I’ll admit, I fell for Mike Daisey’s monologue about visiting an iPad factory in China when it aired on This American Life because I have an entrenched distrust of our overblown consumerist culture, which relies on massive and unimaginably cruel exploitation of people and resources around the world.
But Daisey lied and took shortcuts in his piece in ways that should have been obvious to me as someone who lived in China for a couple years and as someone of Chinese descent. In retrospect, Daisey exploited some stereotypes and assumptions Americans hold about China as well as the American propensity for paternalism. There are real cases of horrible working conditions and extreme exploitation in China that you don’t have to dig too hard to find, so it’s wonder why Daisey felt the need to lie. Kony 2012.