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And I thought, this is the first moment we’ve had with smart phones like that. We have a window here, and we’ve changed our relationships to the device, to such an intimate place we’re practically cyborgs. We could* talk about these things in a way we never could before. That was the idea.

Last night, at a long-scheduled appearance at Georgetown University, Mike Daisey gave his first public talk since the news broke last Friday that This American Life was retracting the now-infamous episode featuring his work. Daisey is a complicated and conflicted figure, and, it’s hard not to feel complicated and conflicted about him and about his work. His talk last night, which I’ve transcribed below as best I could, provides a new dimension to the story that is now at the center of a scandal.

And I became really obsessed with these test pictures. There was something about them I found really* beautiful and really enchanting. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. I just really loved them. I would download them from the forum boards and I would put them in a folder on my desktop and kind of obsessively look at them.

I want to go through some of the details in the story, just a couple of them, the biggest ones. Not all of them. I don’t want to bore you. So, I’ve got them written down this way:

And I remember in Hong Kong on the news every night, we would watch the coverage of the suicides at Foxconn, as we were getting ready to go into the mainland, into Shenzhen. And watching how everyone was paying attention and thinking* how crazy it was to actually be there, at this moment.

So. I am just going to tell you everything that I think there is to tell that fits into a nice framework that we can all listen to. And there will be parts in it about the global labor struggle. Because I felt bad for the 25 percent of the audience who is just like, I don’t know what’s going on. (Laughter) Because we like to believe, if you’re inside the NPR bubble, that like everyone has actually heard this*, oh my, how could we be thinking about anything else? But I feel certain that there’s some people out there who are like “this really sounds insular, and I don’t have any idea what we’re getting at, and I didn’t listen to the opening remarks, and now it’s really getting confusing.” I feel for you, I do, because I’m a performer, and I listen to audiences* and that is actually my job, so I literally do feel for you. I’m sorry. It’s not my best performance in that sense, but it’s important.

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