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It's been a sorry year

March 2, 2010

It’s been a sorry year so far, that’s for sure. Only two months into 2010 and we’ve seen enough public apologies to last a decade.

Mark McGwire, Tiger Woods, Akio Toyoda, Harry Reid, John Edwards… seems like there’s a couple sorry spectacles every week.

And the apologies haven’t been about trivial stuff. They’ve been dramatic public humiliations about important issues. Businessmen, politicians (of course politicians, since they’re generally the sorriest kind of people), sports figures, scientists, and even countries have marched onto the stage to take a turn at wallowing in shame.

It’s a little bit sickening, because most of the apologies are insincere, unnecessary, misdirected, or insufficient.

Maybe the most unnecessary one of all happened this past Friday at the Vancouver Winter Olympics (a veritable fount of public apologies) when the Canadian women’s hockey team apologized for celebrating their gold medal. They won, they went to the locker room, they came back on the ice an hour later when the stadium was empty, and drank beer, smoked cigars, and celebrated. There were no fans to witness the horror and shock of young women drinking beer, but some cameras caught the action and the prissy sticks-up-their-butts Olympic officials were aghast.

The International Olympic Committee is known for its insensitivity to gender issues. Women don’t ski jump in the Olympics because men at the IOC don’t think a woman’s body is appropriate for flying through the air on skis. Triple corkscrew flips on a snowboard and 90 mph in the downhill ski event are apparently okay, but no, no, no we can’t have women going off the jump!

As for the beer and cigars: "I don't think it's a good promotion of sport values," sniffed Gilbert Felli, the IOC's executive director of the Olympic Games, who was angered by the display. (“Gilbert Felli.” The name just sounds like a petty little bureaucrat, doesn’t it? He probably drinks wine.)

So the team felt obligated to apologize for doing something 99.99% of the world probably thinks was cool. Beer and cigars on the ice to celebrate an Olympic gold medal? Who wouldn’t want to be a part of something that cool? Because the apology was so unnecessary you can forgive them for their insincerity, which actually came across as kind of funny.

"The members of Team Canada apologize if their on-ice celebrations, after fans had left the building, have offended anyone."

Translation: “We don’t really admit that anybody without a stick up their butt was offended, but if somebody was offended, well, the nimrods had to go out of their way to watch us on film before they could get that way, and for that we apologize. Whether we are actually apologizing for what we did or apologizing for the stupidity of the people who got offended, we leave that open to interpretation.”

Speaking of insincerity, Mark McGwire’s January 11th apology for using steroids might win the prize in that category, because the only reason he came clean was so he could get a job as a hitting coach with the St. Louis Cardinals. Confessing his drug abuse was a job requirement. Thing is, even while confessing he tried to minimize and excuse what he did.

"I had good years when I didn’t take any and I had bad years when I didn’t take any. I had good years when I took steroids and I had bad years when I took steroids. But no matter what, I shouldn’t have done it and for that I’m truly sorry."

Translation: “Yeah, I took some steroids off and on, but it didn’t really make any difference to my hitting, I swear. Everybody in my family has 50-inch biceps, even my mom. I only took the steroids because I enjoyed having shrunken testicles and acne all over my body at age 35. But I have to apologize to get this job so I’m sorry.”

Gilbert Arenas, basketball star for the Washington Wizards, apologized on February 2nd. He had a gun in the locker room. Mind you, it wasn’t loaded, and if anybody should have a right to carry a weapon of self-defense it’s a professional athlete because their wealth and their working locations in big cities make them prime targets for armed robbery. [See my column on Plaxico Burress.] Still, in a reflexive spasm of political correctness the NBA suspended him without pay and made him apologize.

Ironically, the team used to be called the Washington Bullets until the gun haters and PC thought-police decided the name was a bad influence on kids and made them change it to Wizards – you know, those un-Godly atheistic magic-wielding thugs who run around zapping people dead with wands instead of guns.

Based on their history, this was probably the wrong team’s locker room to be caught with a gun, Gilbert.

"While I regret a lot about this incident, letting the kids down is my biggest regret,” he said in a Washington Post Op/Ed apology.

Translation: “Never mind about the Constitution of the United States of America, which guarantees American citizens the right to own a gun. Kids don’t need to know that crap. All that really matters is that I get my high-paying job back.”

Of course we all know the biggest sports apology of the year. On February 14th the Chinese celebrated their new year, the Year of the Tiger. Five days later You-Know-Who stepped up to a microphone and confessed his sexual shame while his mother sat in the front row of the audience. He had his entire management team at IMG planning and wording this show for weeks, and they decided to have his mother present? While he talked about his sexual addiction? Really?

Tiger, hire a new agency. These guys are stupid. Everybody knows you don’t talk about your sex life in front of your mother. It’s just… creepy.

Speaking of stupid and creepy, let’s look at some apologies from politicians.

And speaking of stupid and creepy again, Harry Reid had the first political sorry moment of the year on January 9th. He got in trouble for saying that Obama is a good candidate because he’s a "light-skinned" African American "with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.” Democrats seem to live in a perpetual state of tension about race, which is why they can’t stop talking about it, and because Democrats tend to be closet racists of the worst sort, it’s simply funny – not surprising – when they get caught sounding like erstwhile Archie Bunkers. Remember when Senator Byrd used the “n” word and thought he was saying something good? That’s how out of touch Democrats are about race. If you think that’s a harsh indictment, just ask yourself when was the last time you heard anybody use the word “Negro” outside of an American Literature class.

“I deeply regret using such a poor choice of words. I sincerely apologize for offending any and all Americans, especially African-Americans, for my improper comments,” said Reid.

Translation: “Let’s all please ignore how stupid and out of touch I sounded by using the word ‘Negro,’ okay? I’m up for reelection this year and don’t want people comprehending the real me.”

Next up was Rod Blagojevich, on January 11th, also in trouble for commenting on Obama’s blackness. “I'm blacker than Barack Obama. I shined shoes. I grew up in a five-room apartment. My father had a little Laundromat in a black community…” are the words that got him in trouble.

“I shined shoes?” Wow, that’s just… revealing. What do you suppose the odds are of two people from the same political party having to apologize for asinine comments about the president’s skin color two days apart?

Even more mind boggling, you know damn well that both these idiots got 90% of the black vote in their last election… because the Democrat Party always gets 90% of the black vote, no matter what they do.

"What I said was stupid, stupid, stupid. I was speaking metaphorically. Obviously I'm not blacker than President Obama,” said Blagojevich.

Translation: “Hey, of course I’m not physically blacker than Obama, except for my hair, but since I’m on trial for soliciting a bribe as governor and desperately need the jury to like me, let me apologize so any black people on my jury won’t start out with an attitude. By the way, since there’s no way to adequately explain that shoe shine comment, let’s all just pretend it didn’t happen.”

Speaking of stuff with no adequate explanation, ten days later it was John Edwards’ turn at the shame podium. No, not for having an affair while campaigning for president and while his wife was fighting cancer. He did that apology last year. This one was for refusing to admit the baby was his.

“It was wrong for me ever to deny she was my daughter and hopefully one day, when she understands, she will forgive me… To all those I have disappointed and hurt these words will never be enough, but I am truly sorry.”

Translation: “I’m not just a scumbag, I’m an even worse scumbag than y’all thought last year when the affair came out. Even worse than when I ran all the obstetricians out of the Carolinas by lying about their responsibility for birth defects. Yep, I’m pretty awful, and I’m sorry that everybody knows it now because I dearly wanted to be president.”

Maybe we should skip over the Rahm Emanuel apology, since he skipped over actually making it. On February 2nd, the White House announced that on January 27th Rahm had called Tim Shriver, CEO of the Special Olympics, and apologized for using the word “retarded” to describe Democrats. The day after the White House announcement the Special Olympics claimed that it never happened, but they did finally end up accepting Rahm’s apology, whether it was actually made on January 27th or not. Confusing, isn’t it?

Whenever it actually happened – if it actually happened – notice that Rahm’s apology was to retarded people for comparing them to Democrats. He did not apologize to Democrats for comparing them to retarded people. There’s a message there that liberals probably find awkward.

At least Rahm finally got around to it, apparently. John McCain just made excuses when his turn came. On February 18th, confronted with his support for TARP, which Americans almost unanimously hate, he whined that Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson misled him about how the money would be used.

"Something had to be done because the world's financial system was on the verge of collapse. Any economist, liberal or conservative, would agree with that. The action they took, I don't agree with."

Translation: “I’m as lame now as I was when I ran for president.”

