March 16, 2012: Daiseyaster Strikes
Shit met fan on Friday, when a tense episode of This American Life and advance press release revealed that key details about The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs were fabricated by its author-performer, Mike Daisey. Amongst the wreckage is a canceled April 7 performance of the consumer-electronics industry exposé / embellished monologue in Chicago.
Predictably, this most SEO scandal of all time—which erupted almost simultaneously with sales of Apple’s new iPad—triggered a frenzy that functioned as a kind of straw poll on ethics, standards and best practices in journalism.
Tweeted Anne Elizabeth Moore, no stranger to performance created to comment on overseas mass-manufacturing methods: “And now I’m unfollowing journalists who claim that there’s a natural, just divide between journalism and entertainment #knowyourhistory”. She added later, “Daisey just made it harder for those of us who do creative journalism.”
Tweeted Claudia La Rocco: “Using a source to fact-check that source is like using a word to define that word.”
Tweeted Patrick Thornton: “If you ever say to yourself, ‘maybe we shouldn’t run this story,’ you shouldn’t run it. Not when it involves sourcing.”
Chicago Tribune theater critic Chris Jones’s response states that artists “make things up in service of their broader point. Their subjective broader point. That’s why ‘This American Life’ made a mistake in airing Daisey’s monologue as fact. And it’s why Daisey made a mistake in accepting the offer.”
Tweeted @nickkeenan, in two parts: “What Daisey did one day to get us to remember people that suffer for our wealth, Murdoch & others do all year for political control. Outrage should always be tempered with perspective and the search for truth.”
In an unsparing post for Reuters, Jack Shafer wrote that “everybody who cares about real journalism owes a debt of gratitude to [Rob] Schmitz,” the Marketplace reporter in China who lifted the rock covering the squirming, creepy-crawly questions obscured by Daisey’s opacity about the piece’s accuracy. Expressing his doubt that Daisey would acquit himself during the TAL episode “Retraction,” which had not yet aired, Shafer added, “Liars come up with all sorts of justifications when caught.”
Tweeted Alison Cuddy: “mike daisey’s story is all-american: believe strongly enough that your end is good + you can ignore the means by which you’re getting there”
“We have different notions of integrity, [Daisey] and I,” wrote Bob Garfield for The Guardian.
On TechCrunch, John Biggs called Daisey “a droning Woody Guthrie whose intentions were good but whose rigor was lacking,” then goes on to add that “We can learn from [Daisey’s] example, at least in terms of consuming less and reducing our endless neophilia.”
Tweeted Tony Adams, artistic director of Chicago’s Halcyon Theatre, with characteristic wit: “So wait, NPR lied about George Clooney being arrested for masturbating while vandalizing an Apple store with a Daisey?”
By 7:24pm, like many, theater actor Arian Moayed was worn out: “Clooney arrested, Kony guy masturbates, Daisey lied & Olive Joon licked Lazarus at school after trying to kiss him. Enough, Mar 16, enough.”
Pre- and Non-Daiseyaster Internet and Choice Tweets of the Week
On Sunday, Anita McNaught filed her first report from inside Syria and David Carr published an article about this thing I’m doing right here. The next day, the Providence Journal published 4,400 words of semi-related steam blown off by Harper’s publisher John R. MacArthur in a Delacorte Lecture at Columbia University on February 9; and Marco Arment, creator of Instapaper, wrote that “the problems with online attribution aren’t due to a lack of syntax: they’re due to the economics and realities of online publishing.”
Thomas B. Edsall got graphic in his March 12 blog post for The New York Times, which argued that “the class-reinforcing trends of higher education pose an acute dilemma for the American political system.”
@brianstelter on Twitter on Tuesday afternoon: “.@jeremyscahill asks: why is the U.S. keeping a journalist in prison in Yemen, & why isn’t U.S. media covering it?” along with a link to this article by Scahill in The Nation.
Via Evan Hill: Seventy-five people including policemen and Masry officials have been charged in connection with the violence in Port Said, Egypt on February 1.
Last year was a big one for ridership on Chicago transit, according to the Sun-Times. Too bad the CTA continues to be horribly suckerrific.
“Horribly suckerrific” pretty much sums up Richard J. Evans’s review for the New Statesman of Hitler: a Short Biography by A N Wilson.
