Would Steve Jobs Have Approved? Artist Offers His Apple Monologue, Performance Rights, For Free

from the it's-good-to-share dept

As sales of its products soar, and its share price continues to climb, Apple has come under increasing scrutiny because of the working conditions in the Chinese factories where its iPhone and iPad are manufactured. This has led Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, to announce recently that the Fair Labor Association will be conducting audits of Apple’s final assembly suppliers, including Foxconn factories in China.

That tension between the undeniably desirable products and the not-so-glamorous conditions under which they are made powers a monologue by Mike Daisey, entitled “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs,” which we discussed last month, and described by the New York Times as:

a mind-clouding, eye-opening exploration of the moral choices we unknowingly or unthinkingly make when we purchase nifty little gadgets like the iPhone and the iPad and the PowerBook.

The NYT also has an interview with Daisey in which he makes clear his view that, for all the shiny-toy ecstasy Apple’s leader purveyed to the world, Jobs could have done better:

This is someone who had an opportunity to transform the world with these devices and then did. He started as someone whose devices were forged out of piracy, and today it’s the most locked-down computer company in the world. As a capitalist I’m sure that it’s very attractive. But if we’re talking about him as an artist, I’d say that he completely lost track of his ideals.

Given that jaundiced view of “the most locked-down computer company in the world”, it perhaps shouldn’t be too much of a surprise to discover that Daisey the artist is trying to stay true to his own ideals by opening up his work to everyone, not just to download, but to perform:

after nearly 200 performances, the monologuist Mike Daisey was to release a theatrical transcript of his latest one-man show, “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs,” through his Web site, mikedaisey.blogspot.com. It will be free to download and in a rare twist, if an aspiring performer should want to mount a production of the show, Mr. Daisey will not ask for payment.

Rare indeed. Given Jobs’ allergic reaction to letting people ‘do what they want’ without significant limits or tollbooths, would he have approved?

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Companies: apple, foxconn

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Comments on “Would Steve Jobs Have Approved? Artist Offers His Apple Monologue, Performance Rights, For Free”

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alternatives() says:

No, due to Franklin

The Apple ][ platform was open – the red book had schematics and at one time the source code for the Apple ROM was published/given with the machine.

The pineapple, the Franklin ACE and other Apple clones were a revenue problem for Apple. One Jobs tried to squash with the Macintosh design. And anyone who bothers to look at Apple would not ask such a question when they note how Apple pulled the Mac Clone market permission from firms like Power Computing.

And if Jobs felt he could put money (or keep money) in his pocket – again he’d not give away anything. Claiming his daugher Lisa was not his would be an example of trying to keep money in his pocket. Same with lying to Woz about what the 2 of them were being paid.

Anonymous Coward says:


Apple sure is getting a lot of heat. Guess what, just about every “desirably product” you own, was made in “not-so-glamorous” conditions, you’d probably consider it slave labor if you had to do it. Your clothes, your electronics, anything made in china, which means most of the stuff you probably own.

Also apple has always been locked down, it’s not about capitalism. It’s about control of the user experience, which jobs was adamant about. There are benefits to being open, but small minded people always ignore the benefits of a closed system, which isn’t very capitalist in many ways, it just so happens apple is finally a dominant player. If they weren’t people wouldn’t be complaining and maybe they would see the benefits.

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