Mike Daisey believes Mike Daisey: Do You?


Being restricted to three paragraphs to try and answer these questions is cruel and unusual punishment.  I would be lying if I told you that I have the answers.  But since I must do so as a result of the assignment, I will intend to do the best I can to answer the questions given the context and resources that have influenced me.  What is truth? What are lies? Who gets to decide?  At the crux of sorting out all of these answers, in my opinion, are three main elements: motivations, intentions, and goals.  To illustrate this idea, consider this very blog response.  We can then put this Apple case on the stand and try to generate some more assertive answers.

Sure, I have greatly enjoyed these podcasts, but my motivations for writing this blog are clear.  I am scrambling to post the answers to the aforementioned questions by midnight tonight mostly because I realize the effect it would have on my grade if I did not do so.  I have laid out my intentions, though they are also pretty guided by the prompt.  I plan to consider the answers to these questions based on the resources I have been provided, my own background knowledge, and the context in which I am presenting my findings, namely, a blog to spur discussion among classmates on the topic at hand.  My goal is along these same lines.  I want to create an interesting idea that can be used to more generally understand the meanings of truth and lies within the appropriate context.  In this case, my idea is a set of elements that must be considered in each case – motivations, intentions, and goals.

 Making the dramatic shift from my blog post that maybe twelve people will read to Mike Daisey’s monologue that millions of people have heard, we must remember the core elements and apply them to this situation.  First let us consider his potential motivations behind his actions.  It is pretty reasonable to think he was motivated by the potential of become famous and garnering media attention.  In this retraction podcast, we hear about the MSNBC interview and numerous other outlets for the name “Mike Daisey” to become well-known.  When considering his intentions, it is hard to look much further than the comment he makes in his monologue, which is repeated in a dramatic moment during the retraction,” I am going to lie to a lot of people”.  The fact that he said this straight forward, I believe that Daisey intended to make false statements the entire time.  Last, when considering his goals, I am struck by how much this project and work means to him.  He almost seems to be describing a “suicide” when he gets emotional and says how sometimes he wishes he would have just killed the project altogether.  Mike Daisey had a goal of embarking on a mission to tell the story of Apple to everyone—with a combination of facts and personal touches.  Considering this context coupled with the dictionary definitions of truth, “that which is true or in accordance with fact or reality”, and lies, “an intentionally false statement”, allows us to form an opinion of whether Mike Daisey should be considered a liar, or as he says it, a story-teller and writer.  I believe that since personal wealth could be motivating his actions and decisions, his intentions were to intentionally tell false statements (the definition of a lie), and his goals were not, in my opinion, creating a majority best interest, Mike Daisey should be considered a straight-up liar.  Maybe I do not get to decide, but I think anyone can decide so long as he considers how all those elements play into the context of the situation.  Do you think these elements make sense, and if so, do you think they justify Mike Daisey’s “lies” or do they further make him seem to be a lying scumbag?

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3 thoughts on “Mike Daisey believes Mike Daisey: Do You?

  1. I agree with you that in the context of where he is telling the story, a NEWS broadcast, he is an outright liar and should be seen as such. However, I think one thing that is not so clear is the context of where a “lie” is told. For example, little children are told that Santa Claus exists for various reasons. While this is a lie it is a lie of context and therefore generally acceptable. I think that using this mindset, Mike’s story is fine in the context of the theatre but not how it is presented.

  2. What I found interesting in your blog was when you discuss Daisy’s intentions in making the monologue. Of course, we can’t know what Daisy’s original purpose was when writing the monologue. Was he trying to open people’s eyes to the injustices in Apple’s factories or just to become famous? He did make a lot of money and generate a lot of press, but regardless of his intentions Daisy did get his point across. Of course, the lies he told do discredit our opinion of him, and he should not have claimed his work to be entirely nonfiction. However, we do have a tendency to tune out things we don’t want to hear, and maybe Daisy just wanted to create images that would have lasting impressions on us.

  3. I really like both of these reactions. Using the Santa Claus example is a great way of understanding context. The theme from the second response, intentions, is a way of adding further depth to the Santa Claus example. Clearly, a fat guy in a red suit is not flying through the sky with reindeer and sliding through millions of chimney’s to drop off presents. However, we still tell kids that this man exists. This is an “intentionally false statement,” Merriam-Webster’s definition of a lie. Bringing intentions into this example makes the lie more acceptable, though. Nobody lies to children about Santa Claus with intentions of causing any harm; in fact, preserving this lie enhances the magic of Christmas and is probably in the children’s best interest. In this case, intentions were to create a positive result. In Mike Daisey’s situation, he revealed some alarming truths, but he intended to lie, and these lies caused harm to many people.

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