Apology? I Don’t Need No Stinkin Apology


It has become the fashion for someone, agency or corporation to publicly apologize or conversely demand a public apology after any unfortunate event. This has even led to the creation of many non-productive corporations that specialize only in personal and corporate apologies often called damage control or in effect how to apologize with the least damage or even better without admitting you ever did anything wrong.  I believe that a true apology involves the expression of a humble contrite demeanor while the acceptance of an apology should follow the rules of JFK’s quote, “Forgive your enemies but never forget their names.”
I am highly suspicious of any public apology really having any value. Generally those who apologize publicly do so under duress, in hopes of a lesser penalty, to mollify whomever they have either actually or been perceived to have damaged or “offended” or most often simply to spin the news and get the press, parents, teacher, or general public off the original subject and off of their back at the same time. ,
Those who demand a public apology are in many cases, in my mind, almost worse than the original offender. They must realize that a public delivery of a publicly demanded apology is no apology at all, instead it is a game of power and punishment and influence and involves using that power in an attempt to humiliate or marginalize the perceived offender or the offenders actions while at the same time extending the apologee’s 15 minutes of fame. Fame that in fact occurred not because of something they did but because of what somebody else did. I ask which is really more meaningful an apology in person given while looking the harmed person in the eye or an apology in the New York Times. To me an apology in the New York Times on Facebook or Twitter is the quintessential Dear John letter.
In many cases, the public apologist or the public apologee normally are either attempting to leverage a perceived advantage to make a point or to simply recover from their own ill acts. In either case the one underlying principal behind almost all public apologies or demands for an apology is personal, political or corporate aggrandizement, self-preservation or humiliation.
Generally I believe that if you intended to do it in the first place and you could reasonably have had some expectation of the harm done by your actions or words then any apology you make is basically worthless. Worthless because you intentionally did the first fully knowing the damage you could cause and thus rendering your apology nothing more than damage control on your intentionally caused destruction. The presence of the first action negates any effect of the second.
I have often told kids “don’t tell me your sorry, that’s in the past, tell me you won’t do that again because you have learned a lesson, and I will be satisfied. “ I have said to 8th grade students, probably too many times, “don’t be sorry, be right.” or its inverse, “If you are right you don’t have to be sorry.”
I have received some true and meaningful apologies over the years and I hope I have made some.  I believe that generally meaningful apologies occur only when delivered without any demand, when no one even knew who the guilty party was  in the first place or the apologizer has that sick look in their eyes that indicates true shame.
Normally however in our modern world  fall into one of four types: The first two types always include either  the underlying premise that I am not really sorry for what I did only that I got caught or two,  I was forced to do the evil deed by circumstances ( e.g. it’s all part of the game). These types are most often associated with teenagers and politicians which I find to be a strange but telling confluence. The third type of faux apology almost always includes an excuse and will usually include the word “but” somewhere in the apology. None of these types of apologies have any true value to me other than as a source of information. The fourth  and most political type of apology is the,  I didn’t really have anything to do with it but I’m going to apologize to make everyone feel better apology.
Now,  I would apologize about this screed but it would not be a true apology as it’s printed in a blog and linked on Facebook. I would also like to apologize for apparently creating the word apologee because someone else, my spell checker, is offended and says it is not a word. Apologee does however solve the problem of how to refer to someone receiving an apology in fewer than 7 words and for that efficiency I am not going to apologize at this time but may later when more facts are known.

Advertisements

About safrisri

I have been a teacher since 1971 and have taught at all educational levels from pre-school to college. My college degree is general science which I arrived at after 5 years and 5 different majors. A degree as it turns out, almost as valuable and in demand as one in Neo-Bulgarian Mythology. I have been around education for around 40 years and can remember when teaching was a pleasant, happy and creative job and our schools were the same. My writings will reflect on my past mistakes and successes and what my students have taught me about education.
This entry was posted in Political Correctness, politics, Society, The Future, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Apology? I Don’t Need No Stinkin Apology

  1. Wendy Prigge says:

    I love your ending. No apology needed!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s