You asked. Ugh, fine. Here’s Harvey Weinstein.

As you know, on October 5, the New York Times broke the news (or rather, reported extensively on an open secret and got on-the-record confirmation from famous actresses) about years of sexual harassment claims about producer Harvey Weinstein. Continue reading

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G’mar Tov, to all our Yom Kippur observers

Cute kid, lousy shofar-blowing technique.

As Yom Kippur nears, there are two traditional things celebrants say to each other. G’mar chatima tova and g’mar tov. Careful readers will note that the three-word and two-word expressions are similar! And both can tell us something instructive about saying sorry.

Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur urge us to ponder how we’re going to do better in the New Year (5778, for those keeping score at home). We’re supposed to apologize to those we’ve wronged — human, divine, self — as an important step in starting anew.

You can’t simply start over. Jews do not do the whole clean slate thing. Have you met us? We revel in guilt and ambiguity. Before we can start again, we have to finish what we’ve left undone. G’mar tov means, literally, “finish well.” It’s what we say as the metaphorical gates of heaven are beginning to close, as the chance for tying up loose ends disappears. G’mar chatima tova literally means “good finished sealing” — idiomatically, it means “may you be inscribed for good,” as in, “may God write your name in the Book of Life,” which, y’know, heavy, man. The tradition holds that one’s name is written on Rosh Ha’Shanah and sealed on Yom Kippur.

According to the delightful Balashon: The Hebrew Language Detective, g’mar, the word for finish, is related to the word g’mal, which means to ripen or wean. Ripening and weaning are both kinds of finishing. A ripened fruit has finished growing; it’s become full and complete. A weaned baby has begun the process of being self-sustaining; no longer being dependent on breast milk is the first step to becoming self-supporting, self-nourishing.

It’s not too much of a stretch to see that finishing something unfinished, achieving fullness and completeness, and feeling self-nourished are all connected to the art of apology. When we apologize well, despite the difficulty, we gain all these good things.

Not so incidentally, g’mar also means “to learn.” (Fellow Jewish Day School grads will recall studying the Gemara.) The etymology makes sense: When you learn, you deduce. You complete a chain of ideas and reasoning. You finish hearing or seeing or reading a thing, and you begin processing what you’ve heard or seen or read.

Again, hello: Apology-relevant. Good apologies have a learning curve. Coming to the conclusion that yes, you really should apologize, is its own deductive and logical act. (Pondering why good apologies are so darn rare, when WE ALL KNOW HOW TO DO THEM, COME ON, is a learning experience in and of itself.)

Happy New Year and g’mar tov to our friends who swing that way. Love, humility and justice to everyone, year-round.

Oh! And! If you want to hear Snarly talking about apology on the Unorthodox podcast two years ago — she forgot to share it then, sue her — you can! If you’d like to read some musings about the dangers of self-forgiveness — such a friggin’ buzzword right now, and a concept that has its place but NOT TOO MUCH OF A PLACE, PLEASE, go here. And you might or might not wish to ponder some smart musings about whether to forgive Trump voters, involving MORE SPLENDID HEBREW LINGUISTICS! (The word mechilah, to forgive, is related to the word machol, dance…as author David Ingber tells us, forgiveness is a dance; “a process, not an event.”) The piece is much more nuanced than you might expect. Which is good, since Snarly’s non-nuanced, immediate reaction to the suggestion she forgive Trump voters is MAY YOUR FACE BE SEALED IN THE BOOK OF SHUT-UP.



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I’m just a hothead & it’s just tennis


Photo: Tatiana from Moscow, Russia. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

Sessista? Me?

Fabio Fognini was having a bad moment at the U.S. Open in Flushing Meadows, New York. Actually, 3 bad moments. In the singles, Stefano Travaglia, was beating him. In the process of losing he had 3 temper tantrums.

These were directed at umpire Louise Engzell. Fognini, who is Italian, disputed her decisions by calling Engzell, who is Swedish, “troia” and “bocchinara.”

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Vote for me! I have lucid intervals!

Kimberley Paige Barnette is running as a Republican for mayor of Charlotte, NC. Last month she participated in a candidate debate and said some noteworthy things. She didn’t love the poor, whom she said should be discouraged from coming to Charlotte, because they don’t have much money to spend. Except, she thinks, on expensive cars. She spoke to transgender bathroom choice, taking the I’ll-be-the-gender-judge approach.

She expressed disapproval of the people’s right to peacefully assemble. (As mentioned, in fact GUARANTEED, in the FIRST AMENDMENT. Of the UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION, Kimberly Paige.) She said protests are “expressive of Democratic behavior.” She said “As mayor, what I would like to discourage is assembly. Protests are confrontational, they’re chaotic, they scare people. I believe there’s a better way to express yourselves.”

As in a recent Facebook posting, in which she expressed herself by saying people should “Vote for me!” with the following argument: “REPUBLICAN & SMART, WHITE, TRADITIONAL”.

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Can you tell us who made this?

It’s very sweet. Snarly saw it on Pinterest. We can’t read the signature and Googling did not turn up the maker.


Posted in Artistic apologies, Good apologies, Personal Apologies, Youth apologizes | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Equifax hack’s lax apology vexes

Equifax CEO apologizing

To elaborate on our manic tweeting two days back (follow us on Twitter if you want knee-jerk apology critiques, interactions, smokin’ hot takes and one-liners!), Equifax’s apology for its data breach was execrable. Let’s ponder the suckage!

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A fine apology from the March for Racial Justice

SorryWatch exists because good apologies are hard. When human beings are challenged on our behavior, we often react with defensiveness. We may obfuscate a bit. We may make excuses. And this is natural. No one wants to feel uncomfortable; it’s not fun to examine one’s decision-making and find it wanting. A true test of character is when someone works through those feelings of discomfort, chooses to listen, considers others’ reactions and responses, and then decides to apologize.

This is what the organizers of the March for Racial Justice did. We commend them.

Here’s what happened. Continue reading

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When jackbooted thugs come for your lemonade

Photo: mattbuck. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike Generic 2.0 license.

Tower Hamlets high-rises. Nefarious things can happen under cover of fog.

On the streets of Tower Hamlets, a London borough, a five-year-old set up a lemonade stand. She charged 50 pence for a small glass, and a pound for a large one. That’s about 65 cents or a dollar-thirty. Her father, a professor at Cass Business School, proudly watched.

Many people attending a nearby festival bought lemonade. All was well for half an hour, when a group of four malcontents showed up. They were local council enforcement officers. They showed their seriousness by switching on a body cam. SorryWatch chooses to believe they were wearing jackboots, shiny ones. One read aloud a long legal statement. The essence of it was that she had sold lemonade without a trading permit, and would be fined £150. (About $195.)

We don’t know if it was before or after she burst into tears, asking “Have I done a bad thing?”, that one of the officers said she’d only need to pay £90 ($117ish) if she was quick about it.

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Think you have what it takes to be an Anteater? Ha ha! Wrong answer!

A university sent letters of admissions to more kids than it actually wanted to admit, calculating that a lot of them wouldn’t come. This happens all the time.

Photo: USGS. Public Domain.

U.C. Irvine, from a USGS satellite. Seems spacious.

If a school gets too many students, it may scramble to shoehorn in the extras. Dorm rooms that were formerly doubles become triples, don’t ask us how we know. More teaching assistants are hired.

Or it may decide, as U.C. Irvine recently did, faced with 500 more new students than it had planned on, to get mean and come up with excuses to disinvite many of those students it had just sent welcoming letters to.

UCI did this two months before the start of school, when kids it had accepted had already started making plans and had turned down other schools and offers of financial aid.

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Burning Man apologies roundup

Photo: Susan McCarthy.

Brilliant interactive fire piece. Everything my mother points at bursts into flame. This needed to happen.

It’s almost time. That time when a strangely-assorted group of people travel in their thousands to a flat dry dustpan to camp, build artworks, ignite spectacular flames, dance, give things to each other, and burn artworks down. And things too fierce to mention.

Yeah, Burning Man. Where, like every place humans gather, apologies are often called for and sometimes given.

We’re rerunning our most popular apologies-on-the-playa post – “Apologies from the desert with no pants on” – below. If that’s not enough for your dusty-sorry needs, you can also check out our post about a sound camp’s apology for their P.R. being too good, or our post about the Burning Man misdeed so dreadful that it even shocked the people at Playapology Camp, who’ve heard a lot of confessions….

Or a wonderfully photographed story from High Country News about Burning Man cleanup.

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