On apologising: respect the sorry!

9 Dec

not-sorry_20081216-1458I recently received a sorry email from an individual who had, among other things, threatened to kick my fucking head in. As police were involved, I was pretty sure the apology was made more with potential court proceedings in mind, than as an expression of regret for threatening me with physical violence. It turned out I was right, and the sorry email was taken into account by the magistrate though its alleged author was still found guilty of intimidation. I write “alleged” because I found it very difficult to reconcile the language of the email with what I know of the offender.

I also recently wrote a sorry email to a pompous, arrogant medical specialist who refused to treat a patient because he (the pompous arrogant specialist) was engaged in a dispute with me. I wasn’t in the least bit sorry for what I’d said to the specialist and would say it again in a heartbeat, but he had me over a barrel. I apologised, and he agreed to treat the patient. Now that the treatment is over and we won’t be needing him again, I’m reporting him to the Health Care Complaints Commission. The contempt I continue to feel for that medical specialist and his pathetic need to make me say a sorry he knows damn well I don’t mean by refusing treatment to someone I love, is profound.

This is a rare situation in my adult life, when I’ve said I’m sorry when I’ve absolutely known I’m not. Sometimes I’ve said sorry, only to realise later I wasn’t and had simply reacted in the emotion of the moment, or because I was scared. Quite often I’ve had to apologise because I’ve been out of line. That’s never easy, but it’s a good thing to live with. Being bullied into apologies is not.

Letters threatening defamation action frequently include a demand for apology, usually public. What does this mean? It’s obvious that if an apology must be demanded, nobody is feeling especially sorry. If it is an attempt on the part of the offended person to bring humiliation down upon the offender it doesn’t work, because in my case I offer the apology feeling nothing but increased contempt.

The apology is, in these circumstances, a species of  Pyrrhic victory. If I am to be bullied or blackmailed into saying I’m sorry, who is the loser? It’s not me, it’s the deluded twerp who believes they’ve achieved something by forcing me to say I’m sorry when I’m not.

There are times when one may apologise in full knowledge of one’s insincerity, in order to achieve a greater goal. I have no problem with this, it’s a matter of conscience and circumstance. There is, however, something very distasteful about those who attempt to bully and blackmail others into making apologies. The clue is, if you have to demand it, it probably isn’t authentic so why do you want it and what does it say about you, that you’re willing to settle for such insincerity?

When an apology is made from the heart, and with regret for an action, it is a precious thing. It is something to be treasured, and it can heal much. Forced apologies only devalue the authentic sorry. Yet it is such a central part of our social discourse to demand an apology, as if appearances are all that counts.

There’s currently someone in my life demanding an apology that I have no intention of offering. The cost to me will be high. I’ve spent many hours considering the best course of action. In this instance, I’ve decided the worst thing I can do for both of us is to allow this person to bully me into mouthing sorries I don’t mean, and I don’t feel are warranted. Indeed, the very fact that it is being demanded of me or else, tells me this relationship has nowhere much to go.

I want to treat the sorry with the respect it deserves. I want to honour the sorry, and only use it when I mean it. The sorry is a thing of great beauty, to be used sparingly and always with consideration and intention. It is a sad thing, to see the sorry reduced to a meaningless convention, used to blackmail, bully and humiliate.  Is it too late to Respect the Sorry?



63 Responses to “On apologising: respect the sorry!”

  1. annodyne December 9, 2012 at 1:38 pm #

    Great post. yet again. I recall Our Fearless Leader (of that moment) saying ‘Sorry’ on a societal level, and thinking that if the word had come from a different leader, it would have sounded shallow, hollow, insincere. respect from me.


  2. doug quixote December 9, 2012 at 2:18 pm #

    “Sorry” statements in this context are an announcement to the world that the one apologising has been defeated. It is regarded as a vindication for the one receiving the apology, and something he or she can trumpet whenever challenged.

    The feelings of the one apologising don’t really enter into it.


  3. Hypocritophobe December 9, 2012 at 2:19 pm #

    How ironic.
    I have just seen a few minutes of Rudd on Big Ideas, and he spoke of ‘the’ apology to indigenous people.
    (And unlike a myth which I have read perpetuated here, the apology was genuine and was penned by Rudd.I was proud it happened in my life time. A pity the follow up work was destroyed by union opportunists)
    Most people ‘got it’. Many did not, and many of them never will.
    They are the ones most adorned with guilt and denial.
    What a sad burden to have that much pride that it becomes a reflex.
    (Queensland Newman style,beckons.)

    Yet again I am with you JW,an apology must be sincere, otherwise as per ‘litigation avoidance strategies’, it is just a tactic.
    In the cases of defamation I think forcing an apology by legal bullying or threats is proof of the power of ego and the ego of power.

    Unless of course the apology was written/spoken without the expectations and guidelines provided.
    Possible example.
    “I am so sorry that I recently formed an opinion that you came across as such an (insert word)arsehole that I felt compelled to (insert term) slag you off,because at that moment my deeply held and (insert term) opposite (conflicting?) principles thought that in the interest of those principles, I considered it had to be done.As you know,in our society we value free speech and encourage speaking out.I have since found out this ‘speaking out’ has cost you money,credibility and embarrassed you.It was not my intention for all of those things to happen to you.
    I do hope we can move towards some common ground in the future.”

    I think devaluing the sincerity of an apology devalues us all and devalues humanity.An apology should not be a duty.I hope that there are no forced apologies coming out of the impending referendum.
    I also suspect that the desire these days to seek a fiscal compensation is directly linked to the devaluing of apologies.
    Perhaps there is possibly a perception ( a hope) that the ‘apologiser’ will reflect on the original issue through one of two consequences, increasing the possibility of feeling remorse for the victim?

    I am so glad Gillard did not issue the Indigenous apology with her ‘NSW faction written speech’ and robotic insincerity.But I seriously believe she would not have even had it on her RADAR.(Not that it’s her RADAR)
    I suspect that, to her and her string pullers,indigenous people are as invisible as refugees, unless they happen to pop up in a Newspoll survey.



    • Hypocritophobe December 9, 2012 at 10:24 pm #

      HI JW,
      Can you ‘pleeeeeeeze’ have a look at that post December 9, 2012 at 2:19 pm?
      Ther eseems to be a repeat paragraph or two, if not some sequential malfunctioning….


  4. helvityni December 9, 2012 at 3:24 pm #

    Has there been an apology to those children that were shipped here without their parents ‘to eat oranges and to enjoy sunshine’….
    As young as four year old children sent to the other side of world. Who comes up with these horrid schemes.


    • Hypocritophobe December 9, 2012 at 3:38 pm #

      I believe most states have apologised on this issue.


      • Marilyn December 9, 2012 at 3:46 pm #

        There has been a commonwealth reunion fund for these kids for over a decade, since Andrew Murray led the senate inquiry.

        There is a reunion fund for the stolen generations.

        I wonder when we will have a reunion fund for the thousands of refugee families we have deliberately kept apart.


  5. hudsongodfrey December 9, 2012 at 5:02 pm #

    There are a lot of kinds of sorry….many are worse than the kind Jennifer mentions.

    There’s sorry I’ve just jostled into you in a crowd, which isn’t sorrow at all but just an expression of excessive politeness. One is inclined to ask, what are you sorry for, when you haven’t actually done anything wrong?

    There’s sorry I just realised I’ve more items that I ought to in the express lane at the supermarket, which also isn’t sorry it just plain flipping rude, and if you were really sorry you wouldn’t do it, you selfish git!

    There’s sorry about my French. Which means sorry if my bad language offended anyone. Which I’m not. Your offence is your problem and I probably wouldn’t have said it if I didn’t intend to take a certain pejorative tone, or share a modicum of familiarity. Lenny Bruce once said “If you can’t say Fuck, you can’t say Fuck the government”. I’m with Lenny.

    Then there’s the kind of we’re sorry for your loss that we offer grieving war widows, full of genuine regret mixed with the bitter assurance that we’ll be doing the same for someone else’s mother and it will probably be too soon.

    Then there’s sorry god I raped somebody’s child, but that’s just between you and me, so I expect not to have to face criminal justice. Even Lenny lacks words strong enough for that one!


  6. ann odyne December 9, 2012 at 6:00 pm #

    umm … Hypocritophobe? My comment was not perpetuating any myth. I meant that the Sorry sounded better coming from KRudd than it would have from JWH.

    There is a category of sorry which is just a realisation by the speaker that they did a bad thing, and does not involve any actual feelings at all, ie: The RoyalWomen’s Hospital recent acknowledgement that they too screwed many of those 1960’s single mothers who had no support from the father of their baby either.


    • Hypocritophobe December 9, 2012 at 6:52 pm #

      I am referring to another myth ‘perpetuater’ entirely.
      So I AM ‘sorry’ if somehow the wires became crossed.
      My main point was that Rudds apology was genuine,Gillard would never have bothered, let alone channelled sincerity.Which makes her equal to Howard on yet another level.I dare say she, and her supporters will say in hindsight ‘what poppycock!’.
      But they would say that.
      Their humanity in action speaks for itself.Loud and clear.
      I remember Costello crossing Sydney Harbour Bridge.
      Did Howard?
      What about Gillard?


      • Sam Jandwich December 9, 2012 at 10:01 pm #

        Yes, Ann, that would be me. I’m sorry to have been the cause of your self-insertion into the position of the offended party.

        Just because Rudd’s an automaton doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a heart, or share many values with people who by contrast don’t share his compulsions.

        The fella did a wonderful job of righting a lot of the wrongs that had, to the detriment of Australian society, been left to fester for years under John Howard. His apologies to the Stolen Generations and the Forgotten Australians were in my estimation quite heartfelt, which is why they had such a strong and lasting impact.

        But the sheer incongruity of his behaviour elsewhere must I think lead us to call into question his deeper motivations… and here I just have a strong intuitive inclination towards the assertion that his heart is welded only to his own thinking on how best to realise the adulation that he craves so acutely – and since his actions are borne of such deep feeling he actually manages to turn out surprisingly affecting stuff now and then.

        But then, I’ve never known a psychopath who doesn’t.

        In a sense though I do agree with you Hypo – what better person is there to fulfil the role of welcoming visiting dignitaries with the expression “Welcome to Oz!”?


        • Hypocritophobe December 9, 2012 at 10:32 pm #

          You are wrong Sam.I was not referring to you at all.
          What is it with today?
          Everyone taking credit for someone else’s handiwork.
          Everyone taking offence at the wrong time?


        • Hypocritophobe December 9, 2012 at 10:43 pm #

          Are you saying Rudd is a psychopath?
          Is that based on personal knowledge or the spin emanating from those who deposed him?
          Have you an equal deep,intimate knowledge of Gillards psyche?
          Only I keep hearing a lot of bandwagon shit from people apologising for Gillard and simultaneously dissing Rudd, and all from a very fragile and tenuous fact base.
          I must also say that to describe Rudd as an automaton in the company of Gillard and Abbot is snow blindingly fucking funny and wins my vote for ‘ mans look’ of the year.
          Where was Gillard when you came to this conclusion?Under the remote?


          • samjandwich December 10, 2012 at 7:15 am #

            Until such time as we all have hand-held MRI scanners then on the subject of people’s personalities there will be no such thing as facts, only perceptions.

            And here it’s true that my perception is that Rudd is a psychopath. You only need to listen to him being interviewed a couple of times to figure that out, IMHO.

            I tell you what though – and this isn’t a sleight against you Hypo – but may I suggest we all try to limit ourselves to, say, 5 posts in any 24 hour period? I think it would be great if we could get some more commentators on here, but I’m afraid that’s not going to happen when these pages are so dominated by the usual suspects. What’s more I fear we may well end up turning Jennifer’s readers off. I guess the reason I like Sheep is because it reflects my politics – ie, people come first, love and intelligence are all you need etc – and in this regard it would be nice to hear from other like-minded people.

            Shall we give that a try?

            Or Hypo, perhaps you could start your own blog 😉


            • Hypocritophobe December 10, 2012 at 11:15 am #

              Dearest Jammy,
              I get your ‘subtle hint’ and the answer is,No and no.
              As they say in the classics,Jam It! 😉

              If I have something to say,I say it.Limit your own (free) speech.
              I could analyse your post from the ‘it’s not a sleight but’, to the ‘we decide who comes here and what they say and how often’, but I’m afraid it would lead to one single conclusion.One which is not unlike your perception of Rudd.

              So how about you practise what YOU preach and set up your own blog and use your proposed rules.You can make it a blog on legal matters and then you could throw the line around,
              “On the question of relevance…”
              I find the line about the blog reflecting your politics interesting Sam.On many levels.That may be a starting point for your blog.Lay the terms and references out.I guarantee you will get two types of posters.Those who agree and those who don’t.Just like the Drum.And isn’t that a hoot!(not) You underestimate the drawing power of Twitter as well.Many people are conversing there.Often.

              However JW is free to limit me any time she wants.I have no problem with the actual owner calling the shots.None at all.


            • helvityni December 10, 2012 at 12:01 pm #

              Sam, posters ought to deleted or banned if they are overly rude, or do not stay within the blog’s guidelines; differences in politics is harly a valid reason.

              Sheep most likely has suffered because Jennifer has not had much time for it for personal reasons.


              • helvityni December 10, 2012 at 12:01 pm #

                be delete, I need new reading glasses…


                • helvityni December 10, 2012 at 12:02 pm #

                  yes Helvi, it’s time to get them…deleted.


              • Hypocritophobe December 10, 2012 at 12:49 pm #

                Continuing the off topic:
                What I have found in my experience:

                Blogs go from tumble weed to tumble dryer for many reasons.Personal circumstances (in the case of NPFS meant a period of very limited input) There are other times when the place is running hot.The topic at hand has a lot to do with that.

                People will post if they have something to say.Anywhere from never, to relentless.Some topics are saturated with my Avatar,some have zero.Same as for others.

                ‘Drive by’ input is impossible to measure.It goes to topic,circumstance,public interest etc.There is no evidence (show it please) which indicates such ‘drive by’ input avoids blogs, because of limited posters.Trolling idiots are far more likely to scare punters off.

                Those who have an inclination to ‘over-post’ will engage multiple pseudonyms if they feel it is necessary to dominate, so limiting post numbers is pointless.

                Sometimes multiple posts are the result of answering direct questions,uploading incoming relevant updates,correcting previous posts,or just plain,the punter wants to post.Or a combination of the above.

                I have visited sites where the owner does some of the things Sam is proposing.”Promotion of like minded politics/comments,limiting posts,filtering content”
                They are like a boring morgue where all the posters are like dead, dead people, who have died, all obediently in agreement.A little bit too Heckle and Jeckle.

                I think the common theme here is not so much the politics,but the relevance, diversity, quality and gravity of JWs topics, the ‘putting stuff out there’, and at times the deeply personal, emotional content she willingly shares.I think people will connect to that even if it looks like she uses Hypo wallpaper.


              • helvityni December 10, 2012 at 12:51 pm #

                Edit4; hardly, oops too many posts by H


              • Sam Jandwich December 10, 2012 at 2:33 pm #

                Ooooohhwwww Helvi, that’s not at all what I’m saying. Rather I think that we all of us share pretty similar political views, we just have different perceptions about people, so it seems. Quite fascinating really, what people see in others. And so I think having a few more people giving their opinions would be really useful

                What I’m suggesting is that a little self-regulation might help to make this more interesting for everybody. Nobody wants to read Hypo’s meltdowns (viz, the above) for example. If I were into that sort of experience I would go outside and fry ants with a magnifying glass. It’s much more interactive.

                I am very much of the opinion that anyone should be able to say whatever the hell they like. But I’m also a stickler for pointing out that people need to be cognisant of the consequences of saying what they do. And here I think it’s pretty self-evident that it’s become an environment that discourages newcomers.

                Well I’m going to lie low for a while anyway, and see if it makes a difference. Merry Christmas!


                • helvityni December 10, 2012 at 3:08 pm #

                  As I said before people have stayed away because Jennifer has not has not been putting up many new articles here for reasons of her own. I thought that Hypo kept it going with a bit of help from Forrest , Hudson, and DQ.That’s all.


                  • Jennifer Wilson December 10, 2012 at 5:31 pm #

                    Thank you, Helvi, I just haven’t had the time or energy to focus on Sheep, which has made me sad and cross. I’ve so appreciated everyone keeping discussions going without me. I’m pleased that people continue to visit when I do put up new posts, even if they don’t comment. Because there’ve been so few new posts, of course numbers have dropped. I don’t think it will take long to get back on track now my personal things have settled down and I can start reading and thinking again. Thank you everybody, for sticking around.


                • Hypocritophobe December 10, 2012 at 5:55 pm #

                  So that’s what petulance looks like.

                  Fry the ants if you must.
                  Karma awaits.


                  • Hypocritophobe December 10, 2012 at 5:56 pm #

                    (That was for you Sammy)


          • doug quixote December 10, 2012 at 12:57 pm #

            I’ve said so often, Hypo, in the posts that have eluded your research. 🙂

            Assange, Rudd and probably Abbott are up there on the psychopathy index.

            Gillard by comparison is well-rounded human being, as most of our leaders over the last 40 years have been.

            The political process weeds them out fairly well, since they have to get preselection, get elected, impress their colleagues to get a ministry, get re-elected, impress the Leader of the day to get a senior ministry, get re-elected, perform well and sanely,get elected Leader. . . . few manage to avoid the pitfalls along the way. That perhaps two of them faced off across the Dispatch Box for six months sent a shiver down my spine.

            As for the “Sorry” speech, it was a set piece written at leisure and drawing on others of the sort in other contexts. Don’t get too carried away about it.


            • Hypocritophobe December 10, 2012 at 1:18 pm #

              “Gillard by comparison is well-rounded human being”

              Made my day, that did!


              • doug quixote December 10, 2012 at 4:51 pm #

                I just wish that sometimes you would comment on the serious issues raised.


                • Hypocritophobe December 10, 2012 at 5:53 pm #

                  I have tried endlessly for you to provide some evidence ANY which indicates that Rudd did more damage to the Labor brand than Gillard.That he deserved to be gutted more than Gillard.
                  You are unbelievably arrogant.


                  • doug quixote December 11, 2012 at 12:19 am #

                    The evidence is right there before your eyes: Labor caucus removed Rudd, by such a large majority that he did not even contest the vote in 2010. And the caucus voted overwhelmingly to retain Gillard as leader in February 2012.

                    I call that evidence of the first order.



                    • Hypocritophobe December 11, 2012 at 12:56 am #

                      “evidence ANY which indicates that Rudd did more damage to the Labor brand than Gillard.That he deserved to be gutted more than Gillard.”

                      Unless you are privvy to caucus,I’d like YOUR version and a list would be nice.And given it has come out that Gillard actively plotted and lobbied and enabled a damage barrage against Rudd,I think she has failed Labors OWN internal integrity test.

                      Until Rudds demise I had a healthy respect for the caucus process and eben more respect for Labor wen Rudd announced tha the factions would NOT set up the Ministerial line up.That was his downfall.He tore up the payback list of the bad arse bullies of the union movement.he ones who have damaged politics and Labor immeasurably.
                      I have now heard several variations from you.
                      Anyone but Abbott has turned into Rudd is as bad as or worse than Abbott.
                      The caucus numbers simply mean the bullies have ammo they can use against the contents any time they wish.Putting an end to that union/Labor damaging thuggery would benefit everyone.If the ICAC enquiry turns out how it is looking there will be decades of wilderness for the Labor brand or a splinter party.
                      Both are way better than the status quo.
                      Gillard is a bees dick away from being as bad as Abbott.
                      By election time,if she lasts she will prove to be worse on all fronts.
                      And that is because she is not a leader,she is a puppet.

