Like a moth emerging from a cocoon, lying monologuist Mike Daisey has reached the final stage of his belabored public apology for making up stuff about Foxconn. Let's trace his dramatic transition from fatuous defiance to full contrition.
Last night, Daisey posted yet another response on his blog to his being found out to be a serial liar about the abuses he claimed to have witnessed at the Foxconn factory that makes Apple products in Shenzhen, China. And now he is very sorry, to everyone!
He apologizes to his audiences: "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."
He apologizes to the journalists, like me, whom he "gave interviews to in which I exaggerated my own experiences. In my drive to tell this story and have it be heard, I lost my grounding. Things came out of my mouth that just weren't true, and over time, I couldn't even hear the difference myself."
And he apologized to labor activists. "If my failures have made your jobs harder, I apologize."
This is a marked turnaround from his earlier comments on the scandal. He never owned up to lying in the This American Life episode about the retraction, and in his first blog post after the story broke, on March 19, Daisey seemed put upon by the outcry over his lying. He complained about the awkward pauses left in his This American Life interview and whined that Ira Glass had taken his words out of context. He blasted those he said were "gleefully eager to dance on my grave expressly so they can return to ignoring everything about the circumstances under which their devices are made."
Daisey must have deluded himself into thinking some swell of supporters would rise up in his defense. But as the pile-on continued, and as the theaters that vouched for his facts backed away, Daisey softened his stance. At an appearance at Georgetown a few days after his first blog post, Daisey still clung to the bullshit defense that he was lying in the service of some "essential" truth and blamed journalists for reporting his lies as fact. But he also offered a more sincere apology to journalists, to Ira Glass and to his audiences.
Now, he's wallowing in contrition in his new blog post, ending with a plaintive, "I am sorry for where I have failed. I will look closer, be more patient, and listen more clearly. I will be humble before the work."
Mike Daisey's journey from shameless liar to cowed liar was almost as entertaining to watch as his made-up monologue. Though both would have been more convincing performances had he owned up to his lies from the start.