April 3, 2012, by
25 comments

Pushing up Daisey: iChanges in iChina

by Mitchell Cushman

In his best-selling biography of Steve Jobs, Walter Isaacson details at length the Apple founder’s infamous reality distortion field—his ability to “bend any fact to fit the purpose at hand”. Isaacson recounts how Jobs used this knack for re-purposing the truth in order to dream up seemingly impossible products, but also as a way of restructuring past experiences in a way that best suited whatever current narrative he was in the process of spinning. In this way as in others, Steve Jobs was a storyteller—a practitioner of theatre. And over the past two weeks, we have received a powerful reminder that monologuist Mike Daisey, creator of the play The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, is as well.

As new evidence has shown, Daisey has been employing his own reality distortion field, and has bent many a fact to fit his purpose. (I won’t list the embellishments here, but they have been everywhere in the news; for those interested, I would highly recommend listening to the March 16 episode of This American Life, “Retraction”). For Daisey, the purpose at hand has been inspiring North Americans into demanding better labour conditions at the Chinese factories that manufacture our various electronics. And to this end, Daisey has achieved a real measure of success. The New York Times and many other major news organizations have taken up the fight and Apple’s Foxconn factory has become a household name. In response to these pressures Apple and Foxconn announced this past week, in a landmark admission of corporate culpability, that they will be implementing a massive overhaul of their labour practices, hiring more workers, eliminating illegal overtime and substantially improving the safety protocols in the factory. A direct line can be drawn between the growing profile of Daisey’s play, and the attention surrounding its cause.

Daisey’s ill-advised foray into journalistic territory—adapting his play for This American Life, appearing on various news outlets—has clouded the fact that he began by creating Agony as a piece of theatre, an art form in which invention is not only permissible, but kind of the point. When we attend a play, we are willingly offering ourselves up to be taken in, to suspend our disbelief, in order that we might connect to some underlying truth. This is exactly what Agony has done for its audiences. As host Ira Glass pinpointed during Daisey’s first appearance on This American Life a few months back, Daisey has done something “really kind amazing”, namely make people newly question an unjust system which on some level most of us have come to accept. “Which,” as Glass maintains “is really quite a trick, you really have to know how to tell a story to be able to pull something like that off.”

Knowing how to tell a story means something very different in the theatre than it does in journalism. Daisey has publicly regretted and apologized for his conflation of the two, and any damage that this may have caused, either to the cause or to the journalistic organizations whom he let take his words as fact. The uncomfortable question to consider is, had Daisey not included these fabrications, had his show just rested on the staggering statistics documenting the inhuman working conditions, without any of the what we now know to be the theatricalized moments, without the disfigured line worker apocryphally calling Daisey’s iPad “magic” or without the imagined gun-toting factory guards, would the same call to action have resulted? Would Apple and Foxconn have been driven to publicly vow to do better? Or would we all simply have tuned out these numbers, and relegated them to the statistical scrapheap in the back of our minds? Is this an instance where theatrical storytelling, more so than journalistic reporting, has been necessary in order to prompt change?

We’re interested in examining these questions, and so we will be continuing forward with our upcoming production of The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, adapting the show to engage with this new level of narrative complication. We hope that you will come see our show in May, and sift through these many layers of distorted reality, even as, like with any worthwhile piece of theatre, we attempt to catch you up in them.

Outside the March, in association with Theatre Passe Muraille, presents:

The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs

Adapted from the monologue by Mike Daisey

Starring David Ferry / Directed by Mitchell Cushman

Coming to Toronto May 2012, in a secret location near you

Ticket information to be released in early April.

Advanced ticket requests can be emailed to agony@outsidethemarch.ca

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25 comments:

  1. Tommy Taylor says:

    No matter how I look at it (as a dupe, as a theatre artist myself, as a piece of journalism) I cannot forgive or even endorse what Daisey did, even if it brought attention to an important cause.

