The sorry state of apologies

Reported by: James Eppler
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Updated: 7/17/2012 11:22 am

On Twitter: @JamesEppler

It has become pretty popular to demand apologies from comedians, pundits and political representatives who say things people don't like.

The most recent flare-up happened last week when a woman criticized comedian Daniel Tosh for making jokes about rape and chastising her during the performance when she heckled him. Tosh responded on his Twitter feed to the story by saying, "all the out of context misquotes aside, I'd like to sincerely apologize."

That tweet set off a firestorm of debate online between those who call Tosh a "rape apologist," and others like comedians Jay Mohr and Louis C.K. who say comics should never be forced to apologize for an obviously exaggerated joke. Since then, the usually tweet-happy Tosh has been silent on Twitter. It actually shut him up, which is a feat considering what an opinionated, smart-mouthed comic he is.

Tracy Morgan went through the same thing when he made fun of homosexuals a number of months ago. People were outraged and demanded he apologize, too, and he did.

Personally, I'm not interested in the debate over whether offensive jokes are funny. It's all subjective. But the idea that you can demand a sincere apology from someone is ridiculous. A true apology is a very personal thing. It comes from the heart. And I think an apology can judged on that.

Tosh is a guy who makes a living being offensive, yet he felt the need to send out a little tweet to say he was sorry for appearing to humiliate this woman. I doubt one 13 to 30-year-old male who watches his show would have stopped had he stayed silent.

Compare that to Rush Limbaugh who was goaded into apologizing for calling a woman a slut recently. He apologized when advertisers started dropping him.

Then there's the Obama campaign strategist who criticized Mitt Romney's wife for never having a "real job." Yup, the strategist turned out to be sorry, too.

We've also heard apologies from Tiger Woods, Chris Brown, David Letterman, Mel Gibson, and so many others for the various things they've said and done.

Whether any of these people were right to apologize or whether they were sincere isn't really the point. The idea that someone or a group of people should be able to demand they apologize for what they said is pure selfishness. It's a way of controlling people. Apologies should be organic - not made-to-order by PR rep.

In this world of continuous entertainment everything is decided by personal taste. But if you don't like something someone said it doesn't mean they should have to go away. Just stop tuning in. Ordering them to apologize is such a phony way to make peace. Most of the time, apologies aren't even accepted by the people who demanded them. So what's the point of throwing jewels to swine?

Yes, I just compared outraged bloggers and activist groups to whiny, squealing pigs.

And I'm not sorry.






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