Apologies expected

I’m sorry for the way things are in China
I’m sorry things ain’t what they used to be
More than anything else, I’m sorry for myself

Singer John Denver may have said it best in his 1975 song “I’m Sorry,” wherein he appears to be expressing regret for the Cultural Revolution and the resulting chaos that shook Chinese society to its core. Even though the massive upheaval that rocked the communist nation wasn’t his fault, Denver apologized anyway for the role he may have played, then went on to regret his own existence, just to be on the safe side.

I think we can all agree with John. We’re sorry for his self too.

More than anything else, we seem to have become a sorry society in general. Apologies are everywhere these days. Consider this lineup of news stories that greeted the nation yesterday morning.

First, we hear that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called President Obama to apologize for saying during the 2008 campaign that Obama was “light-skinned” and spoke with “no Negro dialect.” In announcing his regret to a packed news conference, Reid also noted that he had called every available African-American he could think of, and apologized to them too.

Next came the story that former baseball slugger Mark McGwire had offered a weeping apology to Bob Costas for having used steroids during his career. Choking back tears in much the same way he choked during key plate appearances, McGwire said he called the widow of Yankee great Roger Maris to express his remorse to her as well. Maris held the season home-run record before McGwire did, though I’m thinking Mrs. Maris responded to the call by wondering “who is this again?”

Then immediately followed a report that former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich said in an Esquire magazine interview that he was “blacker than Barack Obama” (which is not saying much if you listen to Harry Reid). Even before many had heard about the interview, news reports said Blagojevich was “standing outside his Chicago home pointing out that it was a dumb thing to say.”

“What I said was stupid, stupid, stupid,” the indicted ex-governor and star of the upcoming “Celebrity Apprentice” series said about the comment, though he was unrepentant about the planned TV appearance. “I deeply apologize for having said it. Obviously, I am not blacker than President Obama.”

Blagojevich then went on to use the word “stupid” a reported 16 more times to describe what a complete and hopeless excuse for a sphincter he was.

So is there anybody out there in the public eye who hasn’t recently offered regrets for one transgression or another?

The aforementioned non-light-skinned president held a briefing last week to “accept responsibility” for security failures that allowed the Bulge Bomber aboard an airline flight into Detroit. Accepting responsibility is not quite the same thing as being sorry, though. Obama acknowledges that he should’ve spent Christmas Day personally air-marshalling all incoming international arrivals, and admits his failure to do so. Yet he hardly seemed contrite in his manner, and repeatedly failed to call himself stupid.

How about Fox News blowhard Glenn Beck? You’d think he’d have to plead to the occasional failing, what with the crewcut and all. Instead, he’s a man proud of his shortcomings, going so far as to list them as “credits” on the back cover of his newest book. “Glenn Beck is an idiot,” trumpets Discover magazine. “A frightfully strange man,” writes publisher Tina Brown. “Only in his wildest dreams could an actual suicide bomber hope to do as much damage to this country,” says the understated-as-usual Keith Olbermann.

Certainly not NBA star forward and gun enthusiast Gilbert Arenas. He said he was sorry for brandishing weapons in the locker room but it didn’t seem like he was sorry enough, because he was still smiling.

Not golfing great Tiger Woods. We know from a statement on his website that he was sorry at one time, though it seems from media coverage like he should be restating that every week or so, and that’s not happening.

Not recently fired football coaches from Texas Tech, Kansas and the University of South Florida. Sorry they lost their jobs perhaps, but if  pressed to abuse a concussed student-athlete with makeshift imprisonment again, they’d do it in a heartbeat if it meant putting one in the “win” column.

Not Kanye West and Chris Brown. “Sorry, bitches” doesn’t have a real penitent ring to it.

Not South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford. He stammered through a June press conference during which he repeatedly asked his staff for forgiveness and in the end had to be reminded there was this matter of a wife and four sons who also might be a tad humiliated by his South American dalliance.

Former New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey was sorry he had to stand at his press conference with his arm around his wife, when he really had his eye on a certain bearded lad back in CNN’s “Situation Room.”

Politicians Eliot Spitzer and John Edwards were sorry but no one really cares any more.

Jon Gosselin and Balloon Dad were sorry, but they’ve never done anything. Anything.

Bill O’Reilly, accused of sexual harassment by a staffer, was sorry and only really needed a hug. Rush Limbaugh, charged with illegally obtaining prescription codeine, is so sorry that it hurts, and just needs a little something to get him through the weekend.

Dr. Conrad Murray, personal physician of Michael Jackson, wants everyone to know he’s sorry and that he always had the best interests of his patient in mind. He also wants you to start counting backwards from 100.

The tiger who mauled his trainer, and the elephant who trampled a mom, and the geese who keep flying into jet engines — all did so with the sincerest regrets.

The demographic that’s missing from this long sorry list is a group that you rarely hear admitting to error. They consistently go about their daily activities without the slightest twinge of guilt. They sweep through this world with impunity, confident that their actions are well-reasoned and beneficial and, most importantly, intentional.

Of course, women don’t do anything wrong, so there’s really no reason for them to ask our public forgiveness. If they ever do, though, we should expect an apology, because it’s the right thing to do.

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One Response to “Apologies expected”

  1. morethananelectrician Says:

    I’m sorry. I fell asleep last night before I brushed my teeth.

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