    Last summer Praxis teamed up with The Original Norwegian to produce “You Should Have Stayed Home” at the 2011 SummerWorks Festival. This play was about my arrest and detention during the Toronto G20. It was written and performed by me, a true and detailed account of what happened to me at the summit. The performance was predominantly in the style of Mike Daisey (me at table, pitcher of water, telling my story). It was promoted as “the true account” of what happened to me at G20. And it was.

    We’ve all heard of the beatings, strip searches and other heinous incidents at G20 – none of which happened to me. I was kettled along with my wife, rounded up in a mass arrest, thrown into a cage and left there for 24 hours. I saw and went through many horrible things (but as I found out later, many individuals went through much worse).

    When creating the show director Michael Wheeler and I could have very easily taken the extreme circumstances of others and said they were mine. Imagine the harrowing part of the story where I describe me wife’s strip search, or tell the audience of the beating I received at the hands of riot police. It certainly would make for good theatre. But we didn’t do that, in fact, if it had even once been suggested, I would have parted ways with Praxis immediately.

    So we just told the truth. The exact truth, and let it speak for itself. The audience was still in tears, angry and moved by the show. It was journalism, it was theatre and it was the truth. I read parts of my play on CBC Radio as truth, because it was. We made a bond with our audiences that what they were hearing was the truth. We had many journalists rally around the show, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and even an MP or two. People heard things about what happened at the G20 that they never heard before, not because we made stuff up, but because we spoke the truth. I can only imagine the damage to ourselves as theatre artists if we had lied, but also I can only imagine the damage to everyone who rallied around the show and the cause of getting the public aware of the truth of G20.

    If I had lied, the show would become moot. As soon as you decide to lie to further a cause, you give the other side instant ammunition. Don’t believe it? Just look at the amount of media sources that came out with headlines like “Apple Factories in China Not So Bad After All”. The ramifications are far reaching – I’m a part time fundraiser for Amnesty International and last week while talking with a potential donor about human right violations in China he said “Didn’t all those reports about factory conditions turn out to be a lie for some radio show or something?”. It took me a long time to explain the actual story (sometimes, like at the G20, people just see a headline and think they know the whole story). He did not end up donating.

    Is the issue of the violations at G20 the same as the atrocities faced by factory workers in China? Good gracious no. The lies told by Daisey however, do effect me and any other thearte artists whose work is the absolute truth. There is a world of difference between saying “based on” and “inspired by” versus “the truth”. Daisey didn’t just blur those lines, he shat on them.

    I know Daisey was a big inspiration for Michael Wheeler, and he came up often in our rehearsals. Now that inspiration is tainted and I truly hope the work we made together is never compared to Daisey’s work. It makes me shutter (even if its only a single person) that people might think twice about the truth of a show like “You Should Have Stayed Home” because of this. Also, as a friend of Wheeler’s, it truly sucked to see him so disappointed in someone who as an inspiration.

    Because of this, people won’t be coming to see “The Agony and Ecstasy” to learn about the deplorable conditions of Apple Factories in China and relate it back to the phone in their pocket, they’ll be coming to see David Ferry play a well intentioned liar.

    It was only a matter of time before a Toronto company put on Agony, and I don’t think the show needs to wiped from the face of the planet, but I’m happy to hear that the TPM run will include the controversy (not doing so would be dubious) and I’m interested to see how that will be done.

    As for Mitchell’s last comment “many layers of distorted reality, even as, like with any worthwhile piece of theatre, we attempt to catch you up in them.” I have to say that I think “You Should Have Stayed Home” was worthwhile theatre without the lies and distorted reality.

  2. Michael Wheeler says:

    I’m happy to see the show produced here, but I agree with Tommy that Mike Daisey may have done serious harm to documentary theatre. I don’t think we can write off the lies, yep I’m going there, lies, that Mike Daisey told as acceptable because they called attention to a wrong. In fact there is the danger that future works, about future wrongs will now have a harder time being considered and taken seriously if addressed with theatre.

    I am particularly heartbroken about this because as Tommy mentioned I was a big Mike Daisey fan (you can find like one million references to him in my blog posts), and also because I saw The Agony at The Public in October, at which I was the first audience member to leap out of my chair. I think I also yelled while i clapped. I was blown away, because, like it said in the program, it was a work of non-fiction.

    Now that I understand he was lying where it suited his dramatic purposes all the while insisting I consider his words as the truth, he has probably permanently alienated me. It’s too bad. He is a great storyteller. Possibly the greatest living english language monologist, I also love his critique of the Rep and MFA system in the States. But mostly, these days, I just think about his lying and the harm it has done.

  3. Mike Daisey says:

    I’m sorry you both feel this way. I’ve apologized for where I’ve done wrong, and am endeavoring to make amends. I can only hope that documentary theater is not permanently affected, and that the damage doesn’t impair work for people in many important endeavors. I wrote about this here:

    http://mikedaisey.blogspot.com/2012/03/some-thoughts-after-storm.html

    As fellow theater practitioners, I thought you deserved a response.

  4. David Ferry says:

    Wow, I am just amazed at the faint hearted lads and their puritanical dissapointment in their hero. I also find any assertion that any piece of art (theatre ) is “true” or “completely factual” to be suspect. As soon as we call something theatre (prefixes such as “docu” or “agi-prop” are simply codifiers for marketing) we are moving into the realm of artifice and lies. We are presenting a point of view. Because we strongly believe in our subjective truths that we are flogging to the paying audience, it does not mean our story has more validity than any other story searching for an audience. We are story tellers all. Our audiences sit around our fires and listen to our clan’s/tribe’s unique tales of woe or triumph or caution and accept that they are being told a story. They know they are being told edited realities (or lies.) Only by the level of engagement and absorption and agreement of the audience is the “truth” agreed to. It is a community activity, not the final judgement. Personally I would need to walk a mile in Mr. Daisey’s shoes before I guess the size of the pebble inside the shoe. And I gotta say, I am far more likely to look askance at Mr. Glass’s self righteous american Puritanical indignity and his agenda than I am at a theatre maker playing fast and loose with some of the facts. Glass and NPR wanted the story so bad, they were so far out on the high branch of left of center liberal social conscience that they failed to be the rigidly ethical journalists they are supposed to be, and in anger attack a theatre maker for not being a journalist. Fuck them.

  5. Wow. I am blown away by both of these comments. I’ll chalk it up to my chronic faintheartedness.

    Hey Mike Daisey – Thanks for taking the time to leave your comment. It and the link to your blog post went a long way to helping rehabilitate the Mike Daisey ouevre in my mind if not The Agony specifically. I hope you’ll keep coming back to the site and drop us a line if you want to do something low-key with a bunch of Canadians while this blows over. I’m still mad, but now it looks like I’ll get over it.

    Hey David Ferry – Why must we quarrel so often on the internet when we get along so well in person? We just saw eachother last week when you closed a piece of astounding documentary theatre called Out The Window by Liza Balkan, in which you performed verbatim transcripts in relation to the police beating and subsequent death of a man. If it was discovered that Liza had not seen what she saw, or that the police did not say the things they said in court, or even that your character’s Annie Hall metaphor used in the trial was a dramatic flourish, I believe it would have permanently damaged the credibility of the piece. But it was all factual, so it was a great show.

  6. Mike Daisey says:

    For what it’s worth, the new version of AGONY/ECSTASY will be posted as soon as it is ready; it may be in time for you to make use of it, at your discretion and choice, of course.

  7. David Ferry says:

    Hey Michael, since when is a colleageal friendship defined by getting along all the time? Beware the friend that sings the party line at all times.

