What’s “Burn in hell” in the language of flowers?

Photo: Jim Champion. http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/495045 Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

Asphodel also means “Our love shall endure after death.” A grim bouquet.

Recently SorryWatch was doing the New York Times crossword puzzle. (5/26/16.) Spotting the clue “A white one is said to symbolize ‘I’m sorry’,” we thought we had it nailed. Yellow roses mean ‘I’m sorry’! Well, no. We had to figure it out from the crossing clues – it was “tulip.”

Tulip? Huh? We’ve looked into the language of flowers. We even had a file listing flowers that mean sorry, apology, atonement, contrition, or even “my regrets follow you to the grave.” (Asphodel, since you ask.) A white tulip was not on the list. WHAT THE HELL?

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Posted in The Mechanics of Apology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Politician’s Heartfelt Apology: Not An Oxymoron!

Sir, you have excellent posture.

A letter to Utah’s Lieutenant Governor, Spencer Cox, from his constituent Bari Nan Cohen.

Dear Lieutenant Governor Cox:

You know that rockstar apology you gave to the gay community in Utah after the mass shooting in Orlando? The reason your speech went from local news headline to viral Facebook post so quickly was because it was epic. As a 15-year resident of Utah—I moved here for the skiing and found an amazing community in which to raise a family—I am all in for your apology. Sure, I’m a sucker for beautiful oratory—it was heartfelt, and gorgeous, and I’ve dissolved into tears each time I’ve read the transcript or watched the video. But this thing has legs not only because it took by surprise those who had dismissed us as a Red-State backwater with no truck for diversity (um, yeah, they’re wrong), but because it did many hard things well—including acknowledging our state’s many shortcomings in the human rights arena. And, most importantly, because you did it with love. More on that in a minute. Continue reading

Posted in Good apologies, Guest Post, Political Apologies | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Daddy Turner Overdrive

Go Cardinals!

Go Cardinals!

You all know Brock Turner? Convicted three-count felon? Stanford swimmer? Recipient of an astonishing, articulate and heart-rending victim impact letter, read aloud in court by the woman he sexually assaulted? Dude who could have gotten 14 years in prison but was sentenced to six months, of which he’ll probably serve three? His dad has issued some words that generally go along with apologies but in this case are not apologies.  Continue reading

Posted in Apologies and the Law, Bad Apologies, Bropology, Judicial Apologies, True Crime Apologies | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

At least it’s a good apology?

Bend It Like Rubbish

Bend It Like Rubbish

In an interview in The Independent, some director I’ve never heard of (John Carney) made snarky comments about an actress I have heard of (Keira Knightley). (The last thing I saw the actress in was Bend It Like Beckham, an indication that I don’t get out much.) The interviewer wasn’t trying to stir things up; the director just kept volunteering how much he hated Keira Knightley. Continue reading

Posted in Celebrity Apologies, Good apologies, Media Apologies, Social Media Apologies, Twitpologies | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

An insightful quotation about apologizing



We’ve been known to say that a bad apology is in many ways worse than no apology, and that if you don’t think you’re wrong, don’t offer a half-assed apology — one that doesn’t truly acknowledge wrongdoing. BUT. This quote is also correct. From The Gottman Institute, whose work on marriage is worth reading about, it reminds me of a brief Ogden Nash poem, “A Word to Husbands.”

To keep your marriage brimming
With love in the loving cup,
Whenever you’re wrong, admit it;
Whenever you’re right, shut up.

It also reminds me of advice from my mom: Is it more important to be right, or happy?

Here at SorryWatch, we highlight egregious bad apologies (and good ones! we love good ones! there just aren’t ENOUGH of them!), but rarely is life entirely black and white. Often when we have the opportunity to apologize, we’re neither entirely in the right nor entirely in the wrong. We have a choice, then, to apologize from a place of non-self-righteous non-douchery. It’s not easy, because we are all defensive creatures whose fragile egos have a hard time admitting that we’re in the wrong, in any way whatsoever. But we can choose to apologize for making a point in a jerky way. For hitting below the belt. For bullying. For nagging. For continuing a fight long past the point of having a point. For not acknowledging the other person’s point of view and dignity.

Posted in Good apologies | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Lousy apology for the most racist ad EVER?

Here is an ad by a Chinese detergent company. (All the trigger warnings for mega-racism.)

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Posted in Bad Apologies, Cultures and Apology, Media Apologies, Social Media Apologies | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

I will apologize if it happened unless it’s all your fault

screen capture

Go ahead, ask.

In 1954, Ethel Payne was a reporter for The Chicago Defender, the biggest black-run newspaper in the nation. The Defender had sent her to Washington. She’d had a White House press credential for 3 months, the 3rd black reporter ever to do so, but hadn’t ventured to ask any questions.

According to biographer James McGrath Morris, her voice was “quavering” when she finally called “Mr President! Mr President!” President Eisenhower, picking her out from the 200 reporters at the press conference, smiled and nodded to her.

She didn’t toss him a softball.

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Posted in Bad Apologies, Presidential Apologies, Sorry If | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Please don’t tell me what I’m apologizing for

Image: unknown. Public domain.

Georg Schoenerer has no memory of publishing the news that Kaiser Wilhelm had died. Which hadn’t actually happened. Which Schoenerer will go to jail for. Unclear whether his visitors have any memory of getting dressed in the morning.

If you don’t say exactly what it is you’re sorry for, it can ruin an otherwise good apology. It’s evasive. The person you’re apologizing to may feel like you’re not facing up to it. It seems insincere. So when you apologize, don’t say you’re sorry for “what happened.” Or “the unfortunate incidents.” Or “yesterday.” Or “the way that went down.” Or “the stuff at the party.” Or “the events leading to the whole thermonuclear kerfuffle.”

But what if you can’t be specific because you have no memory whatsofrackingever of what you did? Or any memory of that whole night/day/semester?

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Posted in Apologies and Alcohol, Belated Apologies, SorryWatch Reads | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Can’t we get this community gated somehow?

Photo: fabulousfabs. https://www.flickr.com/photos/fabulousfabs/14878319792/ Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

Fruit vendor conveniently positioned to carjack family vehicle.

Mark Woodward, a guy apparently unclued about social media and civic decency, posted some nasty stuff on Facebook for no real reason. Surprising he’s so differently-clued about social media, since he’s CEO of a software company, but maybe it’s about keeping his neighborhood charming.

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Posted in Bad Apologies, Social Media Apologies | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

The Curious Incident of the Chocolate Love Monkey

Hi, SorryWatchers! This post may be unsafe for work! Continue reading

Posted in Bad Apologies, Good apologies, Literary Apologies, Social Media Apologies | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments