Monday, December 31, 2012

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Several Eras End at One Lower East Side Building -

On the day after their wedding in May 1967, they spied a “For Rent” sign at 70 Hester, owned by Sarah Feifer, an old-fashioned leftist. “The only newspaper she read was The Daily Worker,” Mr. Nozkowski said. Harry Snyder ran a fabric store on the main floor, but the former sanctuary upstairs had been vacant since the factory closed, leaving a floor full of grommets. Yet Ms. Robins, who had grown up in an Orthodox Jewish family, said she discerned something “very genial and obviously special” about the place.

In exchange for a few months of rent-free tenancy, the couple spent about $3,000 and a lot of elbow grease to replace windows, upgrade electricity and add plumbing. (From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.) The space was certified habitable under the city’s artist-in-residence program.

Warm, it wasn’t. When the couple decided to have a child, they built a small bedroom so there would be one easily heated space in the loft, which had only a potbellied stove in early years. “We spent winter nights with a stolen shopping cart out looking for wood,” Mr. Nozkowski recalled.

Friday, December 28, 2012

BOMB Magazine: Rude Mechanicals by Eric Dyer:

SS People had sex at our show. I can’t stress enough how proud I am of this fact.

ED People what?

LL They had sex. They were just fucking in the corner! There was another couple that dry humped their way through about 45 minutes of the show.

SS They wouldn’t get off the stage. They just dry humped each other, and rolled around, and groaned and panted while the play kept going on around them. The actors had to sort of shove them out of the way so they could finish the play.

ED They just kept with it?

LL Yeah, they did. And they didn’t even come with each other. They came with other dates. They’re still a couple, we hear.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

A year ago right now at this moment it would seem impossible to imagine reading this story in the New York Times today. So much incredible change has started happening on the ground, and this story describes how it is transforming the lives of workers in both large and small ways. In our culture stories of wars and of business dominate the news—we rarely talk about workers—but in fifty years, when we are telling the full story of globalization, this will be part of that narrative.

Signs of Changes Taking Hold in Electronics Factories in China -

When Ms. Pu was hired at this Foxconn plant a year earlier, she received a short, green plastic stool that left her unsupported back so sore that she could barely sleep at night. Eventually, she was promoted to a wooden chair, but the backrest was much too small to lean against. The managers of this 164,000-employee factory, she surmised, believed that comfort encouraged sloth.

But in March, unbeknown to Ms. Pu, a critical meeting had occurred between Foxconn’s top executives and a high-ranking Apple official. The companies had committed themselves to a series of wide-ranging reforms. Foxconn, China’s largest private employer, pledged to sharply curtail workers’ hours and significantly increase wages — reforms that, if fully carried out next year as planned, could create a ripple effect that benefits tens of millions of workers across the electronics industry, employment experts say.

Other reforms were more personal. Protective foam sprouted on low stairwell ceilings inside factories. Automatic shut-off devices appeared on whirring machines. Ms. Pu got her chair. This autumn, she even heard that some workers had received cushioned seats.

The changes also extend to California, where Apple is based. Apple, the electronics industry’s behemoth, in the last year has tripled its corporate social responsibility staff, has re-evaluated how it works with manufacturers, has asked competitors to help curb excessive overtime in China and has reached out to advocacy groups it once rebuffed.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Cult of the Complicated and Counterintuitive

David Zax has written a
simplistic piece on Foxconn, ostensibly to explain how other narratives have been too simplistic:

At first glance, the narrative of Foxconn and the iEconomy has appeared to be simple. That narrative–espoused by Mike Daisey and others–had been that Western consumer lust had caused us to turn a blind eye to the apparent exploitation of workers in China, an exploitation that went so far as to lead to a string of suicides. And Apple, went the implied narrative, was failing to do its duty to those in its supply chain, blinded by its greed. 

Right—except that's totally wrong. Adding "and others" is an old journalist trick—it lets you cast a wide net, as now anyone who said anything about Foxconn could be caught in it. Gives you coverage, so then you can say what you want. But since I'm called out specifically, let me address it.

First, I've never said, nor do I believe that "Western consumer lust" had caused anyone to turn a blind eye to anything. We have been turning a blind eye to labor conditions all over the world for decades—it has nothing to do with how much we like our iPhones in particular. There's nothing in my work that indicates that.

