Saturday, January 21, 2012

Speaking Out

Like many of you, I am an avid listener of a radio show called This American Life (TAL). This past week they did a piece called Mr Daisey and the Apple Factory that I thought was one of their better shows of late. The first half of the show is an excerpt from one of Mike Daisey's monologue performances. I first heard of Mike Daisey when I came across this clip of a group of Christians walking out of his show in protest (watch your computer volume, he's a bit colorful). One of them even walked up on stage and dumped a glass of water on his notes. As a Christian myself, I was furious at this kind of ignorance, that those of us who confess to be followers of Jesus could be so hateful at someone like Daisey who seems to be so keenly aware of our culture problems and even ballsy enough to actually go to China and speak out.

Anyways, the excerpt comes from his new monologue called The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs. In the excerpt from the show he tells of his infatuation with Apple products, his trip to China (Shenzhen to be precise), and the woes of our technological age, not least of which is our ignorance of where the products we buy come from and how it affects the lives of the people in other countries who make them.

What I loved most about the show was how it fairly portrayed the complexity of the issue. Neither Daisey nor This American Life criticize Apple with a holier-than-thou attitude. Daisey is clearly fan and TAL remarked at the end of their show that, as always, the show was produced entirely on Apple products. I myself listened to the show on my Apple iPod and am writing this post on my Apple laptop computer. The show notes that even the people of Shenzhen are conflicted, that while there are a number of problems that need to be addressed regarding the question(s) of justice, these jobs have made possible a certain quality of life that wasn't their before.

I find this kind of critique refreshing. I am not big fan of finger pointing, mostly because I can't extract myself from all of the problems of the world. To throw rocks at others as if it's entirely their fault is unhelpful and ignorant. At least for people in the West, and North American's in particular (my culture and the only culture I can and should speak of with any amount of confidence), we can't even drive on roads without being implicated in the injustices of the world, whether it be oil, deforestation, air pollution, or more. Same goes for politics, but that's another issue.

I recommend we all listen to this show and let it seep into our consciences. And if you just have to finger point, at least confess your own Sins first.

No comments: