Straight Edge Netiquette: Smerconish, "The Verdict," and CNN

The CNN Method + Mr. Michael Smerconish

Nothing is stranger than watching someone who invites arsonists to his (or her) party then acting offended when they start fires. If you watched Michael Smerconish's show this morning, he concluded with a frustrated call to civility as if he somehow had played no part in the chain of causation creating our surreally angry public discourse.

Mere minutes before his call to civility, Mr. Smerconish was playing referee between a surreal confrontation of a Trump Supporter and a Trump detractor over DJT's business practices. And mere minutes after his show ended, CNN had an incredibly fawning interview with Sherrif Joe Arpaio, one of the least civil and caring human beings I have ever seen.

That said, I do enjoy Mr. Smerconish's program generally and think he seems a fine interviewer.

Here is the string of responses that I sent to @Smerconish

Now, please note I am not calling or him to censor or impose standards of civility on his guests. This is a call to how he creates space for discussion and how he, and his network (CNN), approaches invitation and discourse.

Straight Edge Netiquette Part 2

I have always been deeply moved by Paul Newman's character in The Verdict.

When he refers to the process, and the law, and the institutions of the law he says: 

"Those are all just symbols of our desire to be just."

He is a thoroughly beaten man, who knows he is going to lose, but knows that he is right and that if he loses it will be unjust.

His summation, if you see the entire thing, starts with profound humility. He is not cocky or entitled. He is not a swaggering egotist spinning his way to a victory.

He is profoundly committed to representing a just cause.

We should start with humility, create space for our enemies and opponents, and try to commit ourselves to finding truth and justice (not just winning arguments).

My exceptions are racist, sexist, and/or hateful language. I understand sometimes this is the purpose of using extreme language (to shock the system). But, I don't hear it the way you intend it (most likely).

As I said last week, I am starting this by always saying that I could be wrong.

So, I could be wrong about Mr. Smerconish's point. I do not think I am wrong about the CNN "Method" but I could be.

I just think if we want things to change, we have to be part of the solution. Hopefully, Mr. Smerconish is listening. If he responds, and he says he reads all of his Tweets, I will let you know.

Until then, please let me know what you think about this project towards a more civil and meaningful public square.

Let me know what you think and Leave a comment and use #sXwNet (straight edge netiquette).

The Verdict
Starring Paul Newman, Charlotte Rampling, Jack Warden, James Mason, Milo O'shea