Been on Twitter lately?
Are you maxed out? Maybe you should switch to listening to a podcast instead.
It’s something Max Fawcett has been thinking about for a while.
How to have a reasonable conversation with people he disagrees with.
Yes. He has been thinking about that.
Yes, our Max Fawcett, CNO’s lead political columnist.
If that sounds strange coming from a columnist known for his take-no-prisoner style of writing, then you don’t know the real Max Fawcett.
He’s actually a reasonable guy, who happens to love a good argument.
“The way I’m wired, I like conflict, I like disagreement,” he says. “I think at some level, we’re losing the ability to disagree. We’re good at dunking on people, we’re good at mockery and sarcasm, but principled disagreement is something that we’re losing track of. I think that has consequences for civil society.”
The loss of principled argument is a phenomenon springing from myriad sources.
Can we just have a reasonable conversation? Yes, says Twitter combatant @maxfawcett. Tune into his new podcast Maxed Out, brought to you by @NatObserver. #cdnpoli #podcast
Twitter and Facebook algorithms that reward anger and push highly emotive messages up the stream. Discourse from politicians eager to win arguments at any cost, even if it means taking a detour from the truth. An increased polarization of politics. Disinformation. Cancel culture. Pandemic stress. Russian troll farms. Socio-political bubbles. Take your pick. We’re all feeling a little attacked and less able to express ourselves and our ideas.
Could Max Fawcett be the one to turn it all around?
Well, he’d like to try,
That's the thought behind his new podcast Maxed Out.
On the podcast, Fawcett will invite guests who do NOT share his views to engage in reasonable conversation.
Maxed Out will not hammer home a political take or perspective, but rather provide space for people to talk it out — something social media and real life rarely allow these days. Nor will this podcast simply confirm anyone’s biases. It is meant to challenge us all, even Fawcett himself, to think outside our bubbles.
“My goal is to reach out to people who I don’t agree with on a lot of issues, really drill down on whatever the bone of contention is between us, try to have a civil, fact-based discussion about our disagreements and see where we net out at the end,” Fawcett says. “I think it’s important for there to be a place where we can air these disagreements outside the safety of our respective confines.”
Fawcett won’t always come out the winner. “We’re going to show it’s a fair and equitable environment,” he says.
“Basically, we’re all waiting for that moment when someone bests Max,” joked editor-in-chief Karyn Pugliese. “Seriously, though, I agree that the way we talk to each other, the way we engage with each other has changed over recent years, and not for the better. Social media sniping being at least partly the reason. A podcast with a long exploration of two people passionately but faithfully discussing their differences — I think we need that.”
“Max is a really gifted writer, and he’s also a strong, controversial influencer on Twitter, unafraid to state strong opinions,” says CNO publisher Linda Solomon Wood.
“On social media, a lot of us have these personas, but what I’m really excited about is that Max is just a really fine, intellectually engaged person to talk with and think out ideas with. I’m so excited about Max having the opportunity to bring that to his podcast, along with some really exciting topics and guests, and find that middle ground that we so badly need in the Canadian political discourse.”
Maxed Out will be released on Tuesday on iTunes and wherever you listen to podcasts. It is all part of CNO's new podcast series. More to come.