Raising a kid with low expectations

Sometimes an apology fails rational criteria and yet manages to do the job.

SorryWatch was reading Born to Run, Bruce Springsteen‘s excellent autobiography, and came across such a case.

As described in the book, Springsteen’s father was a hard man to grow up with. He drank heavily, regularly. “He was our own one-man minefield, filling our home with the deadly quiet of a war zone as we walked on point, waiting… waiting… for the detonation we knew was coming. We just never knew when.”

Photo: Columbia Records. Public domain.

With the E Street Band, 1977.

He showed distaste for Bruce. “I was an intruder, a stranger, a competitor in our home and a fearful disappointment.” In an evening ritual, his father would down a six-pack, and call the kid over. “…it was always the same. A few moments of feigned parental concern for my well-being followed by the real deal: the hostility and raw anger toward his son, the only other man in the house. It was a shame. He loved me but he couldn’t stand me.” The father was appalled that his son appeared “soft.”

Things were not improved as Springsteen grew older, wore his hair long, and became obsessed with playing music. “I can’t wait ’til the army gets ahold of you,” his father would say.

Didn’t help when Springsteen sneaked out early early, took a bus to New York City, and skipped high school graduation. He probably didn’t explain to his parents that, at a meeting about the ceremony, the principal had said Springsteen’s hair made the class look bad, and that… someone… should… do something… about it. Wary of “meatheaded vigilant[ism],” Springsteen took his hair elsewhere.

His parents wanted him to go to college (professional musician? Yeah, sure), and insisted on enrolling him in community college. On the first day of classes, Springsteen again fled to NYC.

Springsteen persisted with the music thing. When he was 19, his parents moved from New Jersey to California, and there were fewer occasions for strife. Some years later, the elder Springsteen was given a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia.

Also with passing time, Springsteen made a living at music. He became quite successful, then hugely successful. You might not need SorryWatch to tell you that.

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Posted in Accepting apologies, Belated Apologies, Cryptic Apologies, Family Apologies, Personal Apologies, SorryWatch Reads | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Sun salutations, sizeism, sexism and scumbaggery

By the end of this horrible, un-yogic apology you will be lying in savasana on your floor. (See what I did there.)

THE BACKSTORY:

Earlier this week, in a 20,000-member closed Facebook group for yoga teachers, a fat yoga teacher (I use the word “fat” as a descriptor, with no value judgment) posted this:  Continue reading

Posted in Bad Apologies, Bropology, Social Media Apologies, Sorry If, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 7 Comments

Bad Apology Bingo II

You recall our post-Lance-Armstrong game of Bad Apology Bingo? Welp, in the wake of a recent raft of crap apologies from venture capitalists, comedians, beauty bloggers and Aussie media outlets, LET’S PLAY AGAIN!

 

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“Alleged” doesn’t belong in an apology

 

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Um.

Parkour, closely related to free running, is cool. Fun to do and to watch. You’re dashing through the built world like an obstacle course, bouncing off stuff, leaping from building to building as if pursued by killers, hurtling walls, maybe tossing in unnecessary back flips – what’s not to love?

Maybe lack of a salary. One way around this is the Storror Parkour way, in which you sell parkour gear. You can put up parkour videos on YouTube and FaceBook, showing your sponsored team wearing Storror attire. (Storror is based in the UK.)

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Not an expert, but I call this move the “hoick.”

On tour in Southern California, the Storror team decided to shoot some promo video. At Joshua Tree National Park, full of lovely boulders to carom off and onto. Sounds brilliant.

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One of many creeps

Photo: randy stewart. https://www.flickr.com/photos/stewtopia/1085651517/ Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

The dude doth protest too much, methinks.

Dave McClure’s apology has the catchy headline “I’m a Creep. I’m Sorry.”

Sounds promising!

Then 900 words calling himself creep, asshole, selfish, inexcusable, clueless, inappropriate, defensive, crappy, shallow, shitty, and one who has lost the plot.

Nice. Does that mean it’s a great apology?

Hell, no.

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Tupac’s letter to Madonna

Tupac in 1995 (photo by Chi Modu)

Madonna in 1995 (photo by Mario Testino)

Yesterday TMZ published a letter Tupac Shakur wrote from prison to Madonna in 1995. It’ll be sold at an online auction starting July 19th, with a starting bid of $100K.

In the letter, Tupac explains why he broke up with Madonna and apologizes for being a bad friend. We know your very first question is HOW DOES THIS RATE AS AN APOLOGY?  Continue reading

Posted in Celebrity Apologies, Good apologies | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Yippee! A good apology for transphobia from Esquire Philippines!

Esquire Philippines recently ran a piece about the transition of singer Jake Zyrus. Zyrus, who used to perform as Charice Pempengco, recently revealed his chosen name on Twitter. Esquire super-maturely mocked it. (JAKE ZYRUS HA HA HA HA.)

Social media exploded with callouts of the magazine’s transphobia. Two days later, the magazine took the story down and apologized. The apology is getting a lot of praise…almost all of it deserved. Let’s talk about what they did right and what they did wrong, shall we?
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The bragpology subset of fauxpology

In the wake of several terrible celebrity apologies (Hi, Bill!), the ever-observant Sumac noted to Snarly in an email that bragpology seems to be a fun, skeevy trend. Let us define terms: Bragpology is a boast hidden inside an expression of regret. (Sometimes the expression of regret is hidden inside the boast. And it can be very, very hard to discern.)

To wit:

I’m a sinner!”

“I’m so grateful for the opportunity to educate myself !”

“I’m an artist!”

“I’m a truth-teller! It is my role in society!”

“I’m a comic! I move the line!”

“I’m a heel/a rat bastard/unable to peel the sluts off me!”

“Doing press for a multi-million-dollar movie is grueling and exhausting!”

“I say what I think! You know where you stand with me!”

“I say things that are sometimes unpopular even within my own ‘political group'”!

“I’m shining a light on a systemic problem!”

“We sometimes experience overbook situations because we are so, so popular!”

“We are all incredibly upset about this!”

“I am paying the price, but I deserve it.”

“Through my past three years of recovery and rehabilitation…”

“I have no ill will towards those who spread hate and speak out negatively against me.”

“We are better parents, we are better lovers, and we are also better friends” because of that security cam footage of me beating my wife into unconsciousness in an elevator.

“Our company will generously donate $500 to the people Ochales, New Mexico, where our burned-down factory is located. These people, like our shareholders, have been deeply affected by this incident. The more quickly they can recover from this tragedy, the quicker our share prices will rebound. And while we know that no actions can fully heal the pain suffered by our shareholders, we will initiate a $100 million share buyback program to compensate for their loss. Our shareholders can also rest assured knowing that the donation will be written off on our taxes, as will the capital loss from the destruction of the factory.” [OK, this one is from McSweeney’s, but it has the RING OF TRUTH.]

We know we have posted a lot of bad apologies lately, and for that, we apologize. We know we owe you some life-affirming, good apologies. It’s just that we have been sooooo busy in the wake of our recent unexpected New York Magazine appearance, it’s really humbling. We’re really sorry.

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We’d love to share a good apology. Today is not that day.

Mamamiamoji

Mamamia is an Australian web site created by one Mia Freedman, who is famous Down Under. (She is a Personality who, back in the day, was the youngest editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan. Today she frequently opines on work-life balance and appears to be a mashup of Ivanka Trump, Arianna Huffington, and Elizabeth Wurtzel. Here is a profile of her in the Sydney Morning Herald.)

Mia

Recently Mia’s Mamamia (I see what you did there, Mia) had Bad Feminist and Hunger author Roxane Gay on as a guest on its podcast. If you’re already up to speed, feel free to skip ahead to the analysis of the abysmal apology. Continue reading

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

To me you’re just a lowly student, soldier

Harland Fletcher in uniform

An ornament to any graduation.

Harland Fletcher recently finished his senior year at Liberty High School in Brentwood, California. He sounds like an energetic and motivated guy. The day he turned 17, he enlisted in the US Army. Under the Split Training Option, he completed Basic Combat Training during the summer between his junior and senior years, becoming a medic in the Army Reserve.

Justifiably proud, he wanted to wear his uniform at graduation. He asked his counselor about it several times, and was told it was fine.

But high schools, you know? Sometimes they aspire to be as authoritarian as the Army, but making it up as they go along.

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Posted in Apologies Not Accepted, Bad Apologies, Institutional Apologies | 4 Comments