Mike Daisey on Apple

I didn’t know Mike Daisey until very recently because of a monologue that is currently showing at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre titled The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs. According to his blog:

Mike Daisey has been called “the master storyteller” and “one of the finest solo performers of his generation” by the New York Times for his groundbreaking monologues which weave together autobiography, gonzo journalism, and unscripted performance to tell hilarious and heartbreaking stories that cut to the bone, exposing secret histories and unexpected connections.

I started watching the following two videos of his interview on TechCrunch (more videos have been added) with enthusiasm. And it is with a heavy heart that I write this post. You see, Daisey went to China. To Foxconn, where Apple products are made. What he saw there were teenaged kids and others working in terrible conditions building the beautiful iPhones and MacBook Pros that we oooh and aaah over. Not everything is revealed in these two interviews, but he shares enough to break my heart.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Why must there be sacrifices to the human condition to build beautiful high-tech devices? Like Daisey, I too have a deep appreciation for Apple’s simplicity and elegance in hardware and software design. But he is making me think about whether or not I should vote for the continued violence forced upon these workers by buying another Apple product. I am certain it isn’t just Apple, but it makes it all the more depressing because Apple, and Steve Jobs in particular, has been the center and darling of a high-tech renaissance that transformed the music, mobile phone, and now computing industries for the better, for us.

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