“Taking a few shortcuts…”

The Retraction revealing Mr. Daisey as a fake did not come as a huge surprise for me. In retrospect, the vivid description of angry guards armed with guns outside the factory lends itself more closely to a scene from North Korea than industrial China. One of the more powerful things Cathy said was in respect to the false dorm room description, “He’s allowed to do that right?” regarding the lie, “Because he is not a journalist…” Cathy came across as the most honest person in the entire episode.

On the topic of honesty, it appears we can also trust Mr. Daisey about wearing his Hawaiian shirt. The majority of Act 2 had to of been extremely painful for Daisey as he worked to “unpack the complexities” of his story. Navigating through the elaborate web of lies came across as a challenge for the host yet what amazed me is that Daisey never fully came clean and plainly admitted that the majority of his story is fabricated. Instead, he takes long pauses and tries laughably hard to piece together the correct wording to best validate his actions. The session is more of a congressional hearing than a formal apology and admittance of his wrongdoing. I would have respected Daisey more if he hadn’t gone on to lie about lying.

Furthermore, the lack of detective work it takes to hunt down Cathy amazes me. A simple Google search for “Cathy Shenzhen translator” and her contact info is just a click away. In fact Cathy even has a personal website (http://www.shenzhenhelper.com/) written in English describing her services! Perhaps Mr. Daisey should have thought twice before lying about how difficult is to get in touch with his “Shenzhen Helper” Cathy. While his mission to help factory workers may have been a failure, I have no doubt he has done wonders for the number of hits on Cathy’s website.


9 responses to ““Taking a few shortcuts…”

  1. I agree with what Brett mentioned about the how painful it was listening to Mr. Daisy try to talk his way out of his lie. It was extremely awkward for me to listen to him try to come off as a good guy after what he did. Of course, I would never put myself in a situation like that, but if I ever was, I would just throw in the towel and admit fault. Mr. Daisy just kept on digging and digging into his hole, and it would have been easier for everyone if he just admitted that he made a mistake as opposed to saying that he wanted to tell a story that would capture the totality of his trip.

  2. I completely agree with the statements regarding the awkward interchange with Daisey. The long pauses were likely very painful for anyone that was listening to him, as his brain worked frantically to create an answer that could somehow justify what he did. If I am not mistaken, he never truly apologized for his actions. He may have said he was sorry, but he would follow it up with an excuse. “It’s not journalism, it’s theater.”He said that his goal was to make a monologue that would make people care. Fair enough. But the fact that he still stands by his work is indicative of the type of person he is.

  3. I am in agreement with all of the above and the previous comments on this blog post. PAINFULLY AWKWARD is the best way to describe the pauses in the interview.

    What upset me the most though was when Mike Daisey came in the next day and instead of apologizing, he went on a rant to defend himself. Why couldn’t he say that the day before? It’s because he was able to gather his thoughts over night to try and think of a way to redeem and save himself. In my opinion, I think Mike Daisey might be a pathological liar, but that might be a bit extreme.

    • You are absolutely right about Daisey going home and thinking of his next lie overnight. He avoids taking any blame for a while during the first interview by taking his time and speaking slowly while developing the proper phrasing. There is a point when he takes even longer to respond and it is obvious he has hit a mental block and cannot think of a response. It is at that point that he admits he is sorry for letting TAL air his performance and that he felt sick while it was on air. Obviously digging for pity while still openly admitting he was lying. Luckily Ira was even more frustrated the next time Daisey came because, as Ira said, he was expecting an apology! Not a long winded justification for his lies. I don’t know if Mike Daisey is a pathological liar, but he seemed scared to admit he was lying. Even if he did, how much more could that harm his reputation? He is a performer anyway…they are almost professional liars who want the audience to believe what they are performing.

  4. While he is obviously guilty of those falsehoods, I think calling him a pathological liar is a little extreme. I think Daisey saw the potential of this monologue to be his most popular ever, and he rationalized the notion of creating little white lies to enhance the story.

    It was obviously wrong of him, but I don’t think he has ever been found guilty of making up lies in any of his past acts. Daisey saw the enormity of it’s potential, and the possibilities got the best of his conscience. Hopefully it won’t happen again.

  5. I agree that what he did was dishonest to an extent, but at the same time I think its important to remember the reasons for him doing what he did. The fact of the matter is that he did have a political point, and ideological motivation behind his actions, and I think this is the reason he did not come forth outright and apologize. He needed to treat the retraction in such a way that he did not harm the cause he was trying to origionally help, and to do this he needed to convey how he felt about the entire situation. I think his defense of his actions, while not particularly apologetic, are the most honest thing he could have said because those seem to be his genuine feelings.

  6. I am still so confused as to why Mike Daisey thought it was ok to fabricate such an intense story. Like Brett wrote, it is incredibly easy to find Cathy on Google. I know this because I looked it up myself! Listening to Mike Daisey try to explain himself wasn’t only awkward, it was annoying. I felt as though Mr. Daisey genuinely thought he could talk his way out of this problem, which simply isn’t the case. A simple apology would have helped his situation, not his defensive rant.

  7. I feel the exact same way as Brett regarding Mr. Daisey’s reluctance to apologize or even admit that he lied. Searching for Cathy on the internet was very smart. It reveals how wrong Mr. Daisey and This American Life are. Mr. Daisey should have realized that Cathy could be located easily, whether Mr. Daisey supplied a false name or not. But, This American Life should have been able to investigate Mr. Daisey’s claims. If something doesn’t sound 100% right than there is a good chance it is not 100% right. This American Life should have confirmed Mr. Daisey’s facts before airing the episode. It would have saved themselves and Mr. Daisey a lot of bad press.

  8. I completely agree with the fact that the way Mr. Daisey acted during the interviews was awkward and cowardly to say the least. Lying about the events that happened during his trips to the factories was bad enough, but never officially apologizing to This American Life made the situation that much worse. He should have at least had the decency to own up to his mistakes and make the apology for potentially destroying the credibility of This American Life and Apple. The fact that Cathy the translator is one simple Google search away is mind boggling and shows the lack of detective work on This American Life’s part.

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