We did not expect Mike Daisey to disappear after his non-fiction monologue about Apple was revealed to be full of fabrications, as feverently as we may have wished it. Mike Daisey is a serial liar, but he is a talented, famous liar, which in no way precludes him from participating in American public life and actually makes him a pretty good candidate for political office.
Mike Daisey has been roundly and justly castigated for selling his bullshit stories about visiting the Foxconn complex in Shenzhen, China, to This American Life. But even some of his harshest critics are buying into the idea that, in some contexts—just not "journalistic ones"—it's OK to tell little lies in service of a "larger truth."
In January, American Public Medial show This American Life aired a powerful episode exposing labor practices at the Foxconn factory in China which make Apple products, based on the monologuist Mike Daisey's work "The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs." The episode detailed Daisey's harrowing trip to Shenzen, where he said he met with workers who made Apple's iPad and iPhone. Now This American Life is retracting it, saying Daisey lied to them and portions of his story were fabricated.
Stephen Fry, the British actor and vocal Apple admirer, defended the company on Twitter against accounts of brutal working conditions in its contract factories. This did not sit well, at all, with Mike Daisey, creator of a critically-acclaimed one-man show about those very factories, and, now, of a blog post in which he says Fry "is being a total idiot" and calls him a "fanboy," "apologist" and "pathetic."
Actor and monologuist Mike Daisey, who has been a rising star in the past few years, has a new show at Joe's Pub called How Theatre Failed America. It failed? Really? It's over?? Well, not exactly. Daisey is really saying that it is failing, that the whole medium is becoming very corporate, increasingly in that last bastion of artistry, regional theatre. There are no more acting companies! Nowadays, New York actors are just shipped in for single runs, then hurry back to the city. For example, the American Repertory Theatre in Harvard Square (that's, um, in Cambridge. Which is, um, across the Charles river from Boston), dissolved most of its famous company in the early aughts. And (in my opinion) has suffered a downfall in quality since. (Carry the company torch, Steppenwolf!) Daisey, as it would happen, recently had a very negative experience at the ART. Not one that necessarily dealt with corporate control of theatre, but rather with lovable old Christian nuts.