Getting fresh with Mike Daisey |

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Getting fresh with Mike Daisey

In light of Whitney Pastorek’s excellent posts calling for civility on our message boards, I want to share an incident that happened — live, in front of an audience, and captured on video — up Boston way. Mike Daisey is an accomplished monologuist who, unlike Eric Bogosian or the late Spalding Gray, never does the same show twice. Instead, he charts out each night which topics he wants to cover. He’s currently starring in Invincible Summer at the American Repertory Theatre, the professional stage company in residence at Harvard. Last Thursday, 87 audience members exited a performance, en masse, objecting to his use of (heavens, no!) the good old f-word. Watch the show come to a screeching halt in the (obviously NSFW) clip after the jump, and don’t miss what went down after one guy detoured onto the stage to empty a water bottle on Daisey’s handwritten notes, destroying his original manuscript.

What’s remarkable isn’t that some extremists were rude to a guy whose job is to sit on a stage and express a strong point of view, at times in strong language, but rather how Daisey addressed his audience in the aftermath. So cool you’ll wish you could reach into YouTube and shake his hand. And, as recounted on his blog, Daisey actually dared to find the water-bottle man and discuss the incident with him, calmly.

I have no idea what it’s like to live in a country where “moral police” is more than an abstract concept, where people using some words or opinions actually get punished. If you have, do tell: Didja like it? Really? I don’t mean to be glib, I just wonder why freedom of speech is such a problem for anybody. Water bottle man, if you’re out there, what’s the deal?

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