McCain isn’t the only one who couldn’t make himself say “I’m sorry.” In the last three months, the IPCC’s 2007 climate report has been exposed for being unscientific, wrong, and possibly dishonest about glaciers, sea levels, rainforests, the percentage of the Netherlands below sea level, the rising costs of extreme weather events, and even the actual temperature data upon which Global Warming theory is based. (If you’re counting, that’s six things. The number is important, as you’re about to see.)

"You can't expect me to be personally responsible for every word in a 3,000 page report,” said Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the IPCC, on February 2nd, as more and more people demanded his resignation.

Translation: “There’s nothing I can say, so I’m going to bluff my way through and hope the leftwing propaganda machine can save my ugly caveman ass from criminal indictment. By the way, anybody seen Al Gore? He’s not returning my calls.”

Then the IPCC issued its own non-apology. Same day. Since Pachauri is the IPCC’s chief, this was essentially another non-apology from him, backing up the first non-apology from him. He probably wrote them both and then faxed them to the newspapers a half hour apart so it would look like they came from different people.

"The leadership of the IPCC has looked into both these instances and concluded that the challenges are without foundations. In neither case, did we find any basis for making changes in the wording of the report."

“Both?” Remember, we just listed six major baseless claims that have been discovered.

Translation: “Not only are we unscientific here at the IPCC, we are so unscientific we can’t count to six. So what? The science of Global Warming is settled!”

Pachauri and the IPCC could learn something about how to be more subtle when making a non-apology by listening to Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs, who was accused during congressional testimony of creating and profiting from the credit-default swaps which caused the financial crisis.

“I do think the behavior [credit-default swaps] is improper, and we regret … the consequence that people have lost money in it.”

Translation: “We regret that people lost money, but stop short of actually saying we’re sorry, and don’t regret one dime of the billions Goldman Sachs made in profits. SUCKERS! I JUST BOUGHT MY OWN ISLAND! I’M GONNA START MY OWN COUNTRY CALLED BLANKFEINISTAN!”

Why there is suddenly such an orgy of public apologies is anybody’s guess. Positive thinkers will assume that more people are suddenly listening to their conscience and accepting responsibility. Trouble is, most of these people aren’t really doing that – they’re ducking, weaving, and back-peddling away from responsibility. Negative thinkers will say that more people are doing more bad shit, so more apologies are necessary – simple as that.

Maybe neither viewpoint is correct. Maybe this is a sign that people have become so imbued with the ethos of socialism that they’re doing their reconciliations with the body politic instead of with God. Kind of a scary thought if you value a man’s soul.

All is not bad news. The apologies from Toyota haven’t been mentioned yet. On February 1st, Jim Lentz, president and CEO of Toyota USA, said the following about Toyota’s safety recall:

"First, I want to sincerely apologize to Toyota owners. I know that our recalls have caused many of you concern and for that I am truly sorry."

Translation: “I am a dignified and honorable man representing a dignified and honorable company, and we accept responsibility for this situation, and feel remorse that we have caused our customers to worry about their safety.”

Akio Toyoda followed up with his own apology 23 days later, during congressional testimony. Watching this clearly honorable man being grilled by American politicians, most of whom couldn’t spell honor if you gave them a dictionary, was a study in culture clash. Mr. Toyoda, who literally could not comprehend the idea of his veracity being questioned because he could not comprehend lying, was simply confused when the politicians who make their living telling lies questioned his honesty. Here is what he said before the confusion:

"Quite frankly, I fear the pace at which we have grown may have been too quick. I regret that this has resulted in the safety issues described in the recalls we face today, and I am deeply sorry for any accidents that Toyota drivers have experienced."

That’s how an honorable man apologizes. Sincere, straight to the point, accepts responsibility.

So here’s a message from to the president and CEO of Toyota Motor Corporation:
Mr. Toyoda, please do not fret about the insulting manner in which you were treated by those Washington politicians. You, sir, are engaged in an honorable occupation. You build things, and you do it very well. They build nothing. You are a productive human being. They are leeches. You have dignity and honor. They have neither. Anybody with awareness and an ability to see the world clearly, saw that your personal character prevailed over their moral squalor by a wide margin.

Quite frankly, sir, if the website owner of did not live in a GM family, he would buy a damn Toyota just to make a statement. That’s how good your apology was.

From Reno, Nevada, USA

March 4, 2010 - Good spin on some of these public apologies. You're right, most of them aren't really saying they're sorry. - Wallace, Pennsylvania

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