Feb 20, 2013

Daisey, Give Me Your Answer Do

Photo by Ursa Waz
One little-remembered wrinkle in the chronology of last year's Mike Daisey scandal is that, between the time he appeared in January on This American Life to talk about brutal labor conditions at Apple factories in China and the time the public-radio show retracted that episode in March, Daisey released the entire transcript online for anyone to read, download, and perform, free of royalties or restrictions. That meant, as I reported last April, that in the immediate aftermath of the retraction and the controversy over fabricated and conflated facts in Daisey's monologue, a number of productions around the country had to scramble to revise their scripts to reflect the questions that had been raised about the piece.

Daisey soon revised the piece himself in performance and later released a "version 2.0" on his site under the same generous terms, which is how The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs will have its L.A. premiere tonight, performed by Alex Lyras at Theatre Asylum in Hollywood. This seemed as good an excuse as any to chat with Daisey for the LA Times:
"I shared the concern that everything I'd done would actually cause more damage than good, but I spent a lot of obsessive time tracking all of it, and it's clear at this point that that's simply not the case at all," Daisey says, citing reports that pressure from Apple, and agitation by Chinese workers, has improved their lot.
Among activists and labor monitors he's spoken to, he admits that "no one is psyched that there was that retraction episode, no one is happy that things went that way — neither am I. But no one actually would deny that we are in a quantumly different position than we were a year ago."
RTWT here.

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