Thursday, June 21, 2012

Mike Daisey Lied So What – Is It Important That Mike Daisey Lied?:

Despite the opinions of the blogosphere, we don’t look at Daisey as the new James Frey. No, when we think of The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, we think less of A Million Little Pieces and more of The Jungle.

Upton Sinclair’s 1906 book famously captured Chicago’s stockyards, painting in vivid prose the lives and deaths of workers and their families as they toiled in abattoirs and rendering plants. As disgusting and sensational as the unsanitary accounts of meat preparation were, the hopelessness and death he reported was even more so (he describes factory workers falling into grinding machines alive). Based on Sinclair’s own research, The Jungle swayed public opinion so substantially that, eventually, the controversy created a blanket of laws that, for the first time, addressed questions of worker safety, food hygiene, and brought into being The Food and Drug Administration. The Jungle was also filled with big, fat lies.

True, Sinclair’s work was a novel, but — like Daisey’s play — it purported to be based on fact. Many hailed Sinclair as a public hero, but almost as many considered him a fraud and a sensationalist. History now understands that both factions were right — Sinclair was exactly the liar America needed.