                      “evidence ANY which indicates that Rudd did more damage to the Labor brand than Gillard.That he deserved to be gutted more than Gillard.”

                      I wish you could read.


                    • doug quixote December 11, 2012 at 12:45 pm #

                      You may ask whatever questions you like;
                      I however may give whatever answer I like.

                      That is how it has always been.


            • Poirot December 10, 2012 at 2:11 pm #

              Makes me wonder why Aus politics has given me the absolute whoops since it’s been the Gillard and Abbott show?

              I mean, Labor dispatched Rudd, Gillard took over and my interest exited – stage left.


              • Forrest Gumpp (@ForrestGumpp) December 10, 2012 at 2:20 pm #

                And was this not, very broadly, a substantial amount of the subject matter of Jennifer’s blog topic ‘And the winner is: Ms Gillard’?

                After all, Jennifer does know about Dogs.


  7. paul walter December 9, 2012 at 7:36 pm #

    Sorry is hard, once things have gone beyond a certain point. Words are spoken and it becomes a matter of death before dishonour as to productive communication as resentments are stored and proceed to grow like boils, obscuring whatever comprised the original real given situation.
    It becomes an article of faith not to be the first to climb down, as is the situation between this writer and his brother, who have had no relationship since the death of their mum six years ago.
    Some times there is no win, no sitcom joy and that’s because that’s life and people are what they are.


    • Hypocritophobe December 9, 2012 at 8:36 pm #

      Maybe we need a new category which buries the hatchet and allows a modicum of pride to survive,in such a way as to lighten the load whose ever it is.

      “This is silly,let;s just move on.”
      That allows everyone who ‘wants’ to store and or stew to do so,but could provide a platform for a modified (even if never the same) relationship to exist.
      Although I will admit that the family baggage can sometimes be leaden.
      Something which other(even close to home)cultures have a system for dealing with.

      You’re right on many facets here PW.


      • Poirot December 9, 2012 at 8:53 pm #

        Actually all this brings to mind the curious device my daughter and myself employed to diffuse tense standoffs during her teenage years when we found ourselves at loggerheads.

        We’d be going hammer and tongs (not often, but now and then) – and then all of a sudden one of us would call the other a “fascist”.

        Well t was so ridiculous that we’d immediately dissolve into laughter. It was a signal for both of us to bury the hatchet and move on.

        It worked almost every time it was deployed.


      • Hypocritophobe December 9, 2012 at 9:06 pm #

        Although I have to ask;
        I wonder ,how many chances does a selfish,narcissistic type,not unlike a junkie, get before you declare the game of second chances,over?
        Blood may be thicker (denser) than water but sometimes rellos heads (and hides) are thicker than an anvil.


        • paul walter December 9, 2012 at 9:29 pm #

          You can choose your friends, but you can’t pick your family.
          Hypo, your second chances comment is valid, because pride comes before a fall.
          Sorry is a last chance to confirm whether things are ok or not, before moving on, after that it is too late, as the arseholes responsible for the royal nurse’s suicide now must discover as they wonder over duty of care, because they were too lazy to stop for a moment and consider the possible weaknesses of their childish, self absorbed Kyle Sandilands sort of stunt.
          But why DO people hate”sorry”?
          Because “sorry” is a character test and can be hard yakka,
          Yet as you realise later, maybe a price to be paid for being able to move on without the fear that you harmed someone and things not being set right in a given situation.


          • Hypocritophobe December 9, 2012 at 10:01 pm #

            Because of the obvious ‘rawness’ of this ridiculous prank, I won’t say much, other than I think NOW that the 2 people(and probably a lot more thought it was a funny idea at the time)closest to the prank deserve some space and time and some some patience.It was not intentional,no matter how wretched the outcome.And there are plenty of arseholes who would have laughed at the time,who are now baying for blood.This reflects badly on us all.
            The royal pregnancy should not have been so newsfuknworthy in the first place.
            There are even worse outcomes from this sad prank, should we all just jump on the bandwagon.
            The whole prank thing needs revisiting because there are kids shows running which wallow in the humiliation of children.”Prank Patrol” etc.
            I feel this is a very damaging side of our modern and ‘instant’ voyeurism.
            Australia’s Funniest Home Videos, is anything but.Slapstick is only funny when you know it isn’t real…..
            and Yet again the spotlight is highlighting how primal we all are.Technology is just accelerating our demise,spiritually,physically and ecologically.
            We are just too spellbound to notice.

            Up you Jack,haha it wasn’t me,oooh that’s gotta hurt,Jackass etc.
            There are so many socially destructive genies out of the bottle,my recommendation is enjoy nature, and the reality of the good ‘human’ things while you can.
            Just like sorry, there is no goodwill when it comes to world peace,action on climate change, discussions around sustainable population levels,refugees etc.
            It’s all bottom line,fiscal cliff,etc.
            ‘Time poor’ is just a contemporary term for ‘I missed the boat’.
            So much for choice,free will and lifestyle.

            You’re right PW.I am more dreary than you.
            But then,pessimists are never disappointed.

            Sorry to be so morose………………but every time western culture comes to a crossroad,they just close their eyes, put their foot down and plough ahead.
            And other cultures want what we have.
            I’m crying inside,I really am.


            • paul walter December 9, 2012 at 11:00 pm #

              Hypo, I believe you are crying inside and until you become dreary, this is your lot in life.
              Like Cassandra, if you are gifted with the interest and capacity to see and understand reality the only way for people like yourself to get on a level with tabloid media will be to pitch yourself out of an office block on to your head, although it may take several leaps to achieve the requisite reduction in synapses that would make for a good tabloid aficianado.
              Just from New Matilda and an article that the USA is trying to bully Japan into going nuke; this in the wake of Fukushima and Japan’s tectonic history and Japanese public opinion.
              Yes, go ‘way teh stupid.. makes us all a bit “sorry”, over the long haul.


              • Hypocritophobe December 9, 2012 at 11:15 pm #

                Well PW,
                ‘Our’ America? bullying someone?
                The biggest militia manufacturer in the know civilised universe?
                No way!
                Could the land of the working class Whale Burger be a convenient repository for a surrogate nuclear explosion to deal with China, if they shit the Yanks?
                (They could even fire one off from the deputy sheriffs back yard!)
                A short range accurately placed missile KAPOW!!! and half of Asia is toast?
                Oh no! another bush, another conspiracy…
                As if America ever had an idea that benefited anyone else but them and Israel.
                Thank goodness the Kiwis woke up(partially)


            • Poirot December 9, 2012 at 11:41 pm #

              Strangely, Hypo, I was talking with my eleven year-old son on this issue the other day. He had landed on a prank show, and I joined him as a woman was being “pranked”. I started to criticize the whole format of such a show. In fact I was disgusted that entertainment was being derived from someone’s panic, confusion and discomfort. My son (who doesn’t watch these shows as a rule) replied that the people were so happy when the truth was revealed. To which i replied that their happiness was a result of sheer “relief”.

              I’m also concerned that networks target children with what amounts to sadism – pranks are the crudest form of humour which is derived from malicious intent. They are a million miles away from the humour of wit and riddle which is closer to creative discovery.


              • Hypocritophobe December 9, 2012 at 11:55 pm #

                It’s very close to another format of bullying,really.And another case of ‘everyone knows it is, and feels uncomfortable about it, but goes along because they don’t want to make waves’.
                Many forms of bullying snowball because of that level of reluctance to criticise.


                • Hypocritophobe December 10, 2012 at 12:05 am #

                  EDIT being
                  “It’s very close to ^ another…..”


                  • Hypocritophobe December 10, 2012 at 12:09 am #

                    FAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARK Wordpus is frustrating.Why can’t the format in the dialogue box transpose itself into the same format ‘when’ it becomes the blog comment content?!!!!!!!!!

                    The edit AND the original ‘should’ read to say this;

                    “It’s very close to BEING another format of bullying..”


        • samjandwich December 9, 2012 at 10:02 pm #



  8. samjandwich December 9, 2012 at 10:16 pm #

    It sounds like you’ve had some unhappy experiences recently Jennifer. My sympathies.

    I do like your article though, and certainly I agree it takes a special sort of person to admit that they were wrong and to acknowledge the hurt they have caused. However at the same time I think it takes a special sort of person to take a sincere expression of apology in the spirit in which it is given, without any feelings of vindictiveness.The sorry should be equally grateful to the forgiver.

    Perhaps though for this to happen there needs to be an act of contrition equal to that of the original offence, willingly submitted to but without involving any action on the offended person’s part.

    Which is why it pains me not to have seen an increase in self-immolations amongst disgraced members of the Catholic church. They say that once you have killed someone it changes you forever. Does doing something really truly bad have the effect of wiping away a part of your self, and hence your capacity for remorse?


    • Hypocritophobe December 9, 2012 at 10:49 pm #

      “Does doing something really truly bad have the effect of wiping away a part of your self, and hence your capacity for remorse?”

      In the case of the RC tradition of child sex abuse, could you be assuming that they gave a shit for anything other than gratification,future gratification and the means to continue getting gratification?
      There is no proof (yet) that this is anything other than that.
      The cover up and denial thing is a different matter and ‘seems’ to point to an institutional plague of offending.
      If so you surely the community would have to say it’s worthy of evil cult status?


      • paul walter December 10, 2012 at 3:17 pm #

        But this has problems, too.
        They seek gratification, yep, no probs.
        But why in the particular way they seek it?
        I wish I were more competent as a student of ethnology etc.
        I’d love to trace the history of paedophilia over the species’ history, to find out whether spaces like the ones religious groups have created always been a draw card for congregating low-status males. My guess there is some sort of underlying social organisation involved, evolved over time, whereby certain personality types that must have thrived over the evolutionary process as well as being some how necessary to it, are now rendered redundant by “civilisation”.
        The species has survived because humans have got it right, on the altruism/self divide, to the extent that the species has survived, the question is, where have we ended up as a result of that process.
        It is a process, there are mechanics involved and there is friction, as people try to reconcile the new notion of social vision, against the day to to day scrapping that has always been part of anthropoid existence at the personal level.
        If paedophilia were a cop out, it would join a raft of behaviours that are sell outs; as part of their lives and personal growth, humans inevitably discover that “normative” is easier in abstract terms than in the field, so to speak. How many parents have sworn never to smack their kids and finally the day has come where in a supermarket or some where else in public, the kid has finally succeeded in provoking a hit or smack?
        So, people “fall short”.
        What is puzzling about religious and educational groups is their inability to get past denial and recognise that some thing has gone wrong.
        No one accused them of being failures,the ventures were often well-motivated ( the Beatitudes inspired some great initiatives) but civilisation is a work in progress and if an experiment has begun to fail, you review and if possible fix it rather than defensively take personal offence, because the public has seen the Emperor is wearing no clothes .
        Sorry is important, as part of a process, as folk discussing the Aboriginal Apology point out. Its an overt unequivocal acknowledgement that something is wrong, bringing to attention the real situation rather than attempting to deny a problem and changes the way the problem is seen from that point- eg, the problem ceases being something accidental/deniable and is seen as something as systemic.
        A parallel would come with ecology, with society (esp Big business) finally ceasing wastage of money to deny pollution and used the money to remedy the manifest problems of poor process in production.
        Or, stopped bombing the f–k out of poor countries and used the money to create healthy societies, not theocratic dictatorships and endless refugee trails leading away from killing fields.


        • Hypocritophobe December 10, 2012 at 6:04 pm #

          Yep.If the yanks had dropped industry(built some) on the middle east instead of arms, and created jobs and work ethics for a male dominated culture,providing a future,work ethics, and aspirations we would be wondering what happened to Al Quaeda.
          There is a minuscule amount of respect earned when you obliterate the landscape and hag around shooting innocents in a cess pool of hate.
          But there is no money in building competition for American jobs, and shit loads available for the armoury juggernauts in continuing violence.
          Que sera sera…………

          Maybe they should have dropped magnifying glasses.


  9. doug quixote December 10, 2012 at 12:46 pm #

    It’s up to Jennifer, but personally I don’t see a problem with many posts on any given day, provided the poster is not merley trying to dominate the discussion and is putting up new points with each post.

    Readers are able to ignore lengthy uninteresting posts in any event.


  10. Hypocritophobe December 11, 2012 at 11:18 pm #

    Funny political things I have heard today.
    WA treasurer,Troy Buswell (infamous chair sniffer, bra strap snapper) thinks someone can (is out to) damage ‘his’ reputation beyond the current level.
    He has subsequently called out the defo lawyers.

    His ex, torrid love ‘flame’,’mistress??? the turncoat greenish Adele Carles
    (who ‘I think’ may have amazingly/coincidentally, supported some coalition legislation {even with her so called green value set} during their passionate period and he ‘may’ even have supported her local Freo agenda, in this ‘honeymoon period’)
    is claiming that Troy’s defamation suit about her outing Troy’s leg humping {or not} of a rich WA businessman, and locking on,{or not} and his alcoholism {or not} , and his psychological issues {or not} is a ploy to ‘gag’ her.

    Imagine it. Troy’s attempting to gag Adele.
    Apparently Premier Barnett is behind Troy, all the way.

    The shrill cries of a woman scorned (revengeful jilted lover) have already shattered the rare cool night air.
    Sue him back,Adele!!!

    A Benny Hill / Chaser hybrid could not write this stuff.


  11. Hypocritophobe December 13, 2012 at 7:47 pm #

    Speaking of sorry.
    On what planet should this bloke keep his job,given the fine seems insignificant compared to the charge.
    Does he seem to have the necessary attributes for a cop?Seriously?



  12. annodyne December 16, 2012 at 7:28 am #

    JW, here is a Victorian blogger friend who got a pathetic apology from a vet who removed her dog’s eye needlessly. Her beloved pedigreed Standard Poodle. Do read her description of the nasty way they dismissed her when she found out their error. I have directed her here for some extra articulation to use at the vet board in her complaint, while I feel sick for the dog’s unnecessary trauma.


  13. Hypocritophobe January 11, 2013 at 8:01 pm #

    Macklin Fails

    Nothing she said comes close to or is remorseful enough to mean:

    “People are right.I did say I could live on the dole.Which in truth I know I could not.
    I am sorry I said it in the first place.And I apologise unreservedly for doing so, and for any actions after that which may have been seen as me avoiding the ownership of the initial statement.”

    I personally think she is another Labor minister who is unfit to call herself either Labor, and/or Minister.
    She should have quit, not bragged about how the Gillard pork barrelling has begun.
    If that was an apology she has made it worse, and devalued ‘sorry’ yet again.


  14. Hypocritophobe January 15, 2013 at 11:25 am #

    Did he just apologise for the mess, or for his actions (CHEATING) which caused it?
    Or did he just step up and devalue the apology.like some many others.


  15. Stephen Hutchison (@foomf) March 5, 2013 at 7:52 am #

    This isn’t at all related to the political sewagestorm that came from a rat-hole argument about one element of what you said in your original post.

    This is, on the other hand, a comment about “sorry”.

    There are two kinds of “sorry” that get confused. One is the heartfelt apology for wrongdoing. The other is the social apology required by good manners.

    Manners are social lubricant. (I got that from Judith Martin, also known as Miss Manners, here in the USA. Through most of my youth, until I was exposed to this fact, I did not understand the purpose of such things, and it showed in my behavior.)

    The purpose of manners, and the reason for their formality and structure, is to make it easier to do some common things, and to make it clear that they’re being plied as a method of easing social conflict and making the situation more comfortable, or at least less UNcomfortable.

    Apologies are a big part of formal manners. There are a very few places where one says “I’m sorry” as part of manners. First, when someone is bereaved, and you are tempted to blurt out something asinine in order to ‘help’ — like “she’s in a better place” or “I know how you feel” because, true or not in your perception, it Does Not Help. “I’m sorry” is an acknowledgment of your own sense of loss and sympathy and it’s the only words that are necessary on learning of a loss. (And it doesn’t have to be a death, it can be a divorce, an estrangement, etc. where you know it has caused some emotional trauma.)
    Note that saying “I’m sorry” in this situation doesn’t free you of any social or personal obligations to help in appropriate ways.

    Another place one says “I’m sorry” is when one is expressing regret for being unable to accept an invitation, or breaking an arrangement.

    And of course, when one bumps into someone else in a way that offsets their balance, it’s appropriate to say, “I’m sorry, how clumsy of me,” and so forth. It has two functions: it lets them recover their poise, and it conveys that there was no malicious intention.

    For other situations, where one finds oneself at fault for a social or personal gaffe, a more formal apology may require the words “I apologize” but the purpose of this apology is not always to accept blame or to admit to fault, but rather, it’s to make the people AROUND the situation more comfortable. “I apologize, I should not have brought up a touchy political issue at dinner.” “I apologize for my short temper of late, I’m dealing with a number of crises and I let it overwhelm my judgment.”

    But there is no place in good manners for demanding an apology of someone else, except in the very rare case where one is teaching manners to a person without them, and they have offended someone else and it’s appropriate to make a social apology.

    When one has people who act on one’s behalf, it is entirely appropriate to apologize for their mistakes. They are proxy. It is not appropriate to require them to apologize in order to shield oneself from blame, because they were acting in proxy. It is also appropriate for the representative of a government, state, corporation, whatever, to apologize for the past misdeeds of their agency, even ones historical, because it makes clear that the current understanding is that those actions were wrong and must not be repeated or lauded.

    Apologies that do not fall under the general rubrics of manners are generally for more serious situations, and while the forms of good manners may give a guideline, it’s better to apologize for what one has done that legitimately harms, and otherwise to shut up.

    In the case of the medical specialist, I would probably have done the same thing: apologized, then, and provided evidence against their malpractice and misfeasance.
    There is a reason for the Hippocratic oath, and anyone who refuses to treat someone else based on personal vendetta or offended personal dogma has forsworn that oath and should not be permitted to practice further.

    In the case of a person engaged in emotional blackmail, with a false apology, the judge should consider the behavior after the apology as a clue to its sincerity, and frankly, I would have increased the penalty rather than decreasing it, because it smacks of an attempt to manipulate the court. (I am not a judge.)

    In the case of a delinquent thief, a misbehaving adult, a criminal who has caused harm, there may be room for an apology if it is actual and heartfelt, but it cannot be of the form “I apologize IF” … That’s not an admission of what one has done, and this isn’t a prayer at confession, you can’t assume omniscience on the part of your victims.
    And any apology from such persons MUST be accompanied by an attempt at appropriate restitution, if possible.



  1. On apologising: respect the sorry! « No Place For Sheep | Hippocampus - December 9, 2012

    […] On apologising: respect the sorry! « No Place For Sheep. […]


  2. The Fifty-Sixth Down Under Feminists Carnival « Zero at the Bone - January 5, 2013

    […] Wilson at No Place For Sheep writes On apologising: respect the sorry!: ‘I want to treat the sorry with the respect it deserves. I want to honour the sorry, and […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: