A Tale of Two Jobs

The iconography of Steve Jobs continues in two productions tackling his complicated legacy and our love affair with Apple products and design.

On Sunday, Oct. 16, Mythbusters Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman will host an hour-long documentary, iGenius: How Steve Jobs Changed the World, on the late Apple co-founder and CEO, on the Discovery Channel at 8 p.m.

Through November 13, New York monologist Mike Daisey—who previously tackled the Edison/Tesla feud—performs his one-man show The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs at The Public Theater in Manhattan.

A Singular Mind
In iGenius, Savage and Hyneman take viewers on a tour of Jobs’ life, working style, and societal contributions through archival footage and interviews with a diverse crowd of people who knew, worked with, and wrote about Jobs, or whose businesses were transformed by his technology, including theoretical physicist Michio Kaku, NBC News’ Tom Brokaw, and Stevie Wonder.

The documentary tackles Jobs’ complicated life and personality. “What surprised me was how much adulation for Jobs there was,” says Hyneman. “He's acquired the status of deity in the tech community. But we saw him as a dynamic and problematic leader of a company. He was inspired to go above and beyond in pursuit of perfection, which is a very human trait.”

“The script is a tribute without turning him into a saint,” adds Savage. “In any detailed analysis of Jobs, you can’t ignore that he was incredibly difficult to work for. It’s complicated to make something very simple. It takes a tremendous amount of energy. But in the final analysis, the results are stunning.”

Poison Apple 
Mike Daisey had already performed to sold-out audiences in Seattle, Berkeley, Washington, D.C., and Sydney before Jobs’ Oct. 5 death brought an uncomfortable timeliness to his New York run.

In it, the master storyteller looks at how Job’s obsession with technology and industrial design have shaped our own. But his tale takes a darker turn in relaying his journey to China to investigate conditions at factories that manufacture Apple products, and the human cost of feeding America’s device addiction.

“This moment is an opportunity to peel back the surface and get at the secret heart of our relationship with Steve Jobs, his devices, our labor, and China itself,” Daisey said in a prepared statement. “We live in denial about China: a relationship that so disturbs us that we pretend our devices are made in magical Willy Wonka-esque factories by space elves instead of the real human cost we all know in our hearts has been paid.”

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