Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Apology

I've been thinking about all the public apologies that celebrities, politicians, sports stars, comedians, and religious leaders feel the need to make. My sense of it is that they all apologize for the wrong thing. They should be apologizing for wasting my time with their carefully worded, audience tested, attempts to save or rehabilitate their reputations.

They are not really sorry.

They may be sorry they got caught.

Or they may be sorry that a careless or stupid statement on their part was spun by the press or the supposed injured party into something it wasn't.

Innocent or guilty a public apology is demanded – by the media.

Take illegal drugs, lie about it, get caught - apologize to the public.

Cheat on your spouse, lie about it, get caught - apologize to the public.

Bilk millions from your supporters in the name of God, lie about what you used the money for, get caught - apologize to the public. (Religious leaders must add tears to the performance. That's a deal breaker. No tears, forget the whole thing.)

Sometime in the last 30 years or so, the public apology came into vogue with no signs of going the way of poodle skirts. Am I the only one who thinks apologies should be private? Am I the only one who thinks that when the media repeats an idiotic remark to millions, when the original statement was only heard by a handful of people, the media shouldn't be the ones to ask for an apology for all the millions that were offended by the remark?

It seems now that even if you say exactly what you mean, and what you say is the truth, the media falls all over themselves trying to find a reason that you should apologize to those people who were offended by what they thought you might have "meant" to say instead of what you said. Are you still with me? Crazy isn't it. Leon Panetta, hold firm. Don't do it. Don't apologize for something you didn't say. You might have been thinking the thing they want you to apologize for, but you didn’t say it.

As I'm writing this blog another politician appears on CNN to apologize for having an extramarital affair. No lie. Just happened. People, listen to me! I don't care. He should apologize to his wife, not the nation. And no, I don't want to see his poor wife standing by his side during the apology.

Right after the politician story? A racist email story. The email was bad. It was in poor taste. (No, I won't describe it.) It was originally seen by a limited number of people in one state. Now it's been seen by millions. The talking heads want the author of the email fired (she works for a state legislator). The state legislator had to defend following employment rules and just giving the woman a written reprimand. I expect any minute to see the email's author in front of a camera giving a public apology.

The next story concerned Iran. You know – the election. The crazy guy who wants nuclear weapons? Hey, he stole an election and he isn't apologizing for anything.

Let's see –

The news in order of importance –

Apology for something that wasn't said.

Apology for a bad joke.

Apology for an affair.

Apology for having someone on staff who sent a racist, private email not using public computers, or on public time.

A political crisis in Iran that might mean the overthrow of the government.

I'm sorry, but this is crazy.

Actually I'm not sorry.

It's not my fault and I'm not going to apologize for this crazy, mixed up world.

Evelyn David
http://www.evelyndavid.com/

P.S. Evelyn David will be signing Murder Takes the Cake and Murder Off the Books, this Saturday, June 20, from 10-2, at Petco, 4915 E. 41st Street, Tulsa. Hope you can join me!

3 comments:

  1. Oh, Evelyn.

    I am so disappointed. I was holding my breath, because I knew where your post was going, but I was in hopes that you would be more forthcoming.

    I agreed with just about everything, up until when you disguised the main point as a "non-issue." Why not just come out with it?

    "Apology for a bad joke?"

    Like anyone has paid attention to any of the other apologies that occurred this past week? Come on!

    And to refer to it merely as a "bad joke"? Really!

    What has become of this country when it's "ok" for an elderly man to come out on national television, and verbally attack an innocent 14-year-old girl, by insinuating that it may be funny in some way that she were the victim of statutory rape. Then to make matters worse, he went on to infer that she was a prostitute, because it may be hard to keep Elliot Spitzer away from her. How nasty!

    No wonder our young girls today have such low self-esteem! And it doesn't matter one wit if that so-called joke was meant for Bristol or for Willow; it was tasteless and obscene--and uncalled for!

    In addition to that, this animosity towards Governor Palin and her family has gone too far. I also think that Barack Obama is at fault for a lot of this. If he had been any kind of a man, he could have put a stop to this a long time ago, but instead, he perpetuated it. SHAME ON OBAMA!

