steve jobs and the joseph stalin charm school

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It takes confidence to sit in front of an audience, armed with a few pages of notes and one glass of water, wearing clothes you may have slept in, using your rubbery face as your primary prop, to discuss warmly but ultimately damningly, for nearly two hours, a man you never met. A man thought of as a rare contemporary hero. A man who died five weeks earlier. What gives Mike Daisey, a veteran monologist, the confidence and endurance to perform The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs daily is, I suspect, justice. The jumpy, chilling, riotous monologue has the expected: scenes from the life of Steve Jobs and Apple; hilarious set pieces about Daisey’s technology geekishness. But its heart lies in Daisey’s disillusionment from his “religion” of Apple after years researching how Apple products are made, most upsettingly by interviewing workers outside the Shenzhen, China factory of Foxconn, a major manufacturer of Apple products. Daisey witnessed the company that produced his objects of identity be ruthlessly indifferent to the lives of the workers making them. His indictment is personal, directed at Jobs, but it leaves no one innocent. After the performance, I needed to run an errand, to buy a toaster. But the stores—buying and selling—sickened me. Toast would have to wait.

more from 3QD friend Gary Sernovitz at n+1 here.

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