Friday, April 20, 2007

More on apologies

Or should that be moron apologies? Since writing my piece the other day I've spent a bit of time thinking about the way people apologise. One particular type of apology that has been happening a bit lately and really pisses me off is when public figures do or say something that they realise after the fact is deemed socially unacceptable. This usually takes the form of hurling racial epithets and the big examples from the last year are Mel Gibson, Michael Richards and Don Imus.

When will one of these people stick to what they say instead of backing off in a desperate attempt to cover their arse? When it's blindingly obvious that, from what they say, the celebrity in question doesn't like, say, black people... why don't they just say so? So long as they aren't actually inciting or committing violence (and admittedly this may well be the case sometimes) why can't they just say it?

"You know, I really don't like black people. They make me uncomfortable. I don't know any, I don't hang out with them and I feel like they blame me for things that aren't my fault. I don't go out of my way to hurt black people but when they get up in my face it pisses me off. I'll stop saying 'nigger' when all the rappers do."

***NOTE*** The above is not actually my opinion. I'm simply extrapolating from some people's outbursts what I suspect their true feeling are. All the same, feel free to leave some ignorant comment labelling me a racist. I enjoy laying into fuckwits.

Mel Gibson I find kinda funny because although he did the obligatory apologies at first for his bizarre, drunken anti-semitic rant, in more recent interviews he's essentially said "I've already apologised for that. Get over it, what's your problem?" And, despite the fact that the bizarre rantings of his father and the church he belongs to tend to support charges of anti-semitism, I tend to think that blaming Jews for your drinking problems points more to insanity than simple Jew-baiting.

Michael Richards I find more pathetic than anything. He was clearly out of his depth and in his stress and frustration he lashed out in a rather vile way. I suspect he's no more racist than the average white person prone to muttering "stupid nigger" in traffic but his public grovelling made me feel more than a little sick. A slightly more honest response would have been:

"Those guys were really obnoxious and were ruining my act. They weren't respecting me as a performer and I didn't feel like respecting them as people. I knew I had the power position and I could really hurt them by calling them niggers. I didn't think it through and I lashed out, now I'm gonna pay for that and I probably deserve to. I tried to turn it around into a Lenny Bruce thing but I couldn't get it together. I don't think I'm a bad person and I don't have a problem with black people but if people don't want to forgive me for fucking up then I guess I'm screwed."

Don Imus just flat out pisses me off. This fucking blowhard was doing what he always does and comes out with a pathetic "I said a bad thing but I'm not a bad person." He's free to think and say whatever he wants but when he's employed by someone else they're free to sack him. He's a long way from being the worst of the shock jocks but from what I've read he should have been sacked earlier. Some right wing conspiracists actually believe he's the canary in the coalmine - with his scalp taken the dreaded liberal conspiracy will go after some of the seriously big right wing names. We can only hope.

Anyone who's been paying attention to my writing would know I don't advocate the banning any type of speech but Imus was in the commercial marketplace - that's what led to his downfall. Whether or not his employers were truly morally outraged by what Imus said, advertisers were pulling the plug so Imus had to go. I have to seriously doubt that the broadcasters themselves were troubled by what Imus said - isn't that the sort of shit he's expected to do?

Of course it may be that I'm simply deeply cynical. The fact that I see their "apologies" as nothing more than a desperate attempt to protect their commercial interests could be a reflection on me more than them.

Maybe I should apologise.

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