    He made a weak statement about how children were off limits way back at the beginning of this witch-hunt, to protect HIS children. Then he started the attacks on Gov. Palin all over again when he made the "lipstick on the pig" reference, which he denied, then immediately laughed about. Ever since then, Gov. Palin has been fair game, and Obama has laughed with the best of them.

    That just proves that, Barack Obama has absolutely no regard for women--right along with the Jewish people; Christians; disabled/retarded people; the American people; the U.S. Constitution; Right-Wing Republicans; unborn babies--even up to the nine month of gestation; and all the countless other groups of people that he openly and secretly disparages.

    Finally, David Letterman also mentioned that Gov. Palin had a "slutty flight attendant look," which I also think is disgusting as well as inappropriate. When do you hear comparable comments like that made about men? NEVER! And why should he be allowed to single out flight attendants, as well? He has gone too far in his nasty comments! I'm all for free speech, but he has CROSSED THE LINE of decency!

    This kind of talk has NEVER been allowed or encouraged before in the political arena until Barack Obama started spreading his division and hatred, insidiously, within his campaign. We have never had such division within our entire country until now, and I wish that people would open their eyes to what is happening before it is too late.

    We should be helping each other, not tearing each other down. Now is the time to be open with the American people. We were promised a Transparent Administration, yet what we have gotten is an Adminsitration that is shrouded in secrecy.

    You are such an AMAZING writer, and it is all such a waste if you are not true to yourself. So what if I don't agree with you, or if I do agree with you, I'll be glad. The point is that people can tell when we write authentically, and I, for one, am going to strive to do that every chance I can. I may lose some friends, but if I do, then they wouldn't have been such good friends after all.

    Thanks for letting me speak my peace, and I hope that you listened with an open mind. I'd be glad to continued more of this discussion on my political blog, Usurper Exposed, but until then, it more fun talking about my first love, writing. That's what I concentrate on mostly because I love being a writer so much.

    It's been nice to meet you, Evelyn.

    Sincerely,
    ~Cynde
    Cynde's Got The Write Stuff

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  2. Oh, Cynde, Cynde, Cynde (with a “y” and an “e”). Where to start?

    Yet again, you have run way off-point of the blog you’re responding to and used someone else’s space and time to segue into a rant on a whole other topic and try to direct traffic to your own website. It’s a pretty good waste of my time and this arena to rebut your specific views, but I do have to say this:

    Take a minute to actually read your “authentic” thoughts and writings and maybe follow a little of your own advice: "We should be helping each other, not tearing each other down." You typed it, now maybe you can try it.

    And, here’s a tip: Evelyn David, and honestly any other writer, doesn’t need unsolicited, public, and useless lessons or advice from you on how to live up to their potential. You just worry about your work and the rest of us can handle our own. If we want help (and don’t hold your breath) we’ll let you know. If you can’t participate in a better, more constructive, and less selfish and rude way, then just go play somewhere else, okay?

    And, for Evelyn David: I thought your blog was really good, and it made me think of this topic in a couple of new ways. I would only add that sometimes, and it isn’t often, when you owe someone your “I’m sorry” for something you did in a public way (you berated a co-worker in front of a few other people, for example, or you yelled mean things at the kids at the lacrosse game, etc.), I think you should make your apology in front of the same audience just so that everyone who was a witness to the offended person’s embarrassment or hurt is also witnessing your contrition. Sometimes people get off the hook too easily when they can cut you off at the knees in front of people, but then sort of don’t look you in the eyes and half whisper “sorry about that” when they have a minute alone with you. It seems unfair. But, I do agree apologies and really most of our more emotional moments are not for public consumption! We seem obsessed lately with “celebrity”, in all its bizarre manifestations.

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  3. I'm with you, Evelyn. I don't want these people's apologies. If you're a comedian, tell the joke. If people think it's funny, fine; if they don't, fine. I don't like Howard Stern's humor - guess what? I don't listen to him. Problem solved.

    If a congressman has an affair, I don't even care to know about it unless he's spending my tax dollars on her. He needs to apologize to his wife and kids (and possibly mistress). I don't need to be there.

    You know who should apologize? The banks who woke up one morning and said, "Wow, what happened to all our money?" The auto makers who never made the connection between the economy and our ability to buy new cars, and are now wondering who stopped watering the money tree.

    They owe us an apology for being selfish dolts.

    Gayle
    http://gaylecarline.blogspot.com

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