“People’s capacity for bullshit is rapidly diminishing,” delcared Brad Frost in his article Tuesday for A List Apart.
There’s a “lack of standards throughout journalism except at the Reader,” according to Michael Miner of the Reader.
Dana Fouras is “a dancer of genius,” according to Ismene Brown.
Tuesday gave the internet Shakespearean spam by Megan Amram.
Monday took from the realm of the living performance-artist Tom Murrin.
Lindsey Dietzler wrote a remembrance for In Our Words of queer Chicago artist and UIC MFA student Mark Aguhar, who also died on Monday, unexpectedly. Here’s an item from Austinist (Texas); here’s another from The Awl (New York). Aguhar’s death doesn’t appear to have been acknowledged by any local media outlets. You can donate here to Aguhar’s family and help cover costs associated with her passing.
On Monday, London’s Royal Ballet announced the live vocalists for a new Wayne McGregor creation opening April 5, to songs by Mark Ronson and Miike Snow’s Andrew Wyatt orchestrated by Rufus Wainwright, with costumes by Gareth Pugh. Prediction: Carbon Life: The hippest ballet event of 2012. Brown thinks it could be a sign of things to come at Covent Garden.
One more from Ismene Brown: this Q&A with Jonathan Moulds, arts benefactor and president in Europe at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
“An extraordinarily brave evening of dance-theatre: but for whom?” asked Judith Flanders on Tuesday in the dek of her review of DV8. Sarfraz Manzoor advanced the company’s new piece, Can We Talk About This? that same day for The Guardian.
“Why are teachers so upset?” —The title of an open letter to Deborah Meier published March 13 by Diane Ravitch
“Who owns choreography?” Dance Teacher has answers.
Professional musicians took exception on Tuesday to being excepted from performances by the Paul Taylor Dance Company.
A man took exception to Rahm Emanuel upon the mayor’s acceptance of an award from New Trier High School.
Two men kissed at a rally for Rick Santorum at Christian Liberty Academy in Arlington Heights.
Via @youvecottmail: A possible future for arts journalism, one that “isn’t pretty: one where you can only contribute to it as a hobby, not as a paying career.” Via the same source, details on how you can buy yourself a whole big ol’ opera, should the mood strike.
In honor of what would’ve been the dancer’s 100th birthday on March 13, @pointe_magazine tweeted this video of Igor Youskevitch in Invitation to the Dance (1952).
On Monday, @realcadymcclain posted the Doonesbury strip that was pulled from numerous newspapers. @mariabustillos and others linked to a PDF of “All the Doonesbury shaming-wand strips on a single page” on the Poughkeepsie Journal site, which document now appears to be gone.
“Most Americans who claim to be ‘Irish’ are about as Irish as a piñata filled with borscht.” —@robdelaney
“Shark jumped; shark died; boat and skis, long ago rotted; lake dried; shark fossilized, excavated, displayed as museum piece.” —@TCMcG, about Chicago media’s coverage of The Rod Blagojevich is Going to Prison Farewell Tour 2012; here’s Robert Feder on the circus for Time Out Chicago
“Most people are so busy trying to get their story straight they don’t even know what their story is.” —@mxjustinVbond
“Librarians are the SENTIENT INTERNET.” —@logandecker
“Rarely hear fans of digital ragging on printed books. Only hear the opposite from authors high on their own supply.” Follow-up tweet: “(Perhaps not ‘only’ but ‘most often.’)” —@ourmaninchicago
“I was asked ‘when did you feel you became an artist?’… I answered ‘isn’t that the perpetual search? Rarely feel like I am am one’ ” —@DavidHallberg
“I love how George [Clooney] has to wash off the shame of Oscar season every year by doing great things for all peoples in the world.” —@AwardsDaily
“Dear DARPA Claus: All I want for Xmas is an eight-cylinder, collapsible black tungsten Robo-Incubus with both the Zumba and stun-baton apps.” —@xintra
“ ‘What is love?’ – Haddaway on Jeopardy!” —@meganamram
“Thanks to Twitter, the story about the Goldman dude quitting now seems like it happened in 1835.” —@BorowitzReport
“My iPad 2 just keeps repeating ‘We had real newspaper men in those days!’ and would like more tapioca.” —@DJRotaryRachel