Tila Tequila Eichmann Himmler Goebbels

Tila_Tequila_2008Tila Tequila (née Thien Thanh Thi Nguyen) is a damaged person who should receive no attention. I am angry at myself for addressing this, yet here I go, mostly because as Gawker writer Rich Juzwiak said on Twitter, “A new high bar for apologies has been set.” By which I hope he means a new low bar. And yes, it is.

Yesterday serial reality TV personage Tila Tequila was kicked off a reality show after the producers discovered (excuse me? I who live under a rock knew about this, and they didn’t?) that she’d praised Hitler. This is her response. Continue reading

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People around the world, join hands! Disembark from the wine train! Wine train!

I think I can...be racist!

I think I can…be racist!

We’re late to this one, but Susan is in the desert, presumably with no pants on. So it’s my fault that we haven’t weighed in on the group of women (10 Black, one white) who were kicked off Napa Valley’s Wine Train for laughing too loudly.
Continue reading

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When you run a confessional, you hear some awful things

You snarled at Doughnut Jimmy? These people can help.

You snarled at Doughnut Jimmy? These people can help.

Burning Man 2015 is close at hand. It’ll be a great time for many, a mind-altering time for some. Remarkable things will be seen and done.

Also regrettable things.

In 2013, SorryWatch visited PlayaApology Camp at Burning Man. PlayaApology Camp helps people apologize for things they’ve done. It helps them figure out what to say. It supplies gifts, poems, singing sorrygrams, and cards to help get the message across. You can apologize for yourself, or they’ll deliver it for you. “People are really excited to get apologies.”

There are so many ways to transgress.

There are so many ways to transgress.

SorryWatch visited PlayaApology again in 2014, over at the Nine O’Clock Plaza. The camp was in a hushed mood, because they’d just had to help someone apologize for something really really awful. (I’d like to say my shock at hearing about it is the reason my notes are so bad.)

Continue reading

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No Duggars in our house, are there dear?

Duggar family.

Duggar family.

A Duggar, or a murmuration of Duggars, or some amateurish PR pals of Duggar, apologized on the Duggar web site for a Duggar’s use of the cheating site Ashley Madison. The apology kept being edited after it was posted. Gawker has tracked all the revisions. Go there, for we have nothing on this subject to say. Our lives are too brief, fleeting and precious to waste on Duggars.


Thank you.

Your pals,

Sumac and Snarly

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sorry BDS was meen to us; we got confused by their bullying

Heeeeey, Matisyahu.

Matisyahu is pensive.

The music festival Rototom Sunsplash apologized today for disinviting the American Jewish singer Matisyahu from performing. The apology was…not so good.  Continue reading

Posted in Artistic apologies, Bad Apologies, Musical Apologies | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments

In the middle of the night, a mother gets a call from the police

Photo: pseudonomad. https://www.flickr.com/photos/pseudonomad/5955816454/in/photostream/ Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

Nawaz giving TED talk, an activity that keeps people off street corners.

In Maajid Nawaz’s book Radical: My Journey out of Islamist Extremism, he tells of an unpleasant experience with the Essex police when he was 15. (Nawaz was born in Essex. His parents were born in Pakistan.)

Someone had spotted his 16-year-old brother Osman* playing with a (perfectly legal) plastic BB gun earlier in the day. They called police in case he was going to commit an armed robbery.

For some reason, the police took this seriously. Very seriously. They put him under surveillance all day, and didn’t calm down when he failed to commit any crimes.

Continue reading

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not so slick, bic

A social-media celebration of International Women’s Day from Bic South Africa did not go over so well.


Continue reading

Posted in Bad Apologies, Business Apologies, Corporate Apologies, Good apologies, Social Media Apologies | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

sorry you hate freedom, whiny readers!

Note actual stock photo of Jews heading to their deaths!

Note actual stock photo of Jews heading to their deaths!

As you may have heard, a romance novel between a Jewish prisoner and an SS Commander, set in a concentration camp during World War II, is stirring up some mishegasIt came to a head when an author and critic, Sarah Wendell of Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, shared her letter of dismay to the Romance Writers of America (RWA), which had nominated the book for two major awards. Soon, social media was abuzz.

After a few days of tumult and news coverage, Breslin provided a statement about her book to Newsweek. It was: Not good. Continue reading

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sorry you thought you were buying a good book


That’s unfortunate.

Brilliant Books, an independent bookstore in Traverse City, MI, has offered an apology and an offer of a refund to customers who preordered Harper Lee’s “recently discovered” new novel, Go Set A Watchman, and felt blindsided by the book they actually got.

As you probably know, the book’s publication has been clouded in confusion and scandal. Lee, who never published another book after To Kill a Mockingbird (and said she never would), is now elderly and in frail health. Her sister and protector, Alice, died last year; her lawyer (a former colleague of Lee’s sister) now claims to have found the manuscript of Go Set A Watchman just before Alice died. It seems pretty clear, though, that the manuscript was actually found in 2011 and was an early draft of To Kill a Mockingbird. (If you want more detail, The New York Times has a good accounting of the contretemps, as well as a rich description of the amount of work Lee’s editor did on Mockingbird back in the late 1950s.)

From Annie Laurie Williams [Lee's original literary agent]'s papers, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University

From Annie Laurie Williams [Lee’s original literary agent]’s papers, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University

Despite mostly dreadful reviews and vast numbers of bummed-out readers distressed at Atticus Finch’s new portrait as a Klan-meeting-attending racist, Go Set A Watchman has been the fastest-selling book in HarperCollins’s history.

Peter Makin, Brilliant Books’s owner, decided he was uncomfortable.


