It’s no fun. And the more people you have to apologize in front of, I imagine, the less fun it is.
Public apologies have become a staple of our cultural diet. Every month or two, we expect a celebrity, pastor, or politician to apologize to us. In fact, we demand it. We foam at the mouth. We jeer and flaunt the person’s wrongdoing…
…And it’s really annoying.
You know that Rush Limbaugh apologized on his show on Monday. He will not be the last person to apologize for saying something he should not have. And so, the next time we all have an apology coming to us, here’s three super-annoying habits everyone can stop doing.
I Denounce You and You and You
If there’s one really annoying habit our hyper-politically-correct culture has, it’s how competitive we are at “denouncing” insensitive comments.
Seriously, every last blogger and reporter who has mentioned Rush’s comments has spent thousands of words making sure their audience knows how awful they think the word “slut” is. Everyone has to outdo the last guy, do a little more denouncing than the last guy, throw a couple more stones than the last guy heaved, so everyone knows we really mean it…like way more than the last guy. You think that guy’s pissed about the word “slut?” Well, I’m really super righteously pissed off! That’s how sensitive and politically correct I am!
Public apologies just become an easy opportunity to cash in and make yourself look super extra sensitive and politically correct. It’s phony, it’s garbage, and I don’t buy it.
Never Accept It
Everyone knows when a kid is made to apologize but he doesn’t mean it. He drags his feet, looks at the floor and mumbles, “I’m sorry.” And Mom says, “Sorry for what?”
Chances are, if you are not a fan of Rush, you’ve been eating this up. You’re hoping and praying that this is the beginning of the end for him (it isn’t.) And you probably listened to his apology and thought to yourself how insincere he sounded. Surely, you said, he’s just apologizing to stop the sponsors from running off. “He’s just saying sorry because he has to! He really thinks that girl is a slut!”
And if you are one of Rush’s fans, you thought just the opposite.
People did the same thing when Ed Schultz apologized (and was suspended) for calling Laura Ingraham a slut, or when David Letterman spent seven minutes apologizing for calling Sarah Palin a slut, or when Don Imus or Tiger or Elliot or Anthony or Mel or anyone else apologized. If we loved them before, we were quick to forgive and forget. If not, there’s nothing they could say to earn our forgiveness.
Public apologies just show how willfully selective our hearing is. We take someone at their word when they say something idiotic, we are righteously convinced that they really meant that terrible thing. But there’s no way we’ll believe them when they apologize. Forgiveness is not an option.
Now Apologize, Because You Hurt My Feelings
And of course, if there’s one thing whiny Americans love to do, it’s to demand an apology. We want to be first in line because we have a right to never be offended!
Demanding an apology is a loud and satisfying thing to do. Know what else? It makes point #2 run rampant. The quicker we are to demand an apology, the easier it is to never accept the apology. We never give anyone the chance to apologize on their own accord. We demand it. Then we say, “He’s just apologizing because we’re making him! He doesn’t mean it! I do not accept that!”
Next time someone wrongs you, how about not demanding an apology. Let them realize their mistake on their own and make a sincere apology to you. Then accept it and let it go.
And as far as the famous people go, you don’t deserve an apology from them. They didn’t do anything to you. Quit this righteous indignation farse.
What do you think? Is our culture addicted to apologies? Are we able to accept apologies, or do we just like to demand them? Do you demand apologies from the people you live with, or do you let them apologize?