    My performance in Out the Window as well as the whole piece, to my mind, was as slanted as any piece of theatre composed solely by an author. As soon as one chooses to put verbatim on stage for a reason, it becomes a POV and not verbatim…even if one read nothing but all the transcripts from a trial (in that case 6000? 9000? Pages) and nothing more, and invites an audience, and calls it theatre, it is inherently false. I met with one of the lawyers whose words I spoke (my “role” was in fact a composite) five times, and studied his speech patterns and attempted to understand his thinking. His wife and colleagues thought I did a great job of capturing him, but none the less I was not him. I was an actor with my own set of presumptions or beliefs about the story INTERPRETING something. The only truth, if there was truth in the piece of theatre, was the truth of a story told well within a community. A story that resonated with its audience and made people go away thinking or feeling or questioning or all three. Exactly what Mr. Daisey’s piece apparantly has done in spades.

  8. This is a pretty awesome discussion. David, of course we can disagree and be collegial…God knows I wouldn’t have any friends left if not. I think this debate now runs up against the question of the difference between interpretation and deliberate manipulation of facts.

    Mr. Daisey has indicated that he believes he erred in doing the latter not the former. And now he will publish a new version of The Agony that doesn’t make that mistake. (Man I hope the powerpoint bit is still in it. I start laughing in a room by myself just thinking about it.) Interesting question for Mitchell and yourself which version of the script you choose to present. Either way, I’m finding a way to get back to Toronto to see it.

  9. Sarah Stanley says:

    I saw the show in New York. It was after TAL but before the revelation of the – um – innacuracies.

    I have not been able to think about a single manufactured thing I touch without conjuring the moment of shock I FELT when I understood that I had never really considered all the hands and bodies hearts and souls involved in the process.

    My brain does not retain certain details. As such, I was not betrayed by Daisey’s “fabrications” I was enlightened. Sure, I felt a little like I had been duped when the bean counters came to town. But only for an instant because now Mike Daisey’s is free again to create whatever he next wishes too.

    I am writing and thinking a lot about failure. Mike Daisey has changed

  10. Sarah Stanley says:

    Cont’d…

    Mike Daisey has actually affected change in the world. And he did what an artist has the power to do which is to illuminate that which goes unseen. My iPhone has been touched by someone or several someones. I need to take responsibility for this.

    This was the truth I retained.

    If Mike Daisey failed ( and sure there are things he could have done differently) he did Beckett proud because quite frankly it is hard to imagine failing any better than this.

  11. Kris Joseph says:

    Most of the time, I read blogs and online news and remind myself that I must NEVER read the comments. At Praxis, the discussion is often the best part (not that I don’t appreciate the posts).

    I find myself rather on-side with The observations of both Mr Ferry and Ms Stanley, and wrote a bit about this whole event on my blog, regarding World Theatre Day. I think the value of Mike Daisey’s work is apparent, in spite of errors that he has acknowledged and apologized for. Theatre is does not share all of the same values of journalism, and “truth” is an almost mythical concept. What theatre and journalism DO share, though, is the ability to be an engine for awareness and change. On that front, Mr Daisey’s monologue (and its fallout) has succeeded more brilliantly than any piece of theatre in my recent memory. I hold his work on Tesla and Monopoly and Brecht and Homeland Security in no less esteem.

    Fail BIGGER, Mike Daisey. Fail better. But don’t stop.

  12. I whole-heartedly agree with Sarah and Kris here, and not just because they referenced one of my favourite playwrights and favourite quotes. To me, all theatre, all storytelling, all art involves a manipulation of the audience. Some pieces are just more skilled at achieving this manipulation than others – and, speaking first and foremost as a frequent theatre audience member here, thank god for those all-too-rare occasions where a piece succeeds in manipulating you to such a degree, that its gets you out of your own head, and, even more importantly, gets its ideas into that head. To me the thought that theatre could ever claim to achieve the same factual and unbiased standard set for journalism is as improbable as it is undesirable. Why would we want the two to be one and the same? Isn’t the essence of art interpretation?

