April 25, 2007



My problem with Eisler (who I admire and consider a friend and colleague) was the tone of his initial post, in which he presumed to know what Daisey should've done in the moment, and criticized Daisey with a tone of smug superiority for not doing what he would've done. That *particular* post struck me as knee-jerk contrarianism and condescension. I don't think playgoer is (in general) a contrarian, but I thought that particular post had a whiff of the Mickey Kaus (or any other non-Dahlia-Lithwick political writer for Slate) to it, combined with the imperiousness of a reviewer.

I found it especially galling considering that Playgoer was imagining himself to be experiencing something that he, as someone who has chosen to write about theater rather than make it, will never be at a risk of experiencing, and therefore can have no possible idea what his reaction would be. In that context, his first post on the subject seemed a cheap shot.

His follow up posts, on the other hand, were much more even handed and concerned with having a conversation with his readership about the issue. While I disagreed with his view of the issue in these later posts, I thought tonally they were much better and allowed for a real conversation to happen.

All I'm saying is I think a lot of people's rather hostile reaction to Playgoer's initial post had less to do with content than with form. and tone. Less to do with subject than with treament, if I may beat my own dead horse...


In the post you linked to, Eisler wrote this:

"I know it may not be fair to criticize a very private moment for Daisey. And I can't be so sure I would be so heroic either in such a surprise situation."

So I do feel like an element of humility was there. Also, I can't agree with the description of his post as "knee-jerk," as it was at least partly drawn from new information about the incident.

jennifer gordon thomas

i have a very hard time reading tone in email...so i stopped trying... and began taking the words exactly as they were written and not by the emotional reaction that it sparked in me. i've been burned by my reading "tone" too many times.

Joshua James

I haven't commented on this, simply because I don't see a problem with someone rebelling against something they don't want to listen to . . .

I have NO problem with people doing the same to Coulter, therefore I have no problem with folks doing the same to theatre artists. It's not as though Daisey is defenseless . . . far from it.

I think the "christian" groups are idiots (and they did identify themselves as such, right, and anyone who maintains that they had to get the "children" out of there for "security is an idiot) but they have the right to be idiots.

Daisey has the right to call them out.

If anything, Daisey's career just got a huge boost.

Mike Daisey

I'm actually fond of the term contrarian--I feel it has an established pedigree of idiosyncratic thought and questioning the status quo--so I apologize to Eisler if it came out more flip, or as a put down. Some of my best friends really are contrarians, and I have carried that title on occasion myself, but the points made here are totally valid regarding that title as being often perjorative.


this one is simple & nice.


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