The origins of this post began with a subtle, internal question. Having watched a netflix movie, “Mao’s Last Dancer” (2009), I was perusing the extras that came with it. In the “making of this movie” section they showed the beautiful mountain village in China that the last dancer had come from, and said that the village was deserted now, which made it perfect as a movie set. Idly, I wondered: why was the village deserted?
That was two evenings ago.
The next day, yesterday, I was talking with my sister Mary, who told me about a theater show she had just attended that featured Mike Daisey, a monologuist who apparently specializes in the ethics of the context that surrounds our love affair with technology. The first hour, she said, he had us all laughing, how he idolizes and fetishes his beautiful Apple products, even taking them apart and putting them back together again for fun.
Then, during the next hour, she said, he took us with him to China, and to find out how these products are made. To discover that the workers, some 13 or 14 years old, are drawn by pennies-per-hour wages from their villages to factories where they sleep in gulag conditions and work at repetitive motion jobs 14-16 hours per day under armed guards.
I look at my four gorgeous, sleek Apple machines (desktop and MacBook Pro computers, first generation ipad, iphone IV), and feel nauseated.
How do we continue to live with such contradictions?
I decided to look up Mike Daisey on you tube.
Here are the three videos I watched:
Why Apple is Committing a Great Sin
The Agony and the ecstasy of Steve Jobs
The Dehumanization of America
Thank you, Mary