Over the past three years, I have been extremely critical of people who demand apologies, more so than I ever even realized. In February of 2010, I was critical of a parent who demanded that a teacher apologize to her daughter for doing something exceptionally stupid.
In July of 2010, I commented on this favorite quote of mine by P.G. Wodehouse:
It is a good rule in life never to apologize. The right sort of people do not want apologies, and the wrong sort take a mean advantage of them.
In March of 2011, I posted my own quote about apologies:
The need for a thank you and/or the request for an apology is a clear indication of a person’s likelihood to be eaten first in a zombie apocalypse. That is, if the zombies can stomach their degree of self-importance.
In April of 2011, I commented on NATO’s refusal to apologize for bombing rebel targets in Libya.
In October of 2011, I commented on how the request for an apology is often a signal of a lack of self confidence.
Please don’t get me wrong. I don’t think there is anything wrong with an apology, and I often counsel colleagues and students to simply apologize for their mistakes rather than trying to explain or defend them.
It’s a strategy I employ quite often.
My complaint is when people feel the need to demand an apology, as if doing so will somehow improve their position or make them feel better.
The only kind of apology that anyone should desire is the unforced, unrequested kind.
Otherwise an apology is nothing more than an assemblage of meaningless words.
Which brings me to my latest apology criticism, this time leveled at GOP candidate Michele Bachmann, who announced that she is dissatisfied with the apology she received from NBC after she was introduced on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon with the song “Lyin’ Ass Bitch.”
From The Daily Beast:
After NBC’s senior vice president for special programs sent Bachmann a written letter of apology, Bachmann said, "Of course I accept the apology, but my guess is that it would have been the president of the NBC that would have been apologizing not a senior vice president," if the same thing had happened to a liberal candidate.
Seriously? The network apologizes for what amounts to a tasteless joke on a late night comedy program and you feel the need to complain about the source of the apology?
Jimmy Fallon, the person actually responsible for the choice of song, has already apologized to her.
This should’ve been enough.
Now the senior vice president of NBC has now apologized as well. In writing.
This really should be enough.
The woman is campaigning to become President of the United States and leader of the free world, and yet she finds it necessary to whine that the source of her apology isn’t important enough?
Wodehouse was right.
The wrong sort of people take mean advantage of apologies.
And I was right, too.
If these are the things that concern Michele Bachmann in the middle of a Presidential race, she would likely end up as an appetizer in a zombie apocalypse.