Mike Daisey is an accomplished storyteller, there is no doubting that. So accomplished, in fact, that he was able to draw large quantities of empathy from his audiences through his captivating tale. Even more intriguing is that Daisey stays true to the mold of “storyteller” by fabricating parts of his story– in the same manner that an old bard in Ancient Greece might fabricate parts of the tales of great Odysseus to enthrall the audience.
The only difference between an old ancient greek storyteller and Mike Daisey is that Daisey’s lecture was extremely influential in solving transparency problems of technological organizations, especially with Apple. The revelations behind working conditions at Foxconn was a huge story in the news, of which Mike Daisey played a tangential role– what I’m saying is that Mike Daisey can tell this awesomely captivating story, but it needs to be truthful because of its relevance to the viability and transparency of current organizations.
However, Mike Daisey is generally correct in his main points about FoxConn and the Chinese factories, and I agree with him that to tell a good story, he needs to set the scene and give the viewer the most vivid picture and setting as possible. So who really cares whether there were armed guards in the factories or not? The main point is that Foxconn was clearly mistreating their workers and it was a very corrupt establishment. Looking big picture, Mike Daisey’s role as a storyteller is to get the word out about Foxconn, and if he needs to accentuate some of the details, thats fine with me.
Back to the other side of the spectrum– If someone is going to release a story to the public about the corrupt inner workings of a corporation, and they’re gonna lie about it to sway the opinions of the audience, that is pretty corrupt in itself. Perhaps even more corrupt than FoxConn? Is it fair to say that both parties are guilty of crimes against humanity in some manner? I’ll conclude this brief and wondrous blog post by saying that this is not the end of the conscious consumers v. corporations battle royale. Consumers are thirsty for transparency, corporations want to maintain their squeaky clean/ shady image, and both are ready to break some rules along the way.