    Regrettably, all of us who claim theatre as our art form are working in an industry that is fighting a continual upper-hill battle for attention and relevancy. I find the fact that Daisey’s show has prompted real change exhilarating. Not “change” like a preached-to choir left the show affirmed, and maybe a few people tweeted about it, but change like it made the world’s biggest company, along with a 400 000 person factory, blink and take notice.

    Daisey is not a saint, but he has kept his appointment. How many people can boast as much?

  13. David Ferry says:

    So here’s some theatre. In researching all the backs and froths of the “controversy” for our look at “the repudiation and redemption of Mike Daisey” which is a surprise peek for you of our production prologue/epilogue for “agony and ecstasy” one of the delicious sections of “Act 3″ of Ira Glass’s (to my mind) self righteous pillory of Mr Daisey on “American Life” is the following:

    Charles Duhigg:So there are workers inside those factories that are working more than 60 hours per week, and we know, in fact, from what Apple tells us, that more than half of the workers whose records are examined are working more than 60 hours a week.   

    Ira Glass: Now, is that necessarily so bad?  I mean aren’t a lot of these workers moving to the city to work as many hours as possible?  They’re away from their families, they’re young, and they’re there to make money, and they don’t care.   

    Duhigg: That, that’s exactly, that’s exactly right.  You know, when we talked, my colleague David Barboza as well as a number of translators have spoken to a number of employees in these factories, and that’s exactly what they say.  

    And Apple says that as well.  They say, “Look, one of the reasons why there is so much overtime that’s inappropriate and, in some places, is illegal, is because the workers themselves are demanding that overtime.”   
    ———————

    I find the seemingly blithe reduction of the shocking practise of overworking in the Chinese factories making Apple products curious…one might also say, from a privileged American POV that the long hours of illegal Mexican workers in L.A. Taking care of gardens, houses and children for the wealthy are just a reflection of the desire for those workers to make more money …at any rate, I wondered how Mr Glass could in any way accept the reasoning here as acceptable. I also wondered what his salary is as producer/host on NPR. According to a charitable organization watchdog website, it is $211K and change. Nice job if yo can get it. Likely makes a 60 hour workweek by choice easier.

  14. Mike Daisey says:

    David,

    I thought that was the underpinning of that episode, in that exchange between Ira and Charles. It broke my fucking heart.

    md

  15. David Ferry says:

    Mr. Daisey (may I call you Mike? Now that we are blog connects?)

    I was (sadly as usual) stunned by the reactionary tone of the whole blowback on you by NPR. Mr. Glass’s fleeting admission that the professional Journalists at NPR had , in fact, been lax in fact checking in their zeal to make the air date and get a crackling good show on the waves seems to be dwarfed by his fervour to punish you for doung what you do..move, question, amuse and awake through theatre.

    .Asking a theatre practitioner to suddenly understand and practise the complex and detailed rules of engagement that professional journalists take years to master was a risk on their part, not so much because of your actions in doing what you may or may not have done in communicating with them, but because in fact you are NOT a Journalist..you are a theatre stroryteller. It is like asking an artist who creates marvelous friezes in inlaid mahogany and black walnut to build a house..just because the artist does good work in wood doesn’t mean they are a carpenter.

    It seems, to this outsider’s eyes, endemic in American media, as much in the left leaning as the right, this need to publicly flail those seeming to break the cardinal George Washinton myth about never telling a lie…and if caught then being smashed into submission via the public mea culpa, with which comes gushing public gawking at the wounds and then forgiveness. I mean a man can lie to his born again fundamentalist congregation and be found to have fucked transvestite hookers on the alter, but as long as he goes on tv and cries about his transgression all is alright.

    I appreciate that these days may have been long, and attending to the multitude of postings, including this one, must be taking a toll..but as a dedicated theatre artist I say, fuck em Mike, take no prisoners ..keep spellbinding with stories worth telling.

  16. Aislinn Rose says:

    I don’t think anyone is arguing against a theatre artist’s right to create a story to emphasize or bring attention to facts. I think the argument is about the ethics of telling your audience that your stories are true when they are not.

    Daisey has apologized, and written articulately on that point, and I hope people will follow the link he provided to his own blog, where he wrote:

    “When I said onstage that I had personally experienced things I in fact did not, I failed to honor the contract I’d established with my audiences over many years and many shows. In doing so, I not only violated their trust, I also made worse art.”

    So to say that Daisey, and other theatre artists shouldn’t be asked to “understand and practise the complex and detailed rules of engagement that professional journalists take years to master”, is – to me – beside the point. Daisey knew very well the “contract” he had established with his audiences, and he knew very well where he went wrong.

    I’ll be interested to see the next iteration of AGONY/ECSTASY, because I agree with my Praxis colleague that Daisey is indeed one of our greatest living storytellers, and I continue to admire the work he has made in the past, and very much look forward to what comes next.

    And as a proponent of “open source theatre”, I’m a huge fan of the fact that it’s all being posted as it happens.

    Thanks to everyone for contributing to this great discussion, and I agree with you Kris, I try to avoid comments almost everywhere else.

  17. Sean Dixon says:

    I’m a bit shocked to read that the style, “me at table, pitcher of water, telling my story”, is called the style of Mke Daisey. Theatre memory is so short. It’s not the style of Mike Daisey, it’s the style of Spalding Gray.

  18. Aislinn Rose says:

    Sean,

    When we were working on You Should Have Stayed Home, we referred to both Gray and Daisey throughout the process. I imagine Daisey was the only one mentioned here because he was at the centre of this discussion.

  19. Sean Dixon says:

    Arguing with my journalist friends, I felt compelled to defend Daisey’s theatre pedigree and mock the notion that Ira Glass thinks he’s a journalist. But when Ferry here makes the accusation that disappointed people are being puritanical or fainthearted, that makes me roll my eyes, David.

    I hated what Glass did—hated it—but really, it’s more fainthearted in these post-postmodern times which, like it or not, are filled with the desire for authenticity, for documentary—to think, if you get caught, you’re not going to suffer the consequences. That’s all there is to it. Documentary-makers sometimes get caught in a lie too. To cry ‘theatre’ feels less like granting theatre exception than demanding its marginalization from the tenure of the times.

  20. Andy McKim says:

    (For those who don’t want to read this long comment, you can skip directly to the last paragraph and you will get the synopsis of my comment from that.)

    If I could I would like to steer the conversation in a slightly different direction.

    Before doing that, I accept that some people may be disappointed in Mike Daisey for “pretending” that something happened to him when it didn’t. But I agree with those writers who have said that it is through the contrived artifice of art that we usually find the truth of a subject rather than when we are constrained by an obedience to the “facts”. I can also accept that Tommy Tune’s work benefits from a statement of the facts, but I don’t think that means that all work must stick to the “facts”. Rather I think most theatre finds its power and truth in metaphor not in facts.

    The direction I would like to steer the conversation towards is my general disappointment with journalism at getting to the truth in a factual way, in a meaningful way or indeed in any overarching way. In the arts we have all experienced journalism’s inability to get the “facts” right. It happens almost every time we have an encounter with a journalist. Many times they even manipulate the “facts” in a determination to support an argument of theirs, which they had before interviewing us. So I have no faith in journalism’s purity on the matter of truth.

    Naturally I am saddened that this “situation” with Mike Daisey has allowed room for the apologists to rush in and claim that things are not so bad in China. But I am not convinced that we should lay the blame for that at Mike Daisey’s feet. I would like to point the spotlight at the “journalistic” community who have been extremely silent on the matter of Human Rights within the manufacturing sector in China. Apart from anything else China even uses prisoners in their manufacturing sector and many of these are prisoners of conscience.

    There are clear human rights abuses in China’s manufacturing industry and we are not getting that story from the press. Why did it take Mike Daisey to bring a high level of attention, that had an impact, to this gross violation of human rights? That is what is upsetting to me.

    More specifically I take issue with the Public Radio journalist Rob Schmitz. On CBC’s Q radio show I listened to Mr. Schmitz talk about blowing the whistle on Mike Daisey. (http://podcast.cbc.ca/mp3/podcasts/qpodcast_20120323_49840.mp3) The interview galled me because he did not adequately answer the question “Why have journalists generally not been talking about human rights abuses in the Chinese Manufacturing sector?” That is a problem. And listening to him tell Jian in detail about the niggling little inaccuracies in Mike Daisey’s work disturbed me. Where is he? Living in China. And he hasn’t make a huge deal about working conditions. Why? Because as he explained to Jian: “Things are complex in China…These people who grew up on a farm and were working in manure…And they are very brave people who moved thousands of miles away to live in a dormitory…and yes they are still doing the repetitive movements they did when they were farming but it is one step up from the reality that they understand and working in a factory isn’t fun, it isn’t fun anywhere…but this is the reality of China today and China is a developing country.” What about what he said is “true”, is a “fact” and what is his interpretation of circumstances that I think are not acceptable and should be decried. I even challenge him on the truth that working in a factory is never fun, anywhere. What he is crafting here is an apology for all the serious human rights violations occurring today in China. That is the extent of his journalistic truth? That is not an objective truth and those things I quoted were not objective facts. I believe that Mr. Schmitz is telling a fairytale that is a distortion of the truth. Compared to Mike Daisey who had distortions that amplified the truth. I know whose subjective truth I want to fight for, Mike Daisy’s, warts and all.

    So my point is that if Rob Schmitz and other journalists had chosen not to search hard for some factual inaccuracies in the story of Mike Daisy’s subjective experience in China then they could have let Mike Daisey’s story live free and aid all of us in getting to the truth about what is going on in China’s manufacturing sector, which is the whole point of what Mike Daisey was doing.

    The day journalists impress us with their accuracy and their determination to tell the stories that need to be told, is the day they can turn their sights on digging dirt on Mike Daisey for not telling the objective truth.

  21. David Ferry says:

    Andy, excellent thoughts. The rising power of the CBC journalist arm for instance starting in the late 70′s that came at the expense of arts spending, and which continues today..even Bruce Dowbiggen a sports writer suggests that CBC shold stop creating regional dramas because the Americans can do this so much better and really that’s all we want to see. Jian’s producers had no interest I asking the artists that are producing Mr Daisey’s piece on Apple into the studio to discuss the reasons why and share our thoughts on theatre versus journalism despite strong efforts on our PR person to make them aware of our interest and availability. Programs such as that program are mostly interested in the sexy US based issues. This, they believe, makes them “international”. But as my mentor James Reaney said..we have to scratch through the treebark of local before we can get to the universal.

  22. Will O'Hare says:

    Well, journalists had been covering the story, including The Atlantic, BBC News, All Things D, The Mirror and The New York Times to name a few. I think part of the reason Daisey has received a well-deserved spanking from the journalistic community is that in addition to his stage show and appearance on This American Life, Daisey has also appeared on numerous media outlets not only pushing the lies in his show, but harshly criticizing tech journalists and even denigrating them as hacks. Those with journalistic integrity are rightly concerned because by playing fast and loose with the facts, both on and offstage, Daisey has muddled the issue of human rights in the factories overseas while also damaging the validity of documentary theatre.

  23. [...] on the fantastic online discussion about truth and theatre in response to our recent blog post on PraxisTheatre.com? Includes comments by Mike Daisey, David  Ferry, Mitchell Cushman, Andy McKim, Sarah Stanley, [...]

  24. [...] hands Ferry cue cards with excerpts from several sources; the This American Life retraction, the Praxis Theatre blog and Daisey’s own website, which he pauses to read to the audience. The experience is like [...]

  25. [...] –  David Ferry, on the Praxis Theatre blog post Pushing up Daisey: iChanges in iChina [...]