I wanted to share a recent post I wrote for Care2.com, an online community for people passionate about creating a better world. Here’s an excerpt from “Mike Daisey’s Lies Must Not Make Us Apathetic or Cynical”:
“On January 18, I wrote “An Eighth Grader’s Letter to Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook.” I had taught a week-long humane education course, and on the first day I had the students listen to “Mike Daisey and the Apple Factory,” a This American Life broadcast of monologuist Mike Daisey about his visit to the Foxconn factories in Shenzhen, China, where he interviewed employees making Apple products.
…this past weekend, I, along with millions of other people, learned that Mike Daisey had fabricated details in his story about his visit to China. This American Life devoted their most recent show to a retraction. I immediately contacted the teacher of the 8th graders to whom I’d offered that class in January. I knew I had to talk to them. But before I heard back from the teacher I received an email from Abbey, the girl whose letter I had published in Care2.
She had seen a Wall Street Journal headline about Mike Daisey’s fabrication and was shocked. She had remembered that I told the class not to believe me, and had generalized this statement as I’d hoped they all would so that she retained a commitment to critical thinking; but it was clear that she wondered who to believe. I feared that she – and others – would begin to become cynical and apathetic, a deadly combination that has the capacity to profoundly disempower us.
For a humane world,