Mar 162012

Mike Daisey’s stock and trade is lies. He does it with such efficacy that you’d be hard-pressed to keep up with all of the fabrications that appeared in the most recent episode of This American Life. Fortunately, I’ve put together a little crib sheet from the transcript that I hope will give you some sense of what a duplicitous asshole he is. TAAEOSJ = The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs.

Again, reading the transcript is totally worth it, especially after looking at this list. If you can’t hear the blood pressure in your ears toward the end, you should check your pulse.


 Posted by at 11:33 pm
Mar 162012

If you had any doubt in your mind about whether Mike Daisey was an absolutely bald-faced lying cuntweasel, do yourself a favor and download the transcript or listen to the broadcast. The sheer volume of lies, and the unabashed level of self-righteous equivocation Daisey had with Ira Glass made me laugh out loud at several points. One of my favorite exchanges comes toward the end of the piece, with Glass trying to get Daisey to admit to lying about material facts in his work:

Mike Daisey: All I can tell you is that I stand by what I told you before – that I stand by those things.

Ira Glass: That those things happened – those specific things.

Mike Daisey: Yes. And I stand by it as a theatrical work. I stand by how it makes people see and care about the situation that’s happening there. I stand by it in the theater. And I regret, deeply, that it was put into this context on your show.

Ira Glass: Are you going to change the way that you label this in the theater, so that the audience in the theater knows that this isn’t strictly speaking a work of truth but in fact what they’re seeing really is a work of fiction that has some true elements in it.

Mike Daisey: Well, I don’t know that I would say in a theatrical context that it isn’t true. I believe that when I perform it in a theatrical context in the theater that when people hear the story in those terms that we have different languages for what the truth means.

Ira Glass: I understand that you believe that but I think you’re kidding yourself in the way that normal people who go to see a person talk – people take it as a literal truth. I thought that the story was literally true seeing it in the theater. Brian, who’s seen other shows of yours, thought all of them were true. I saw your nuclear show, I thought that was completely true. I thought it was true because you were on stage saying ‘this happened to me.’ I took you at your word.

Mike Daisey: I think you can trust my word in the context of the theater. And how people see it –

Ira Glass: I find this to be a really hedgy answer. I think it’s OK for somebody in your position to say it isn’t all literally true, know what I mean, feel like actually it seems like it’s honest labeling, and I feel like that’s what’s actually called for at this point, is just honest labeling. Like, you make a nice show, people are moved by it, I was moved by it and if it were labeled honestly, I think everybody would  react differently to it.

Mike Daisey: I don’t think that label covers the totality of what it is.

Ira Glass: That label – fiction?

What a fucking asshole.

 Posted by at 10:30 pm
Mar 162012

In case you haven’t heard, Mike Daisey fabricated the most emotionally-charged encounters he claims to have had in The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs. But that’s OK, because according to Daisey, he’s an actor, not a journalist. His nonchalant statement regarding the damning outing of his translator and his alleged encounter with victims of n-hexane belie the fact that his credibility is now the quality of the squishy stuff you’d likely find between your toes if you were to walk barefoot in a pasture.

“This American Life” has raised questions about the adaptation of AGONY/ECSTASY we created for their program. Here is my response:

I stand by my work. My show is a theatrical piece whose goal is to create a human connection between our gorgeous devices and the brutal circumstances from which they emerge. It uses a combination of fact, memoir, and dramatic license to tell its story, and I believe it does so with integrity. Certainly, the comprehensive investigations undertaken by The New York Times and a number of labor rights groups to document conditions in electronics manufacturing would seem to bear this out.

What I do is not journalism. The tools of the theater are not the same as the tools of journalism. For this reason, I regret that I allowed THIS AMERICAN LIFE to air an excerpt from my monologue. THIS AMERICAN LIFE is essentially a journalistic ­- not a theatrical ­- enterprise, and as such it operates under a different set of rules and expectations. But this is my only regret. I am proud that my work seems to have sparked a growing storm of attention and concern over the often appalling conditions under which many of the high-tech products we love so much are assembled in China.

What. A. Dick. Your work, inasmuch as your work did anything except make you money off the back of Apple’s reputation, was based on lies. This was not billed as “one man’s trip to Shenzhen and the hypothetical conversations he may have had there”. The reason Steve Wozniak cried – the reason you got to blubber to any media outlet that would grant you audience (all expenses paid with a fat appearance fee, I’m guessing) – is because they believed your show was based on real people coping with horrific conditions inflicted on them while working to produce Apple products. But you lied about those conversations. You’re guilty of the most shameful form of manipulation – instilling the fear that the things people enjoy are tarnished with unspeakable suffering. How much more of your website is filled with your lies? How many other “characters” occupy your very real-sounding first-hand interviews? There’s not a single word of it that can be believed. And that’s the single greatest stroke of justice that can be inflicted on you. Your path to irrelevance is now assured.

