Mike Daisey is deservedly catching some flak. Daisey does one man shows that are performed in front of an audience. He captured quite a bit of attenion on one he did The Agony and the Ectasay of Steve Jobs, about Apple and worker conditions and the abuses in China. He got caught making up some of the stuff in the show, after it aired on NPR's This American Life.
Now the world is jumping on Daisey for making shit up to make a buck. Like he's the first one to do that. I'm sure Ira Glass has made some edits in a show somewhere in his life that have spun or twisted a story to his liking that might shade the truth a bit as well. I bet he's also sat by and listened to a guest tell what he knows is a bald-faced lie and not called them on it either. Daisey says he's off the hook because he's not a journalist. Journalists all over are knocking each other down to get up on the highest part of the pedastal to call him out. This American Life is in full outrage mode and issued a retraction. The New York Times has weighed in (yeah, they know a liar when they see one.) It's all silly stuff.
Jeff Jarvis has a post up about the ordeal called Lies in which he exposes some of the absurdity here in the modern era where liars are rewarded continually with high office, high ratings, and high profits. Here's an excerpt:
So how could that norm be canceled for public figures, for politicians who insist we’ll have death panels or for performers on stage who think the spotlight forgives lies?
I hope not and I don’t think so. But perhaps we haven’t made the price of lying for them high enough. So they think they can get away with it to accomplish what they want to accomplish.
Jarvis is on target as far as he goes. It isn't that we've not made the price high enough for being caught. It's that the payoffs are larger for doing the lying than any penalty that could be meted out.
I could make an arguement about artistic license being a playwright myself, but it isn't worth it. We seem to be far too happy to live in a world of fiction in our everyday lives anyway. Daisey is just the latest sacrifice to the mythical gods of truth that we pounce on now and again to make the rest of us feel better about the lying that is so pervasive around us and that we just blindly accept, giving permission for it to continue. Voted in an election lately?
The spotlight can't forgive lies or liars. The spotlight was invented so we could better watch a world of make believe anyway. The spotlight makes both lies and truths stand out in bold relief. The problem is, the spotlight can't discern which is which. And sadly, those of us who can have stopped caring enough to do so.