A Nation of Apologizers

I suppose they’ve always polluted our language:  liars, cheaters, criminals, members of Congress.  But, since we crossed the human timeline into “THE AGE OF APOLOGY,” life in the United States has been analogous to a seat on the fifty-yard line with 8O,OOO people screaming “I’M SORRY!”

And because the language of the apology is now ubiquitous, I don’t think we can hear anything beyond a giant roar when public people step up to the microphone to tell us why we should love them despite their hideousness.

Apologizing is nothing new.  But the development of an entire dialect in support of saying “I’m sorry” is new.  Let’s take a look at a sample of the wiggliness of words in this dialect.  I will avoid naming the chief culprits, mainly because I’m sick of them:  Lance Armstrong, A-Rod, the NFL, the former governor of Virginia, Scott Walker, Brian Williams, Bill O’Reilly, Silas Nacita, the New England Patriots, the Atlanta Falcons, the NFL,  and on and on.   The wigglers.

Here’s what they say:

I misspoke.

I misled.

I misremembered.

I mislanded that punch.

I missed the cashier when I got those crab legs.

I dispurposely mischaracterized.

And on and on.

Here’s what most dismays me:  I don’t recall getting the memo that defined APOLOGY as a meaningful response to MISbehavior and a ticket out of trouble.  Why is everyone doing it?  Why is the media covering the phenomenon as if it mattered?  Whom has a public apology helped?  Today (February 27, 2015) the New York Times ran a column by the usually insightful Tyler Kepner that essentially said that nothing unusual had happened at the Yankees’ spring training camp, that no one had issued an apology for anything.

This is MISery.

I think I’ll go read the classified ads.

7 Responses to “A Nation of Apologizers”

  1. Donald A. Coffin

    Dear Polly,

    I am sincerely sorry that my unkind words caused you to disappear from the intertubes for so long. Had I know then where to address my apologies, I would have done so literally years ago. I hope you will forgive me for the pain I doubtless caused, and that you will continue, now, to allow us to read your words, see your drawings (and photographs).

    Yours in abjectness,


  2. davidsmith

    Here’s what most dismays me: I don’t recall getting the memo that defined APOLOGY as a meaningful response to MISbehavior and a ticket out of trouble. Why is everyone doing it?

    I doubt Barack or Hillary has ever apologized. “You misunderstood me” and “I misremembered”, respectively. The good and great never apologize.

  3. davidsmith

    To err is human, to apologize is even more human, and to forgive depends on how much you identify with the miscreant. Of course, perfect people (politicians) never have to apologize, but now and then (when caught) they find it useful to explain away the erroneous impression that they made a mistake.

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