NOTE: I've been reading about how people want everyone to take a break from the outrage swirling around us daily and thought about a column I wrote - in 2005. There may well be no new stories; only new details filling in the same old story.
Read on for the column and feel free to substitute the 'apologist / offended party du jour.' It's kind of fun.
I’d like to propose a new official day for the public’s general approval. Let’s make every other Wednesday “give no apology / demand no apology” day. That wouldn’t be too tough, would it?
I’ve about had it with apologies being demanded by everyone from everyone else these days. I’m going to guess that the human race has been offending each other for centuries but it seems like the outcry we hear for apologies has never been more prevalent than it is today.
I did a very brief search of people making news with their demands for an apology over the past few months. Believe me, there were scores of them to choose from. Here’s a very quick list:
Al Sharpton demanded an apology from Vincente Fox, President of Mexico, for his comments regarding jobs held by illegal immigrants in this country
The G.O.P. has demanded an apology from Nancy Pelosi for her verbal attack on President Bush
Hillary Clinton has demanded an apology from Karl Rove and the G.O.P.
Islamic groups have called from an apology from evangelist Pat Robertson for his remarks that disparage American Muslims
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist has demanded an apology from Senator Dick Durbin for his comments about prison conditions and treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay
Billionaire George Soros has demanded an apology from House Speaker Dennis Hastert for implying that at least some of Soros’ money comes from illegal drug operations
Brooke Shields wants Tom Cruise to apologize for his remarks about depression and prescription drugs
Both North Korea and Iran have demanded apologies for different reasons from the United States
Estonia has demanded an apology from Russia
High school graduate Thomas Benya has requested an apology from his school’s officials after they withheld his diploma because he wore a bolo tie to his graduation ceremony.
My plea for ‘Give no / Get no apology Wednesdays’ won’t get very far. If you want to make headlines, you can try one of two things these days: do or say something that deeply offends someone or be the offended party that responds to it. I may as well join in. As the offended party, I’d like to demand the following apologies, even if they don’t earn any headlines:
From Anna Nicole Smith - I want an apology from both you and your agent for your “appearance” at the Live 8 concert in Philadelphia.
From Justice Sandra Day O’Connor for announcing her plans for retirement and giving our esteemed representatives in Washington a whole new reason to get up in the morning and snipe at each other from across the aisle in the Capitol Building. You’ve also opened the door for a whole new level of pundit diatribes for a few months. Thanks.
From Marina Bai, a Russian astrologer - an astrologer - who is suing NASA because their probe’s crash into a comet has “deformed her horoscope” and caused her “moral suffering.” Her lawsuit is causing me moral suffering. She’s asking for $300 million to restore the order in her life.
From Mark Felt - Am I the only person in America who kinda liked not knowing who Deep Throat was? What’s next? The singers from The Archies will come forward and claim responsibility for “Sugar Sugar?”
From Hyoung Won, inventor of the “fetus phone” - a device that acts as a cell phone and a portable monitor. A pregnant woman can capture and upload photos of her baby moving, and record the heartbeat while he or she grows. Just stop it. Right now. Can’t we bond with our babies without creating a website about them for God’s sake?
I can only quote French mime Marcel Marceau to try to put an end to all these pronouncements of moral outrage and the indignant requests for apologies for the same: “It’s good to shut up sometimes.” If only more people took his advice.