Oh, dear.

“We had been disappointed in the way the book was marketed from the beginning,” he told Alex Shephard, director of digital media for Melville House (an independent publisher, which reported the story on its blog). He continued:

The real eye-opener was from a loyal paying member, who had only become aware of the reality over the previous weekend. She was saddened. She explained that TKAMB was her favorite book of all time and she had been so looking forward to reading GSAW, but now she knew it wasn’t the book she had been led to believe it was.

I immediately apologized, and offered her a refund, which she accepted. I realized then that we needed to offer the same thing to all our customers, of which there were dozens across the country, and explain why.


Ah, well.

Makin wrote an opinion piece for the bookstore’s blog, explaining that he felt the book should never have been published. (Parents David and Christen Epstein obviously agree; after the book came out, they changed their 14-month-old son’s name from Atticus to Lucas. No word on whether either parent tattooed their son’s name on their flesh.)

“It is disappointing and frankly shameful to see our noble industry parade and celebrate this as ‘Harper Lee’s New Novel,'” Makin wrote. “This is pure exploitation of both literary fans and a beloved American classic (which we hope has not been irrevocably tainted).”

Oh, dear.

Tell everyone it’s a chicken.

The bookstore will offer refunds to those customers who want them, but will also continue to sell the book, with the caveat that readers should approach it with low expectations, “with intellectual curiosity and careful consideration; a rough beginning for a classic, but only that.”



The bookstore didn’t publish the book. There’s no need for Makin to say “sorry.” And granted, offering an apology and a refund is savvy publicity. But for those who really are distressed and taken aback, hey, getting a chance to commiserate with the staff of your favorite bookstore about your disappointment is worth something.





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They know about her apology as far away as Mallerstang and Whaw

In The Hollow Land, by Jane Gardam, an apology plays a foundational role. So much happens in this book, and this happens right at the start, so I don’t feel bad telling you most of this part.

Photo: Andrew Hill. http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/541444 Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

There’s nothing more timeless than people making noise while you’re trying to sleep.

In Cumbria, in the farming and grazing country called the Hollow Land for mines that run under it, a family from London rents an old farmhouse from a farming family. For a summer. At first all’s well.

Early in their tenancy, the farm family mows the hay in the field surrounding the house. Because they expect rain, they mow all day and well after midnight under a bright moon. “It makes a rare clatter our tractor and cutter, louder than their transistors—clatter, clatter, clatter, round and round and round—and after a bit, well maybe two hours, there’s heads beginning to bob from windows.”

The father of the London family comes out to complain to the father of the farm family, and it doesn’t go well.

Photo: Michael Graham. http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/654030 Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

Shut the gate behind you.

The next day the farm family bales the hay in that field, doing it “first for their convenience, to get it over for them” and not explaining that this is the last of the job and the rest of the summer will be quiet. (Why explain the obvious?) The tenants make a show of silent rage and hike away for the day.

The furious and despairing tenants make plans to go back to London and forget about trying for peace and quiet in the country. It happens that a small son of the farm family falls into conversation with a small son of the London family. They figure out the misunderstanding, but no one has listened to them so far, and they know no one will listen to them now.

The six-year-old Londoner says “My mother wrote a letter to your mother to say she was sorry if we’d given offence, but my father wouldn’t let her send it.” The eight-year-old farm lad comes up with a plan to retrieve the letter from the bin and deliver it, a plan they execute with brilliant results.

Photo: Ian Greig. http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/568627 Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

No, not hobbits. Shut UP about hobbits.

Impressed by the letter, the farm family goes over with gifts of fresh eggs, new milk, and tea cakes. Not being lavish speakers, they don’t say anything about the letter.

Impressed by the visit and the gifts (and learning the noisy work was over) the tenants drop the plan to leave and say nothing about it. The men shake hands. After the visit, the London woman remarks, “This puts us to shame. I didn’t even send that letter.”

Later, in a conversation with a local man who keeps a fish-and-chips shop, and sweeps chimneys, and coaxes people to go fishing, the subject of outsiders comes up. The London woman says everyone’s been very kind to them. Distinctions are drawn between their behavior and that of other, less-liked, Londoners. One thing is not mentioned, but “he thought of the London mother’s very nice letter of apology two or three years back which everyone had heard about above and below the church and as far away as Mallerstang and Whaw…” He just says, “you’re sociable folk. Which is more than can be said for some visitors and incomers. Did you ever hear of the incomer over Stainmer Old Spital?”

Photo: Carl Bendelow. http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/17784 Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

We don’t babble needlessly.

I wish I knew what the London woman might have written. Gardam doesn’t say. The tenants return every year.

It’s a lovely book (it won a Whitbread Prize), written in deceptively simple style. It never makes a mistake about dialect. And I love the disappointing results of the fishing expedition: “four trout, so small and of such depressed appearance that they could hardly have tugged. Fish, one felt, that had been hanging about waiting for death.”

Photo: John Illingworth. http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/1369729 Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

In Mallerstang. They’ve heard.

I also admire the way Gardam flickeringly introduces the future into the eternal pastoral world she describes. Late in the story there are a few mentions of how things have changed since the Crisis. Steam trains are back. Wildflowers grow through cracks in the motorway. “When the oil dried up and we all had to think again” they exhumed a carriage from the old stable, and replaced springs, spokes, and seats, for once more ponies are useful. But they’re putting an electronic latch on the fell gate.

Then it’s back to important matters of inheritance, marriage, and what it takes for incomers to become insiders.

Photo: Oliver Dixon. http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/365349 Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

Outside Whaw. They’re aware.

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