by Rachel Swan
Former Apple CEO Steve Jobs is currently facing strong criticism in Berkeley, much of it fomented by monologist Mike Daisey, whose new play The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs opened Sunday to a sold-out crowd at Berkeley Repertory Theatre. In the play, Daisey chastens Jobs not only for ruling the Empire of Mac with an iron fist, and manipulating co-founder Steve Wozniak (who, it is safe to say, became a perfect accomplice in his own exploitation), but for shamelessly abusing workers in the Foxconn factories of southern China. Daisey even passed out paper hand-outs on Sunday, urging patrons to call Apple customer relations and complain about the company's unfair labor practices. Yet, in previous interviews, Jobs has defended the Foxconn factories, and soft-pedaled the issue of worker deaths, apparently resulting from unbearable conditions on the production line. At a June All Things Digital conference, he referred to Foxconn as "a difficult situation." Try telling that to lefty arts patrons in Berkeley.