Lower your expectations, ladies. Or not. Or not! Don’t hit a guy!

Photo: Underwood & Underwood. Library of Congress. Public domain.

Byrd, alone but possibly not lonely.

SorryWatch hopes it will not give reason to apologize because one of its members (Sumac) is off to Antarctica for several months, under the auspices of the NSF and the US Antarctic Program.

But SorryWatch is not worried yet. At Palmer Station, Sumac will have email and internet again eventually. And surely people apologize in Antarctica.

In fact, Sumac searched for “Admiral Byrd” and “apology,” and found a dreadful time capsule from the November 27, 1955, Ocala Star-Banner:

“Admiral Byrd Proves He’s Mortal; Offers Apologies to Women”

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Posted in Bad Apologies, Historical Apologies | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Mizzou professopology

shutterstock_70624423-300x300Melissa Click, the University of Missouri professor of mass media who was seen on video trying to boot a student journalist from a protest, yelling “I need some muscle over here!” then grabbing at and trying to cover another student journalist’s camera, has apologized. It’s not a good apology.  Continue reading

Posted in Academic apologies, Bad Apologies | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

I, Chucklehead, am desolated to have insulted France

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

The Statue of Liberty was a present from France. Je suis désolé.

Apparently Marco Rubio doesn’t show up at the Senate much. Me neither, but nobody elected me Senator. Rubio asked to be elected, so the fact that he doesn’t turn up much is noteworthy.

Noteworthy? So noted! His opponents in the Republican presidential race have noted it, as have some media.

Famed boob and short-fingered vulgarian Donald Trump has been striking that note hard, calling Rubio “a lightweight Senator with the worst voting record in the Senate. Lazy!” Easy for him to judge, since he’s never held political office.

Clan Bush is on it.

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Posted in Campaign apologies | 6 Comments

Harry Hamlin: Pretty Vacant

A minor actor opted to dress as Sid Vicious for Halloween, in a t-shirt with a swastika on it.





People were distressed.

The minor actor’s wife, who was dressed as Sid’s girlfriend and murder victim Nancy Spungen, apologized.



Here is why her apology was bad.

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Posted in Bad Apologies, Celebrity Apologies, Social Media Apologies | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Apologize to your mother

Artist unknown. Public domain.

Just say you’re sorry for your actions and your speech and your entire attitude and you’ll never do it again. And then give Auntie a kiss and this time NO BITING.

(It turns out Snarly and Sumac have slightly different apology approaches, as you’ll see.)

Here at SorryWatch we are grieved and intrigued* to find that not everyone agrees about the goodness of good apologies. There are many reasons for this because, weirdly, people are different.

(*Also we are stunned.)

Here’s one I think is major: bullying kids to apologize.

Wait, aren’t the SorryWatchers big fans of apologies from children? Aren’t we always posting enchanting and hilarious apology notes from impossibly winsome children? Don’t we have a whole category called “Youth Apologizes”?


No, my friends, not so. There’s a huge difference between insisting that kids apologize to others they’ve hurt, and making them apologize to you.

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Posted in Forcible Apologies, Performative Utterance, The Mechanics of Apology, Youth apologizes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

a sweet apology, 51 years later

The New York Times’s John Leland has a neat little story in today’s paper about a prosecutor apologizing to a defendant…a half-century after the prosecutor won his case.  Continue reading

Posted in Accepting apologies, Belated Apologies, Personal Apologies | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hey, watch it!

Photo: The Legendary Ranger. Public domain.

Hurry, hurry.

Columbus Circle station, early summer, bench.

Young black guy, cool hipsterish clothes, large backpack, amusingly be-patched (does he really belong to Lehigh Valley Police Revolver League?), subtly spray-painted (faint black shading on light khaki), iPod, iPhone. 50ish white lady, peculiar hair, Kindle.

C Train pulls in, guy turns to look. In so doing, bumps woman with his large amusing backpack.

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Posted in The Mechanics of Apology | 9 Comments

UPDATE! Feral mac-n-cheese-kid apology acceptance news



You recall the UConn bacon-jalapeno-mac-n-cheese teen, I’m sure. In a viral video, since taken down (but this site has a nice play-by-play, if you missed it, and a few copies seem to still be floating around Youtube), a privileged and intoxicated young gentleman went on a tirade in his school cafeteria about the workers’ refusal to provide him with the meaty, cheesy, spicy glutinous treat he craved. WE HAVE UPDATES.


o whyyyyyyyyy?

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Posted in Accepting apologies, Addiction Apologies, Apologies and the Law, Bropology, Youth apologizes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Darwin sorry not sorry?

Image: Jean Bourdichon. Public domain.

Just can’t read your book unless I’m sure you’re a vegan.

In 1880, when Charles Darwin was 71, he got a letter asking if he was a Christian. The letter-writer, worrywart F. A. McDermott, fussed, “If I am to have the pleasure of reading your books, I must feel that at the end I shall not have lost my faith in the New Testament. My reason to writing to you therefore is to ask you to give me a Yes or No to the question Do you believe in the New Testament.”


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Was there a polar bear in the taxi?

Image: Stormnatt, by Knud Baade, 1879. Public domain.

It was probably about like this. (Stormnatt, by Knud Baade, 1879.)

Middle of the night, there you are in an Antarctic gale, thirty feet above the deck of your sailboat, mast swinging wildly, trying to attach a new halyard because the previous one snapped off. Probably because the only other person on the sailboat, who came on as crew knowing zero about sailing, put up the sail wrong and woke you up to fix it. Probably.

It’s enough to make you utter Norwegian curses. “Fy fæn! Helveta!” you might remark in a screaming sort of way. (“Holy fuck! Hell!”) Or you might get personal. “I have to go up and do this because I have an idiot for a first mate who cannot even pull up a sail properly without getting it twisted!” you might comment shoutily as you prepare to go up to change halyards – a job that requires exposing your hands to dangerously cold conditions.

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Posted in Bad Apologies | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments