breaking character

Sebastian Stan. Bucky Barnes. ACTING!




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Hey, VOYA, here’s an apology master class!

You recall the recent bananas attack-poodle non-apology strategy employed by the children’s literature journal VOYA, after the publication ran a review that many critics, authors, readers and librarians found offensive? (Catch up here.) Well, today on Twitter, author and unofficial SorryWatch Senior Children’s Literature Journal Apology Correspondent Saundra Mitchell shared a similar offense committed by School Library Journal (a far more influential publication than VOYA)…with a very, very different outcome.



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

The poet who stole breakfast

Photo: Unknown photographer, image from Yale Rare Book and Manuscript Library. Public domain.

Passport photo of obvious fruit thief.

Poet Jane Hirshfield suggested we do an apology analysis of William Carlos Williams‘s short poem “This Is Just To Say.”

We were honored and delighted by the idea. We hadn’t done it before, because the poem’s still under copyright, so we can’t just plunk it on the page. You can see it here. Take a look – it’s very short, and you might already be familiar with it. It’s often parodied or imitated.

Lovely poem. Not such a good apology.

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A disgusting mouth

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

Do not let him near me.

I was contentedly composing a post about poetry and plums. Suddenly Twitter exploded and there was slime flying everywhere.

A tape from 2005 had just been released by The Washington Post. In it, radio/TV host Billy Bush was buttering up Donald Trump on the way to the set of the soap opera “Days of Our Lives.” There was loathsome sex talk. Rapey sex talk. With Trump doing most of the talking, and Bush obsequiously encouraging him.

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Posted in Bad Apologies, Celebrity Apologies, Sorry If | Tagged , , , , , , | 31 Comments

A deep cleansing breath and a good apology


The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) formally apologized for decades of harassment of female members. The apology was accompanied by a $100-million (approximately $75 million American) settlement, ending two class-action lawsuits against the force. And it is a very good apology.  Continue reading

Posted in Apologies and the Law, Good apologies, Police Apologies | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Sorry if you were offended, mockable Chinese people

Making fun of people who do not speak English! Plinky plinky music! Kara-TAY! Kooky-nutty reaction shots from vintage kung-fu movies! Lady-given foot massages! “Do they call Chinese food in China just food?” Nunchucks! Chinese herbs for “performance”! OH HO HO HO HO HO HA HA HA that’s not racist (or hack-y) at all. Oh wait, yes it is.

Honest, you don’t have to watch the video, which aired Monday night, but we present it as an option for your distaste and horror needs because we are JOURNALISTS. The self-satisfied Bret Easton Ellis character with the mic is Fox News’s O’Reilly Factor correspondent Jesse Watters. Watters chuckled racistly to Bill O’Reilly at the end of the piece, “They’re such a polite people, they won’t walk away or tell me to get out of here!” which is totally not offensive at all. “It was gentle fun,” observed O’Reilly. “I know we’re going to get letters, but it was gentle.”

Reaction was swift. Continue reading

Posted in Bad Apologies, Media Apologies, Political Apologies, Social Media Apologies, Twitpologies | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments


Would you like to read a case study in shitty apologies and social media implosion? You are in luck!

VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates) is a journal of young adult literature. It recently reviewed a novel called Run by Kody Keplinger. The review contained a problematic sentence. Many people pointed this out. Instead of listening, VOYA exploded like a malfunctioning ball machine, spraying invective at critics and blocking anyone who expressed even the mildest dismay, combining attacks with terrible apologies, then deleting willy-nilly.

Let’s dive in!
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Posted in Bad Apologies, Belated Apologies, Business Apologies, Literary Apologies, Media Apologies, Social Media Apologies, Sorry If, Twitpologies, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 21 Comments

Listen to Kathie Lee and Hoda!

6c8689577-tdy_klg_drinks_130821-today-inline-largeWell, I never thought I’d type THOSE particular words in that particular order.

But the duo, who have a column in the New York Daily News, weighed in this week on the feud between Taylor Swift and Katy Perry. The one I did not know existed. AND THE DAYTIME LADIES THREW BACK WISDOM LIKE COCKTAILSContinue reading

Posted in Celebrity Apologies, Cryptic Apologies, Funny-on-Purpose Apologies, Good apologies, Social Media Apologies, Twitpologies | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

A day that will live in infamy – and bargains!

What were they thinking at the mattress store in San Antonio? Maybe: ‘Let’s do a funny little ad, on the cheap, for our Facebook page. Need to highlight our all-mattresses-at-twin-mattress-prices sale! Hey! The anniversary of the twin towers thing is this weekend! PERFECT!!! We’ll make two “towers” of mattresses and KNOCK THEM DOWN! Hilarious! We crack ourselves up!’

We've got a flag!

We’ve got a flag!

They made the ad. “What better way to remember 9/11 than with a Twin Towers sale? Right now, you can get any size mattress for a twin price!” The spokesperson, store manager Cherise Bonanno, throws her arms wide to exult over the savings. The two guys behind her dodge and manage to topple the two piles of mattresses. Bonanno shrieks, then turns to the camera and smiles demurely, “We’ll never forget.”

The resulting ad might seem endearingly amateur – if only it had been about something else.

They posted the ad. The response could not have been what was hoped for. Who hopes for death threats?

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Posted in Bad Apologies, Business Apologies, Evil Twin Apologies, Sorry If | 5 Comments

Self-improvement via self-hatred!

golds-gym-pear-2016 copyA Gold’s gym franchise advertised with a nicely-produced social media post. It featured a photo of an elegant pear (Bartlett, I think) with the caption “THIS IS NO SHAPE FOR A GIRL”.

What great salesmanship! The customer is always contemptible! I’m surprised they didn’t just go for broke and use a photo of a TUB OF LARD.

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Posted in Bad Apologies, Business Apologies, Corporate Apologies, Social Media Apologies | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment