Apologies

June 26th, 2010

There seem to have been a lot of apologizing lately…


As Chris Matthews points out,

There’s a lot of apologizing about.


First Joe Barton apologized to BP,

Then apologized for that apology.

After accepting the House Minority Leader’s gentle instruction,

Barton suggested it was his listeners’ fault if they’d misconstrued his misconstruction.

(The second apology was of course forcibly extracted;

Barton later issued a retraction of the retraction, which itself was then immediately retracted.)


Then came JD “You’re an Idiot” Hayworth

Telling followers how from government to get their money’s worth.

He apologized 3 years later because he “did not completely check out the organization,”

But didn’t apologize for encouraging people to defraud the nation.

(Not only that, but he suggested it’s people’s own fault if they got defrauded,

Not the kind of apology for which one is usually applauded.)


Finally came General McChrystal’s expression of regret,

Made when he still hadn’t been fired yet.

McC said he was sorry for “poor judgment” and not living up to his own high standard

(Such self-praising “apologies” now seem to be standard).

McChrystal doesn’t recant what he and his staff said,

He just wished they’d said it in private instead.


All three “apologies” have several things in common

Which in public life has become increasingly common:

First, say that someone else is to blame,

Even if that’s a very weak claim.

Second, explain that what you did wasn’t that bad

And hope that makes people less mad.

Finally, suggest that it was just a momentary lapse,

Rather than a permanent moral collapse.


If that’s what passes for a mea culpa these days,

It’s no wonder that we’re having an apology craze.

La Rochefoucauld said “hypocrisy is the compliment vice pays to virtue.”

Don’t we want people to admit the wrong things they do.

Is an apology that’s insincere or forced

The kind that should be endorsed?


If you want my two cents

About whether we should accept such statements

Just because they’re in apologies’ guise:

I don’t know, for which I

…apologize.

***

Here’s Hardball’s 6/25/10 “I’m Sorry, So Sorry” report (kudos to Hardball for that title).

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Chris, I love Brenda Lee too, but for today’s theme music I thought I’d update things a little. Here’s I’m Not Sorry by The Condors from their album Tales of Drunkenness and Cruelty.



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Comments

2 Responses to “Apologies”

  1. Flyer0731 Says:

    Apologies are simply a form of self-recognition, an admission that one “got it wrong”. We have made them a ritual requirement. But apologies have never changed the consequences of devastating mistakes, and we all suffer those whether or not there was an apology. Look at the results, not the words. No apology will make up for the suffering inflicted on the Gulf Coast. Not even the $20 billion will do that.

  2. Newsericks Says:

    Good point. Thanks for your comment.

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