But you still have a career and Jonah Lehrer doesn’t. Do you empathize with him? I felt some degree of empathy, but I didn’t feel as much as I think normally would. . . .I’m surprised I’m even talking about it. For so long after his thing happened, everyone asked me for comments. I think I reflexively had no opinion in order to not reason another round of things where I’m flattened entirely.
I felt a degree of empathy. It’s not huge. I think that if I read his books before and I loved them, then I might have felt more. But I didn’t feel any degree of like, “Well, you got what’s coming to you!” I just felt sort of neutral about it. But I probably would not have found it terribly interesting if I had not gone through a scandal.
The funny thing in the universe is that you’re a journalist and you’re interviewing me, but I don’t know what I am. I am me, which is a theater artist, but all my tools employ forms of journalism of some kind that everyone can then write PhD’s on — two different people are doing PhD’s on me now. So whatever I am, I’m me, and we’re having this conversation because we care a lot more about this fucking topic than normal fucking people. I assure you that we are not normal.
I do performances, and then the people that come to see those performances tend to be more upwardly mobile, they tend to be wealthy, they tend to be in their 30’s, and 40’s, and 50’s and they are totally not giving a shit about this scandal. Like nearly as much. Even when it was hot they didn’t care as much, and I thought that they would. That was always one of the most interesting things about it is that the intensity was so hot, but then in the actual world, people were . . . not that upset. It’s hard to find normal people that are really that upset.
They know the fundamentals of how things are working in not just Apple supply lines, but at Foxconn, the largest employer in China. Things are fundamentally different now than they were a year ago, which is amazing. I get a lot of normal people that are just happy that the story got out, and that the story was told that way.
That’s the other interesting thing about the part of it: the tech-journalism industry refused to cover this story. I’m always going to be amazed that I had a giant scandal, but there will never be a scandal for the guy that wrote the Wired cover story where he went to China and Foxconn and didn’t interview a single worker in a cover story about labor in China. There was no problem. It was basically like working at McDonald’s — you know how it is. Apple and Foxconn were effective in shutting down any conversation on anything. I know. I was at the frontline, forming my show night after night, I was there. I watched what he did. And it was bullshit, it was fucked up, and it was bullshit. And there will never be a scandal for him because lies of omission are always allowed in journalism.