I would encourage anyone who reads TMA to get in touch with Mike Daisey and tell him how much you admire his sensationalist garbage, and to wish him well with his new career, whatever that may be. His Twitter is @mdaisey. It appears the link to his email is broken, which I’m sure has nothing to do with his being outed as a charlatan. As Daisey is fond of saying “in a world of silence, speaking itself is action”. Show him how well that can work against him.

 Posted by at 5:01 pm
Mar 162012

Well, well, well. It seems as though the gods of the Internet are making up for my lack of new iPad disposable income with the news that one of my favorite one man shows has been shown to be a little less than truthful. NPR’s This American Life went so far as to retract a January broadcast featuring Daisey’s Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs. Brought to you on the wings of angels by the good people at MacRumors:

In a remarkable reversal, This American Life has now announced that it is retracting its January broadcast of Daisey’s content, citing a number of fabrications discovered in a follow-up investigation on his claims.

Paging shocked eTrade baby! Please report to graphics stat!

Mike Daisy's Apple claims found to contain fabrications? This is my shocked-but-not-really face.

I’m sure Daisey has a perfectly legitimate explanation for the fact that the interpreter that accompanied him on his trips to Foxconn “disputed much of what Daisey has been saying on stage and on our show”:

For his part, Daisey acknowledges that some of the information he presented was not entirely truthful, arguing that his monologue was created for theater. Consequently, he agrees that it should not have been presented as journalism, although he stands behind the intent of his work.

And for my part, and on behalf of the Apple community you’ve been gaming to make money off of Steve Jobs’s memory and the company he built, I stand behind my claims that you’re a liar and a fraud and respectfully request that you crawl back under the rock housing the rest of Apple’s baseless detractors.

God, this is almost as good as a new iPad.

Mar 162012

I wish I could say that I had pre-ordered and was gleefully poking away at a New iPad, but going 3 for 3 on Apple kit in consecutive years at $600 a pop is not something this person of limited means can boast. I have, however, been treated to a plethora of reviews and the occasional retarded “x reasons why you shouldn’t buy an ipad” list. It’s hilarious that they still make these.

One person from whom I expect – neigh demand – to see a glowing review is Dave Pogue, someone who has always been more pro-Apple (read: reality-based) than some of the other guys on the tech beat. Imagine my surprise to see a less-than-gushing review. And this is a device that has Joshua Topolsky gushing. Dave appears to be stifling a yawn:

That’s exactly what’s going on with the new iPad. Its technical improvements keep it at the forefront of desirability — just ahead of the snapping jaws of its Android competition — but don’t take it in any new directions.

I especially liked the part about Android competitors’ “snapping jaws”. I have this image of a toothless granny chasing Tim Cook around with her cane. I guess it’s good that Pogue got his review in on time with the rest of the technorati instead of having people speculate on the Times’ deteriorating relationship with Apple, which is what happened with his late-to-be-posted Mountain Lion review.

And then Dave had a question about Siri. And he used a phrase I never thought Dave Pogue would write (emphasis mine):

Weirdly, though, speech-to-text is the only piece of Siri, Apple’s smart voice-control software, that the new iPad inherits from the iPhone 4S. You don’t get the rest of Siri’s features: the ability to set alarms, send text messages, look up calendar appointments and snag facts from the Web just by asking out loud. That the full Siri isn’t available smacks more of a marketing department holdback than technical limitations.

Guuuuuh. Dave: Apple does not sacrifice at the altar of pure marketing. It will make a number of decisions based on the experience of the brand, however. Maybe that’s how some people define “weird”, but I didn’t expect Pogue to be one of those people.

The reason for no Siri is simple: Siri is an “always on” feature. On the iPhone 4S, Siri is a feature backed by a ubiquitous (read everywhere but in New York with AT&T) network connection, accessible by holding down the home/earbud mic button. Looking across the iPad line, there’s no guarantee of a data connection. Faced with a decision about whether to limit Siri based solely on network availability or to limit the capability of Siri to dictation (which still requires a network connection), Apple made what I feel is a logical decision for their iPad lineup. Apple’s implementation of Siri on the iPad is a mic button that appears on the on-screen keyboard only when you have a network connection.

Apple doesn’t makes technical decisions purely to push people to other products. Apple makes technical decisions that yield the best experiences with their products. Sometimes, as in the case of Siri, this involves leaving features on the table. If Apple said Siri was available on the New iPad, people would expect to always have it and would be disappointed with its  functionality being limited to the times it had network connectivity. Instead, the device’s speech capabilities are being billed as dictation, a bullet point buried in the feature list, so that expectation goes away.

Apple doesn’t just succeed at creating superior consumer experiences by creating great kit, it does it by controlling expectations. This is a just another case in point.

 Posted by at 7:47 am  Tagged with: ,
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