Video URL: http://ideas.sydneyoperahouse.com/2011/3-mike-daisey-sleeping-with-the-enemy/




Mike Daisey appeared as part of the 2011 Festival of Dangerous Ideas.


We live in the era of the ascendancy of the corporation. Endowed with the rights of man and none of the responsibilities, they have proved corrosive to human values.


Mike Daisey argues that working inside corporations is akin to collaboration in Vichy France, and that only when we have the courage to look at the truth about these flawed creations, can we bring ethics back into this sphere of life.


Mike Daisey has been called “the master storyteller” by the New York Times for his ground-breaking monologues which weave together autobiography, gonzo journalism, and unscripted performance.







Festival of Dangerous Ideas

Sydney Opera House

1-2 Oct 2011


Sleeping With The Enemy


Speaker: Mike Daisey

Chair:  Richard Glover



Audience: <claps>


Mike Daisey:  I think we should start by simply acknowledging time is an elastic thing so we have the span together in this room.  You sit in a darkened room, I am lit in the old way.


The way that focuses attention the way we learned from the Greeks, the one person speaking to the many.


We do this; we use this theatrical idiom in an effort to carve out the truth.  But let’s be honest. Time is very elastic. This could be a very, very short hour that passes in a twinkling, or it could be the longest hour of your life.


Audience: laughs


Mike Daisey:  I think you all had hours like that. Maybe even at festivals like this one perhaps and you are sizing me up.


You are sitting out there in the darkness and you’re watching me up here and you are assessing… what will he tell me?   That I do not already know.


Because we all know so very much about corporations, we certainly know who we are in the context of that world.  After all it’s the context we live in each and everyday of our lives.


So let me begin by speaking the truth, or making some attempt to speak the truth.  Because that is the reason we use this theatrical idioms, the only reason to have the light falling on a single fixed point.


To have one person speaking to the many is to try to clutch at the naked singularity that lies in the hearth of theatrical experience, and that is to say that you will attempt today to tell the truth.


We will fail; we will fail terribly because we are liars and hypocrites. All.


But we will make the attempt together in this room and we will see where we can get in this brief span.


Now, the best way to begin I believe is to acknowledge the hypocrisy of the situation, which is to say that you are sitting in the Sydney Opera House to attend the Festival of Dangerous Ideas.


That’s absurd, that is deeply absurd and you need to understand that, or you’re not even going to begin to walk down the road.


I mean it’s absurd to think that anything dangerous can actually happen in this place, isn’t it?


You don’t actually expect anything dangerous to happen today?  You would have not fucking shown up.


We, by our nature avoid danger and we avoid danger in all its forms and so for an idea to be dangerous you need to subvert the form, the container that is inside of, and this is quite a container isn’t it?


It’s a beautiful jewel that sits in the heart of your culture defining you. One might say even imprisoning you.


Holding all this cultural ideas fixed in place and this festival sits inside that cathedral, and it rise and squirms and struggles to try and make something happen, something unexpected.


The truth is, that outside the daylight and streaming, we all know that a festival of dangerous ideas should happen just after midnight.


In the hour just before things get totally fucked up, that all of you should be drunk on Absinth and done a little bit of cocaine.

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