I am lying to you.
I know that my performance is a bit shit. I’m not a trained actor like Colin Friels. I don’t like acting, I find it embarrassing. But I love theatre. I think that’s because other people hate it, because it’s so UnAustralian, like a dark anti-beach. Sometimes things happen in the world which I take personal, and then I go kind of nuts, filled with rapture or whatevs. Then it’s time to go on stage.
I encountered Mike’s story after it was published on a blog called Superflueties Redux which is written by a blogger called George Hunka, I think he lives in Vienna but not sure. He talked about the ‘scandal’ that had unfolded with Mike’s confession on This American Life and the retraction which the program had to make, some of which is V/O at the start of the show today. I became interested about this. It seemed that this Mike Daisey guy, this fat American storyteller, had lied for some reason about the working conditions in China, which seems like a weird subject to lie about.
When I listened to the retraction episode, a bomb goes off. I understood exactly what Mike had done and why, and I understood exactly what the media were doing and why, I knew COMPLETELY what was going on, which doesn’t often happen to me in my world (often I don’t understand very much at all. Like, how come we mine coal even though the ice caps are melting and 90% scientists agree we’re fucked? How come I can’t seem to get any directing gigs even thought I am the best director? Why is it that I’m rewarded when I behave selfishly? And etc.) And when I say that, I mean that I have completely no idea about what was going on, and if you ask me to explain it in words I will not be able to tell you, I just KNEW, I just KNOW.
I knew in the same way when I caught my otherwise professional year 10 teacher tell herself off by muttering her own name in the classroom, I knew in the same way I knew when I laid a huge tackle on the footy field and some kid I think he was called George screamed at me and called me a psycho, I knew in the same way as when I showed my Dad the motorized scooter I had secretly bought in an underground car park.
My point is that occasionally emotional, sexual and political understandings collide into some form of clear sublime for an individual, and that when this happens it’s important to take advantage of it because in that instant there’s a small window where you will be able to create art and hopefully transmit this by accident, and it will be good to watch. And although there is a world of stuff caught up in this play I perform today, the most important thing is probably that it’s personal, and that I approach it hard with all of my might. (Both an excuse for its amateurism and a preparation for it to take you by surprise).
So what’s the truth? Dunno. But please figure it out for yourself. Do your own research, and please help me do mine. If you expect me to explain things to you I’m sorry but I can’t. I’m not an authority, I’m a witness. But maybe we can work together? Anyway that should be the media’s role, so if you have a problem, talk to them. Please talk to them . They are a joke.
If I have to speculate… this is about Accountability, a blanket term which takes in Greece bailouts, Freddie and Fannie/Enron, Climate Change, Tiger Woods, The Stolen Generation + Other Stories, and I suppose generally the fact that shit is happening elsewhere that you are causing but take no responsibility for, precisely because it’s invisible and blah blah blah you’re either tuned out or shaking your fists by now. Mike went to Shenszen in an attempt to become accountable for his Apple obsession. He wrote the Steve Jobs stuff to try and make the guy accountable for the monstrous company he’d created. He did the TV interviews to be accountable to the people who he saw working in the factories in China. Ira Glass perpetuated it for the same reasons, then retracted it to be accountable for This American Life’s journalistic standards, and in the process painted Mike as un-accountable. The media, with regard to which I am a total hater now, ‘re-tweeted’ it to point out that at least THEY were providing accountable journalism, and so that they had a scapegoat to hide the fact that mostly they just provide Journo-tainment or re-tweeting.
And why am I performing it? Because, folks, we aren’t accountable. As a director, albeit one who now consistently and repeatedly directs no work, I am rarely accountable to audiences, except when my show failed last year and I went onto the stage. We are complicit, and we are not accountable.
Let’s talk, and act, about that.
Artaud – “There is no cruelty without consciousness, without the application of consciousness, for the latter gives practicing any act in life a blood red tinge, its cruel overtones, since it is understood that being alive always means the death of someone else” (The theatre and its double, “First Letter” p. 80)