I also never, in either AGONY/ECSTASY or the interviews around it, talked about the Foxconn suicides as an endpoint. I was clear about this in every version of the show, and in fact clear about it on its TAL broadcast, wherein we discussed how those suicides matter because they indicate a problem by the nature of their cluster. Mr. Zax could easily know that, and quickly, by doing some light reading.

But I doubt Mr. Zax has actually read AGONY/ECSTASY, and I doubt that he has any real grasp of what I've been saying over the last three years. I do believe he thinks I have been "discredited", which means he can use me to further whatever argument he cares to make, without having to check to see if it actually works or not. I'm used to this. The funny thing is, the same thing would happen before TAL—people will always find the narrative they'd like to tell.

But journalists love the counterintuitive—they hunger for it—so we get to hear from the Wall Street Journal, who went to Shenzhen to discover, unsurprisingly, that many workers want to keep their overtime.

This should surprise exactly no one.

The WSJ and Mr. Zax bury the real center of the story—workers want to keep their overtime because they do not believe or trust that Foxconn will ever pay them equitably. They don't believe that because the plan Apple and Foxconn drew up together for reforms doesn't increase wages to a level where it compensates for the loss of overtime that will happen if Apple actually follows existing Chinese labor law.

And they are right not to trust them.

Instead of telling that narrative, we get another story about how counterintuitively maybe doing more for workers will give them less. People eat that shit up with a spoon, in large part because it confirms our comfortable belief that it would be best if we did nothing.

If Mr. Zax had wanted to really write a counterintuitive piece, he could have just explored the stories about Foxconn that have been systematically cropping up since last spring. Like when, after all the reforms Apple has promised, they were caught using child labor again. Or when they worked to shut down schools and have the students conscripted to work in their factories in the run up to the iPhone 5 launch. Or talk about how Samsung has now clearly been caught using child labor but is facing no real outcry from the tech community.

There are stories still waiting to be told. They are sitting right in front of people. The true counterintuitive tech story is how we refuse to see them, and how those who control our media choose to tell them.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A theater critic just asked me what I anticipate excitedly and what I dread about having a reviewer in the house. This was my quick answer:

"The act of having a theatrical critic in the house is unique, because in no other artistic endeavor is the act of the creation of work so intimately tied to its criticism—only in the performing arts is the critic present, affecting the performance by their very presence. What I most anticipate is rarely achieved—a true synthesis and communion with the critic, whose words illuminate beyond a recitation of what happened, or a Yelp-like assessment of whether the show is “worth your money”. What I dread is the opposite: seeing the same reviews over and over again, even when they are positive—*especially* when they are positive—written with no real contact with the work, without risk or joyful struggle, by overworked, underpaid scribes who get no support in our age for real criticism to take root. Every critic should know that they themselves will be weighed, and the better the artist the more exacting our measure is—you can often learn more about a critic from the way they write their reviews than you will about the show itself. Truly great theatrical criticism is a unicorn in the American theater—but I’m a dreamer, and I want to believe, and insist on believing, that it is possible."
Apple: Top 5 events from 2012 | Apple - CNET News:

Concerns about overseas manufacturing, and Apple's involvement persist. A report from the Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior said in September that those in a key Foxconn factory in China that produces iPhones still faced "deplorably harsh working conditions," among other violations of Chinese law. Foxconn said the report did not represent the 192,000 employees who worked at the facility. Just three days later, 2,000 workers at a Foxconn factory in a different part of the country erupted in a riot, reportedly over a spat between a worker and a guard. The plant, which employed 79,000 employees at the time, was closed and reopened a day later.

More recently, an investigative report from French TV program Envoyé Spécial claimed there were still some major worker rights issues, including workers living in unfinished buildings without water or electricity. The report made use of hidden-camera footage captured at Foxconn's campus in Zhengzhou.

Robert Bork Was a Terrible Human Being and No One Should Grieve His Passing:

As solicitor general, Bork was third in line at the Justice Department, so the order fell to him. Sniveling bootlicker that he is, he carried it out. And surely Nixon knew that Bork would bend to his will—he had previously offered Bork the job of his chief defense counsel in the Watergate matter, a job that Bork later said he would have accepted if Nixon had allowed him to listen to the tapes. When he asked, Nixon's chief of staff Al Haig told him that the president would rather publicly burn the tapes and resign than let anybody, even his own attorney, listen to them.

