The Power

March 19, 2012

Awhile back I reblogged a piece from one of my favorite bloggers, Matt Eilar, and he has now posted an update that I hope you read as well. The original piece highlighted a story done by Mike Daisey on “This American Life” and involved a supposed expose’ of Apple and Foxconn with their working conditions in Shenzhen, China. Daisey’s story has now been debunked and retracted. And I make no apologies for why I believed it. I read many newspapers not the least of which are the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, and both have done stories on Foxconn and Shenzhen. So they were not unknown to me. But China is immense and still relatively unknown, and of intense interest to those who tend to read business publications or the business pages of a newspaper. Yes, I’m sure it’s been of interest to some others, but I doubt few knew the names Foxconn and Shenzhen until Mike Daisey decided to tell a story.

His story is unfortunate in the sense that it’s not reliable, and now Daisey is probably history because of it. How it will affect “This American Life” remains to be seen. But the incident is fortunate in the respect that until a few weeks ago, most people did not know squat about Foxconn or Shenzhen or even thought much about China. Daisey’s story has more than likely changed that. A “real life” friend of mine who had listened to Daisey because of my talk about it is curious about the real story of the labor issue. My instincts tell me she is far from alone. Such is the power of a story to go where no dry news piece ever could — into the imagination and perhaps ultimately into the heart.

Telling Stories

This is actually my day 6 post!

As with the other days, please remember this is part of a much larger conversation about Richard Armitage, and again, you would be pleased by checking out the rest of it here.

Yesterday, I was away from home and had several hours of uninterrupted time while I waited for the high school track team to finish their meet. This time was to be used for finally getting a video completed which was to go with this post. The thing had me in its grip all week, and my hard head was determined to conquer, so the first few hours yesterday were spent in my hotel room continuing to wrestle with it. Check out time came, and I had to move my tussle to a reliable wifi spot — the local McDonald’s. I did eat something while I was there; free food is always an enticement (such is the “perk” of a school bus driver), and as I was wiping my hands of the last bits of my Filet-o-fish sandwich, so I wouldn’t smudge my laptop’s keyboard, a rough looking couple sat down near me. They had a laptop too and were aware that my seat was next to the only electrical outlet in the dining area. The man asked if he could plug in, and then he started quizzing me about my computer. Knowing I had to get that damn video done, but being a people person and being someone who can be easily distracted, it was beyond my power to ignore these people who were continually trying to talk to me. Oh, I mentally berated myself for choosing McDonald’s as a place to work, berated myself for committing to post every day, and berated myself for not wanting to listen to these people.

So I finally closed the WordPress session and turned to take a full look at these two. The man had on dirty clothes, was unshaven, and some of his front teeth were missing, but it did nothing to keep the twinkle in his eye from drawing me. The woman, who was a tall, painfully thin, dark eyed beauty with almost a regal presence, looked a bit wistful for something. This is where I cut to the chase to ensure this post doesn’t run to near 3,000 words. These people were homeless, and the man is probably a genius and the woman supposedly a former wife and mother with four children, which ended when she became a meth addict. Now, this is far from my first in-depth encounter with someone who is homeless, and it’s not going to be my last, but it is the most fascinating. I spent the rest of the day with them, and I won’t bore you with all the details as they’re considerable, but I did end up taping them with their consent, and I’ve already verified some of their information as accurate and will continue to try to verify some more. From what I know so far, these two need their story told. What a privilege it would be to tell it!

This morning when the story just wouldn’t leave me alone, I thought of ‘West of Memphis,’ which I plan to see, and I wondered at the considerable power Peter Jackson has to get a story told. And now Richard Armitage is in his camp, and if he is as quick a study as he appears, he will leave that place much different with almost none of it the result of new found fame. Richard is a storyteller. He has continually revealed in his interviews that he insinuates himself into the storytelling process. Sometimes the writers have talked about it:

One of our great casting coups is Richard Armitage (who plays Sir Guy of Gisborne, the Sheriff’s right-hand man), modest man of sharp intellect…Today, he knocks on my door with a pencil and pad. Can he ask me some questions about his character? I tell him, truthfully, that I can’t believe he is here – an actor of his talent, sitting on my sofa, talking to me about playing this part. I feel so lucky. Suddenly I stop myself – do I destroy what little (gamma-male) authority I have by being so candid? I glance at him. My concerns are unfounded. He is blushing. A man of his talent. I remind myself that the only folk more insecure than writers are actors. — Dominic Minghella on the set of Robin Hood, 2006

Article here

And Richard is aware that he may sometimes be a pain with his need, but he can’t help it:

I don’t think I’ve gone anywhere near the high point. It may not even be in front of the camera. The older you get, the more critical you become. Whoever writes the stuff I’m in must think I’m a complete pain in the backside, because I will question them about every word the character utters.

And I’m excited about where that might lead:

I suppose I’m a bit too curious, but I think I probably will have a crack at directing at some point.

The rest of the article here

He must be in heaven right about now, and all because someone saw more than his ability to look adoringly at a female. What a shame it would be if he were consigned to nothing but that, nothing but our drooling and gushing over his sexual appeal. Oh, I’ve done my share, but that is not what brings me back again and again to see what he’s doing. Since the Vulpes Libris interview, I have been firm in my belief that he wants to tell a story. Richard III? He has talked about it a lot. So obviously, it’s a story he wants to tell, but is it his passion? Some of his fans think so, and eventually, we’ll find out.

Before I finish this post, I must say a hearty thanks to people and places on the web that make this blog possible. Yes, I’m saying that if they didn’t exist, I would not be able to run this place. LibraryGirl and the ladies who maintain the lovely database at Richard Armitage Central, Ali and her cohort Wendy at RichardArmitagenet.Com, Annette at RichardArmitageOnline, and all of the ladies at C19. If it weren’t for all of these people and their propensity to discuss and archive, I know I would never have started this blog nor have delved this deeply into what I believe is the most fascinating part of Richard Armitage. Thank you all for the great pleasure of doing that!

Edit: updated the Conversations page, so no more cheating. :D And I did not forget about Bertold Brecht. More on him after FanstRA.

second edit: I eventually talked about Brecht here.