As readers of these pages know, my friend Nell Minow and I are co-founders of the Apology Society of America. We take apologizing as a serious business. Not just apologizing but the reasons behind it and having an understanding of not just what you're apologizing for, but why.
This isn't about apologizing, but sort of a cousin, understanding the details of what you're saying and its ramifications.
I'll add that several years back, I wrote an article about Nell called, "The Bizarre World of Nell Minow," about her many and varied high-talents, included among them an accomplished movie reviewer on one hand and on the other, one of the world experts on corporate governance. As for the latter, among other things in the article, I wrote -- "I've long suspected that the seven most terrifying words to a corporate executive are, 'I have Nell Minow on Line Two.'"
The point here being: you don't screw around with Nell Minow. She's sweet and lovely and cheery and giddy and a Sci-Fi Fan Girl Geek. But she's whip-smart, knows the tiniest of details and is polite, blunt and fearless. (One of my favorite stories about Nell was when she got up at a stockholders meeting for some corporation to ask a question, and the CEO saw it was Nell and rolled his eyes when he sardonically asked what she wanted. Being Nell, she would have none of it and immediately shot back, "I just want you to know I have two teenagers, so rolling your eyes at me has no effect."
Anyway, the other day on Facebook, Nell had made a thoughtful post about changes in popular culture due to men getting fired from their jobs. Given that she's Nell with many careers, she has a lot of followers, not all of them supporters of all her points-of-view, and one of them chimed in snarkily (something that wise people know not to do to Nell...) and starting a discussion in scathing defense of Roy Moore and Trump at the expense of liberals. He got more obnoxious as it went on until Nell finally had enough.
Her response -- in a social media venue generally known for pith -- was something that I suspect is along the lines Shakespeare would have written, if he ever had the opportunity to get involved with social media.
You don't screw around with Nell Minow. With her permission (on this, the day before the election), I note that she replied with the following --
Your legacy will be a wrenching shame to generations into the next century and more. You should know what principled journalism looks like. The Washington Post's initial Moore piece and the follow-up today are models of thoroughly documented triply-sourced stories. Moore himself admitted he "dated' teenagers with their "mother's permission." The documents he signed for the young girls have been verified by experts. The incidence of false sexual assault complaints has been proven by the FBI to be a tiny fraction and the specifics of these complaints are consistent with others proven to be true. Furthermore, he was twice removed from being a judge for refusing to follow the law. If you support him, despite allegations that would cause your party to call for the ultimate penalty if he was a Democrat (also applies to the massive corruption of Trump's benefiting from his businesses while in office -- you do know that he has acknowledged backing down from his initial promise not to accept any profits from foreign sources), then you are just another example of anti-science, anti-fact, anti-women, anti-future, anti-justice, anti-integrity politics, utterly hypocritical about deficits and balanced budgets depending on who is in power and who is paying the bills (Kochs), as unforgettably exemplified in the mock slogan of old-time Chicago politics -- Where's mine? Your children and their children will be paying off the mortgage on the deficit into the next century and they will curse all of those who yoked them with it.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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