Knowing that Nixon regarded those tapes as a red line, Bork fired Cox and his staff, and—in a startlingly dystopian move that is scarcely conceivable happening in the U.S. even today—saw to it that FBI agents sealed off his offices, as well as those of Richardson and Ruckelhaus, so that the president could lock down any evidence of his criminality they had uncovered. Bork would later describe his reasoning: "A junior officer in the government cannot face down the president and expect to get away with it." Which is a different way of saying that the president is immune from criminal investigation at the federal level. If the president does it, that means it's legal.

It's easy to second-guess difficult moral choices in hindsight. It's easy to condemn people for getting hard choices wrong. This isn't one of those cases. Two brave men had shown Bork the right path. He could have followed them and slept that night with a clean conscience. Instead, he chose corrupt power over justice. He chose criminality over law. He participated in a vast effort to obstruct a criminal investigation that thankfully failed despite his best efforts. That the man Richard Nixon chose as his defense attorney was ever even fleetingly considered for a seat on the highest court in the land, let alone nominated, is a cruel prank.

Robert Bork should be remembered as coward and sycophant. The fact that he persisted in public life, and continued to garner praise from conservative circles for his ideas, is an indictment of a corrupt and blind political culture.

The rest—the hatred of gay people, the rancid paranoia, the tribal resentments masquerading as principled stands—is garden-variety, Ann Coulter bullshit.

Aynrandshow Image Web

Unbelievable—we added a second show yesterday, which sold out in a few hours. This is insane. We are now adding a THIRD and FINAL SHOW—we will not be adding any more—on January 16th at 7pm at the Public. Tickets are available right now
at this link.

"The latest piece in an explosion of new work by Mike Daisey, FUCKING FUCKING FUCKING AYN RAND is an evening dedicated to that most frustrating and difficult woman in our literary and philosophical canon, Ayn Rand. Reviled by millions for her infantile philosophies and turgid prose, she is simultaneously worshipped by millions more for her ideological purity and dedication to the self at all costs. Torrid rape sex, terrifyingly bad movies, and the underpinnings of the modern American financial system all play a role in how Ayn Rand became the most powerful woman in the American mythos today. Discounted tickets are available, though all who do not pay full price will be required to perform a ritual of public humiliation during the show for being moochers, takers, and part of the 47% of proles who are dragging the rest of us special people down toward the gutter when we could be reaching for the stars."

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Apple Customers Spend More Money On Apple Things | The Awl:

These may be true facts, but another bit of Apple news out today suggests what everybody already knows: Apple customers have plenty of money to spend on more Apple things.

The iPad Mini, for example, was marketed as an actual iPad tablet computer. It was assumed by many analysts that iPad Mini sales would "cannibalize" new sales of the full-sized iPad Retina. This assumption, however, was based on another assumption that nobody would ever make if they walked into any upper-middle-class apartment and saw the absurd number of Apple devices elegantly crowding every recently dusted surface: multiple iPhones and iPads, of course, but also the latest iMac in pride-of-place nook atop a $2,300 sliver of desk, and several MacBooks gleaming from the kitchen counter and coffee table and bonus room desk, and also the white Airport wifi stations blinking with contentment from various line-of-sight electrical outlets, and even an AppleTV unit and a Time Capsule backup system tucked here and there.

Apple customers don't know what "Oh I already have one" even means. It is as foreign to them as a Windows login screen. So, more than half of all iPad Mini sales are going to existing Apple customers; only 47% are new to the iPad market.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Don't Trust 'Zero Dark Thirty' - Peter Maass - The Atlantic:

Unlike Lincoln, about a man who was killed a century and a half ago, Zero Dark Thirty portrays recent events. We know pretty much everything there is to know about Lincoln—all that's left is to interpret the historical record—but precious little about the hunt for bin Laden. That's why I was not only riveted by the "Bring me people to kill" line, but curious. Did it really happen? Did the film's heroine, who is called Maya, really tell the CIA director, during a meeting about bin Laden's compound, "I am the motherfucker that found that place"?

If journalists had received the same access as Boal and Bigelow, I would be a bit less troubled. But as it stands, we're getting the myth of history before getting the actual history.I had fact-or-fiction questions about nearly every scene in the movie. Because the historical record is so slim, there was really only one person who could answer all my questions. A few days ago I talked with Boal, a former journalist who wrote the screenplay, basing it on exclusive interviews he conducted with, among others, people at the CIA.
"It's a movie," Boal reminded me. "It's not a documentary." He continued, "I'm not going to go scene by scene or line by line, because first of all I think I've got to have some authorial privilege ... My standard is not a journalistic standard of 'Is this a word-for-word quote?' I'm not asking to be held to that standard and I'm certainly not representing my film as that. The standard is more, 'Is this more or less in the ballpark?'" I pressed for detail and he replied, "It gets very dicey for me if I start confirming specific lines from specific people, so I'm not going to do that."

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Hi there,

Mike Daisey just shared an Instagram photo with you:

view full image

"Simple things are often the best things. "

The Instagram Team

Friday, December 14, 2012

Kathryn Bigelow: Not A Torture Apologist - The Dish | By Andrew Sullivan - The Daily Beast:

But the simple juxtaposition of terror with torture in the film does not force an obvious conclusion. In some ways, like Spencer, I think it reveals the core truth behind Cheney's armchair warrior mindset. The torture was not for intelligence (and it provided nothing reliable as well as countless leads that were dead ends). It was for revenge. It was an emotional lashing out at often random Muslim suspects (and some genuine terrorists) for killing so many Americans. There was no reason behind it and no law. There was pure rage fueled no doubt by Cheney's guilt at being in charge when the worst attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor happened. Cheney subsequently acted out - and yes, it was acting out, it wasn't a rational strategy - as a lawless third world dictator for a couple of years. But by 2008, we see the long-term consequences of this war criminal's rampage. We hear the CIA officer in charge of trying to get the culprits of 9/11 say: "We are failing."

What the movie also shows - importantly - is the evil of Jihadism, and its fanatical religious roots. It shows the terrorism as well as the torture. The easy view that all of this torture was based on hallucinatory threats is rebutted. We see the 7/7 London bombings in horrific detail; we see the heroine's car suddenly peppered with bullets as she leaves the Pakistani embassy; we see her in a hotel blasted to smithereens; we see a key CIA analyst tricked and blown to bits by a suicide bomber. The evil of the enemy is as clear as the evil of Cheney. That matters. Evil begets evil.

And the heroine of the movie is at first appalled by what she sees in the torture rooms. Then she is made complicit, then numb, then desperate. But her strength comes from a passion to get bin Laden and a persistent insistence on tracing every tiny piece of evidence to its source, which means, in the end, on-the-ground human intelligence in Pakistan at great risk. In so many ways, this movie echoes what we are told the Senate Intelligence Committee report concludes. We got bin Laden when we stuck to Western values. When we acted like the Nazis or the Communists, we failed.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Wednesday, December 12, 2012



It's Time for Organized Labor to Build Their Own Media | Slog:

Rolf is short on specifics, so allow me to suggest one: Labor—either alone or as part of a broader progressive coalition—needs to build its own media. And I don't mean union-focused online newsletters or blogs. I mean broad, general purpose news outlets that also cover sports, entertainment, business, culture, and everything else consumers demand. I mean competing directly with daily newspapers, TV and radio newscasts, and yes, even alt-weeklies like The Stranger. (Sorry, Tim.)

And I don't mean a propagandistic rag. They need to hire professional journalists, and assure the same sort of editorial freedom one gets at, say, the Seattle Times. No more, and no less. Of course, a labor backed outlet is more likely to hire a Rachel Maddow than a Michelle Malkin, but that's the privilege of ownership. And when it comes to the op/ed page, well, Katie bar the door. But that's the way this industry works.

And yes, such a union owned/subsidized news outlet would still be advertising supported. But without the need to break even let alone turn a profit, the whole newspaper business model crisis becomes a non-issue. There would be no expectation that revenues ever cover operations. Washington state unions already spend millions of dollars a year to get their message out through earned and paid media—they'd simply be shifting a portion of this expenditure to creating the media themselves.

What would the labor movement get out of such an investment? An audience.

2012: The Year the Internet Almost Became a Cozy Cuddle-Puddle : The New Yorker:

American consumers almost confronted the fact that overseas workers often make our goods in grim conditions, of the sort that—you’ve seen the photos—result in the need for employers to erect suicide nets.

No wait, that was all a lie made up by Mike Daisey! Phew. Or else maybe, as Charles Duhigg and David Barboza meticulously chronicled in the Times, Chinese workers assembling gadgets in Foxconn’s factories for Apple and other U.S. companies have, indeed, faced “onerous work environments and serious—sometimes deadly—safety problems.” It’s all rather confusing, really, and easier not to sweat the details. By summer, many readers had just thrown up their hands and returned to scrolling through pictures of baby pandas on their iPhones. (And now: Ikea monkeys in shearling coats!)

But even as the year closes out with news of Apple pledging to bring some of its manufacturing jobs home, a fire at a Bangladeshi factory producing for another major U.S. company—Walmart—killed more than a hundred young women and men. What’s more, we’re learning the details of a similar fire in Pakistan that killed some three hundred workers trapped behind locked doors two months before that. Not a banner year for the “close your eyes, swipe your credit card” school of American mass consumption.


BY POPULAR DEMAND: After selling out in 16 minutes, I want everyone to know we’re investigating options for adding another performance of FUCKING FUCKING FUCKING AYN RAND. We’ll send word when we know more. Watch the skies!

In the meantime, tickets are still available for
AMERICAN UTOPIAS, our show about Burning Man, Disney World, and Occupy Wall Street, playing TOMORROW NIGHT at the McCarter Theater. Get $20 tickets with the code UTOPIAS here.
Upcoming: Mike Daisey and Ayn Rand | Superfluities Redux:

About twenty years ago, more or less as a dare to myself, I read Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, all 1,088 pages of it, from cover to cover. About 150 pages into it, I began to develop a slight tremor of the hands, which by page 500 turned into a St.-Vitus-Dance-like full-body twitching; at page 750 I was foaming at the mouth, and finally, when I turned the last page, I collapsed entirely into a stammering imitation of a man, banging into walls and scaring children and dogs. After a period of hospitalization and rehabilitation I was restored to something of my old self. But the memory of it remains — the horror, the horror: the turgid prose of this dime-store Nietzsche, the cardboard characters, the grotesquely mealy-mouthed dialogue, the screeching jeremiads, the self-serving self-pity of the eternally-adolescent privileged class continue to haunt my nightmares. Unfortunately Rand’s so-called “ideas” continue to permeate a particularly annoying subclass of American culture — not only Paul Ryan and Alan Greenspan, but also pathetic young men (and, for some reason, not a few women) who pore over these pages on their subway rides, eyes narrowed through horn-rimmed glasses, trembling with teen-age rage and looking for self-justification and rationalization for their paranoia and fear.

Oh well. You can skip the book, I think, and probably the on-going series of films based on the book as well. On Tuesday, 15 January 2013, the raconteur, satirist, and sit-down comedian Mike Daisey will present his latest monologue, Fucking Fucking Fucking Ayn Rand, at the Public Theater‘s Joe’s Pub. “Reviled by millions for her infantile philosophies and turgid prose, she is simultaneously worshipped by millions more for her ideological purity and dedication to the self at all costs,” goes the description of the show. “Torrid rape sex, terrifyingly bad movies, and the underpinnings of the modern American financial system all play a role in how Ayn Rand became the most powerful woman in the American mythos today. Discounted tickets are available, though all who do not pay full price will be required to perform a ritual of public humiliation during the show for being moochers, takers, and part of the 47% of proles who are dragging the rest of us special people down toward the gutter when we could be reaching for the stars.”

Tickets are on sale today. It’s only $25.00; and if I’d known that, I’d have saved the thousands I spent on therapy after reading the work of the woman herself.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Project Iceworm - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

Project Iceworm was the code name for a US Army Top Secret proposal during the Cold War (a study was started in 1958), to build a network of mobile nuclear missile launch sites under the Greenland ice sheet. The ultimate objective of placing medium-range missiles under the ice - close enough to Moscow to strike targets within the Soviet Union - was kept secret from the Danish government. To study the feasibility of working under the ice, a highly publicized "cover" project, known as "Camp Century" was launched in 1960. However, unsteady ice conditions within the ice sheet caused the project to be cancelled in 1966.
Theatre blogosphere dead; no services planned | Superfluities Redux:

“I actually think one of the reasons why the theatrosphere essentially died is that things got better on our big issue (new play development),” someone wrote on a Twitter account yesterday, “and then crazy trolls started taking up a lot of the oxygen.” Now among the other things that are dead (politics, theatre, the book, newspapers), we have the theatre blogosphere. Is it time to write its obituary after all?

I do not mention the name of the person who wrote this because Twitter and Facebook, unlike the blogosphere, are essentially private. People who use these social media can now control who sees their tweets, status updates, and what have you, and unlike the blogs living on the World Wide Web membership is required. But if, as I maintain, the theatre blogosphere is not at all dead, it’s because Twitter and Facebook are no substitutes for it. The theatre has always had self-promotion and gossip as two of its most robust extracurricular activities, and Facebook and Twitter are excellent for these. But what appears under the heading of drama criticism in the mainstream media is still no substitute for the more contemplative and theoretical kinds of drama and theatre criticism necessary to the health of the form itself.

New play development in the United States has been a theme of many blogs in the past, as well as this one, but it was never “The Big Issue” to the exclusion of others. The theatre blogosphere has investigated the same issues as drama criticism always has, to a depth rarely found in the mainstream media these days. It was this — the need for an outlet for extended critical expression of the art form — that led to the rise of the medium, and that need remains.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

My Superpower Is Being Alone Forever: Newly Single | The Awl:

The first few days of being alone again hit like OxyContin withdrawal. Or, at the very least, like a juice cleanse. Only instead of toxins leaving my body, about a shallow lagoon of Merlot floods into it. All the many things I took for granted about the relationship appreciate in value as they suddenly become unavailable. So many inside jokes and dumb little rituals lined up in my mind like a continental breakfast buffet, wheeled away by an overly officious concierge just as I arrive, famished.

This absence manifests itself everywhere. I'm keenly aware of a certain G-chat window's negative space on my computer screen all day. Unfortunate coworker fashion choices go criminally underreported. The pertinent details of which falafel place I did for lunch are lost to the ages. My day's narrative simply loses its primary audience, as though cancelled due to low ratings and frequent profanity. I could continue the broadcast on Facebook, dispatching glossy post-breakup PR or the romantic distress bat-signal of Sade lyrics, but being heard is not the same as feeling known. Nothing can substitute for the presence of an actual human person who knows most of your secrets and still somehow wants to make out with you.

Friday, December 07, 2012

It Happened To Me: My Family's Private Tragedy Became Front Page News | xoJane:

It’s gut-wrenching stuff, and it had all of my Facebook (and real-world) friends talking on Tuesday about how unbelievably callous, unethical and tasteless The Post editors are for publishing it.

I’m invested in stories like these and why we feel compelled to gawk at or reject them because in 1995 my grandparents committed double suicide. Or “murder-suicide,” as it was termed by local law enforcement and more than one local news source. “News” of my grandparents’ sad demise was printed on the front page of my hometown post and in a much larger nearby city’s major paper.

“Murder, suicide cited in deaths,” The Palladium-Times said. “Murder, Suicide Suspected In Oswego,” teased the Syracuse Post-Standard.

Read ‘em and weep. I did.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Mac in the USA | Near-Earth Object:

I think even if it is primarily a PR move, which I also presume it is, it’s a huge one, and even Daisey himself should be patting himself on the back. Steve Jobs famously told President Obama, “Those jobs aren’t coming back,” and as much as folks wanted badly for Apple’s manufacturing to be subject to U.S. labor standards, we all knew it was never, ever, ever going to happen. The iPhone alone, if it were its own business with nothing else, would eclipse all of Microsoft. They’re not moving an inch.

But they are. Even a token move like this is, I suspect, a huge deal, a nightmare of logistics and upheaval for Apple and its juggernaut manufacturing ecosystem that at times seems to have developed an intelligence all its own. It’s a bone thrown, but what a heavy bone it is.

Another step. I recall, vividly, how many times I was told that no one would ever adjust anything in their manufacturing ecosystem to accommodate ideas like human rights or safe and sane work conditions. And this is a gesture, and a PR move, and does not speak to the violations still happening on the ground in China. But it does show that pressure can effect change—Apple never thought along these lines before, and neither have other electronics companies. But be clear who is the driving force here—it's people. Thanks to millions of people paying attention, the landscape is changing, and this move by Apple is part of its efforts to adapt to that.

Apple to Resume U.S. Manufacturing -

For the first time in years, Apple will manufacture computers in the United States, the chief executive of Apple, Timothy D. Cook, said in interviews with NBC and Bloomberg Businessweek.

“Next year, we will do one of our existing Mac lines in the United States,” he said in an interview to be broadcast Thursday on “Rock Center With Brian Williams” on NBC.

Apple, the biggest company in the world by market value, moved most of its manufacturing to Asia in the late 1990s. As an icon of American technology success and innovation, the California-based company has been criticized in recent years for outsourcing jobs abroad.

Lena Dunham Doesn't Write For Money And Doesn't Think You Should Either - Forbes:

On the other hand, people do need to pay the rent, and it isn’t exactly nice to discover that someone who is earning $3.5 million for her musings is so clueless about the things the rest of the world often needs to take on to get by like, say, corporate writing gigs or staff positions on television programs on that can kindly be described as less profound than Girls. It gives ammunition to all of those critics, formerly thought of as humorless, who pointed out the absurdity of presenting Dunham’s Girls as a generational statement as if all Millennials come from a privileged, artistic background. They just need space, time and an understanding boss so they can find their way in the world after their well-off parents pull the financial plug.

Let me be clear: Dunham’s Hannah, the autobiographical character she created for Girls, does not suffer from a permanent shortage of funds. She could be better described as having a cash-flow problem, which is not the same thing at all. This is the sort of situation that gives one the freedom to say writing for money is ”weird.”

Here’s hoping the next season of Girls takes this issue on.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Train Wreck: The New York Post's Subway Cover -

Within its four corners, The Post cover treatment neatly embodies everything people hate and suspect about the news media business: not only are journalists bystanders, moral and ethical eunuchs who don’t intervene when danger or evil presents itself, but perhaps they secretly root for its culmination.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

thinaar's blog: Color Me Obsessed (a fan letter to a fan letter):

Jim Findlay and I were talking about The Replacements a month ago, doing a little armchair critique of artists in their 40s who self-describe as punk, and I credit him with nailing something true: "Punk was an act of faithlessness. It was nihilistic and selfish." It said 'we don't matter and neither do you.' The part of me that wants something to believe in, conveniently, or that wants to believe what I experienced was necessary for some reason other than my own relief, was shaken, until I realized that what got me through adolescence was not faith, but was actually a kind of energetic, enveloping comfort in the idea that whatever we do, it's probably bullshit.

Punk was by young people for young people. We're not punk now. We're in our 40s and our heroes from that time are at least that. We might have moments of it (like my friend Esther getting arrested at a Pussy Riot protest). We still listen to it, maybe we use it as a benchmark, but we are not it. We don't represent it. We have final reports to do, kids to raise, insurance policies to buy. And the new Cat Power's not that vanilla, is it? Surely it goes great with our microbrew and our dinner party?

Monday, December 03, 2012


Excuse the informality—I figured if the president can get down with the one-word subject line, I'd give it a whirl.

I'm writing to announce that we're doing a one-night special event—I'm performing
AMERICAN UTOPIAS, my monologue about Disney World, Burning Man, and Occupy Wall Street, on Thursday, December 13th at the McCarter Theater in Princeton, New Jersey.

We're incredibly proud of
UTOPIAS—we just finished a sold-out run in Chicago, and we think it might be our most fun monologue in years. This will be your LAST CHANCE to see it in the New York area—it's not currently booked to return, so I hope you'll join us.

Starting today, you can get
$20 TICKETS (!) by using the promo code UTOPIAS at the McCarter's site here.

Be seeing you,


Utopias Mccarter

Mike Daisey:

Created and performed by Mike Daisey
Directed by Jean-Michele Gregory

Master storyteller Mike Daisey brings us a distinctly American vision of utopia—how we create public spaces in which we come together to act out our dreams of a better world. Daisey takes us everywhere to pursue the story: from Disney World and its nostalgic theme park perfection, to the drug-fueled anarchic excesses of Burning Man, to Zuccotti Park, where in the unlikeliest place the Occupy movement is born. Gunplay, giant glittery dildos, raving animatronic presidents, and brutal police actions come together to paint the landscape of our American dream.

Daisey’s groundbreaking monologues weave together autobiography, gonzo journalism, and unscripted performance to tell hilarious and heartbreaking stories that cut to the bone, exploring stories that define our age through his blend of hilarious comedy, brilliant observation, and pitch-perfect timing. This is a rare opportunity to see Daisey do what he does best: a master storyteller at the peak of his form, weaving new stories about the things that actually matter.

"His shows have the insightful hostility of the best comedy."

"Masterful and bombastically funny...a voluble and valuable raconteur."

"There is nothing minimalist about this monologuist - if Lenny Bruce was embodied by Zero Mostel and played by Louis Armstrong, the result would be Mike Daisey."