Kanye West, in a drunken stupor, grabs the microphone from Taylor Swift and humiliates her (and himself) on national TV.
Serena Williams, in a stunning show of sportsmanship, cusses out a Line Judge, on national TV.
Rep. Joe Wilson, in a fit of patriotism, stands and accuses President Obama of lying during a speech to Congress…on national TV.
And now come the inevitable apologies. Rep. Wilson was first, phoning President Obama almost immediately after the speech and the outburst. The apology was accepted. Now the Democrats are demanding further apology, citing Congressional Rules as justification.
Serena Williams has placed a message on her blog, tweeted a couple of Twitters, and issued a formal apology. Finally, on Monday, that well-worded apology has been deemed acceptable, and she is “moving on” with her book tour.
Kanye West has issued at least two apologies via his blog, and cried on Jay Leno. He also called Miss Swift and personally apologized, which she says she accepted. Apparently all has been forgiven, for him, as well.
Are any of these apologies acceptable? Is it even our place to decide that? In each case, the offense was directed at an individual: the President, a Line Judge, a fellow performer. In each case, apparently, apologies have been made to, and accepted by, those injured parties.
In at least one case, the apology has been deemed “not enough”, and more is demanded. So the question is… when IS enough, enough?
And that leads me to the next question: is a public apology really about asking forgiveness? Is it really about being contrite, sorry for what you did, and vowing to never repeat that behavior? Because that’s what I’m trying to teach my son. That you only issue an apology if you really mean it, and then, only if you intend to try not to repeat that behavior. A hard thing to promise when you’re six, I know, but I’m laying the groundwork. So is that standard applied to those in the public eye? Or are we not looking for a plea for forgiveness, but a modern-day toss to the lions: “how many times can we humiliate this person before he/she is completely destroyed?” Or, conversely, is the Public Apology just another bid for publicity? Because if there really was wrong done (Kanye comes to mind), and a private apology really IS all that’s needed (Wilson comes to mind here), then shouldn’t that be the end of it?
Or is it just that we are waiting for someone to get up there and sincerely mean the words that come out of the mouth – that they truly are sorry for what happened, and they’re not just reading a prepared statement that will pull their butt out of the fire?