was clearly influenced by my personal prejudices as an American teen who is accustomed to democracy and red, white and blue and all that shit. We have this image of China as a communist nation and apparently it involves gunmen standing outside of office campuses. How would I feel if there were gunmen standing outside the gates of Bucknell, keeping me inside this little dorm room of mine – or maybe their purpose would be to keep other people out.

But anyway, who does Daisey think he is? How can he sleep at night knowing that he played off this irrational image and further solidified this absurd and over-exaggerated pre-conceived notion of how China is run? Or was his goal not to encourage anti-China sentiments, but instead to cast a dark shadow on American enterprise? Guilt, fear, deception. It’s all there. But what can we, as American consumers, really feel guilty about? Can the image of an armed guard standing outside a building on the other side of the world really induce fear? And did Daisey really deceive us, or force us to pay attention to what was really going on? After all, the truth about Foxconn did have to surface eventually.

Third Blog Post- Useful Interruptions

Your goal this week is to build from last week’s retraction post and our class discussions to craft your own “interruption” of the Daisey script “The Agony and The Ecstasy of Steve Jobs.” (click and you get the pdf).
In short, as past of the tech/no Forum, we will perform an “interrupted” version of the original script with Alex Lyras as the actor.

Imagine you could say “time out!” during a performance of the original.  This is is your chance to add a new voice. Continue reading

RETRACTION Week 2 Blog Post

Hello Again.
For Week 2, listen to another podcast- you can get it right from the This American Life website.  You can also purchase it from iTunes OR get the TAL app (at least for droid) and listen to one archive show (but app is not free).  TAL is lots of fun, by the way, with lots of funny stuff too like the poultry slam.

Click “more” to get further instructions. Continue reading