I am sorry for what seems to be a deficit in the capacity of male human beings to apologize. I could take a long time to explain why I believe this has become the path of consolation, but these "sorry, not sorry" teases are offensive to everyone.
A long time ago, I learned that it is not enough to just mouth the words and then move about your business. And there may come a time when the offending party is asked about his motivation, but first you need to take responsibility for your actions. When I say "his," I am focusing on that part of the population that seems to be under the impression that as long as their behavior comes with some justification it can be excused.
That's poison, folks. One human being harming another is significant. Worth noting. Worth pausing in the course of the day's events to recognize as such. I would like to use this space to help get men over this unfortunate void. Someone placed this ugly substitute for an actual apology into the mix, and suddenly it's become all the rage. Let me be clear: an explanation of your actions is a very different thing from taking responsibility for those actions. The rage I mentioned prior is at the core of this problem. We are all gifted with these things called feelings, and sometimes they get the better of us. When we are caught off-guard by those emotions, we are not at our best. I would like to press the point that these non-apologies are not the collective us acting at our best.
Heat of the moment, saw red, lost my cool, and so on. As soon as the temperature returns to anything close to normal, steps need to be made to restore the rational discourse. "He or she had it coming" is the kind of phrase that plays well in revenge fantasies, but it does absolutely nothing to restore relations. I am writing this in the shadow of the ugly scene that went out to a worldwide television audience, where Will Smith got up out of his seat at the Oscars to defend his wife from a poorly timed cheap shot by comedian Chris Rock. He did this by slapping Rock and continuing to shout expletives from his ringside seat once he returned. To hear Smith's explanation, he insisted that "Love will make you do crazy things."
So will anger. The love in this particular moment was not in question. Compounding the level of uncomfortableness for everyone watching, it was only a few moments later that Mister Smith was awarded with the Best Actor award. He used that opportunity in front of a worldwide audience to ask forgiveness from the Academy, who gave him the statue, insisting “I’m being called on in my life to love people and to protect people.” Protect them from ill-advised award show banter?
To be clear: I am not singling out Will Smith. I thought that Chris Rock's joke was an unnecessary jab at an innocent bystander. I believe it is yet another in a series of unfortunate events of mansplaining and toxic masculinity. The words "I'm sorry" should not appear anywhere near the conjunction "but." That path leads far too often to the phrase, "he/she/they were asking for it." Apologies, I tell my grade school friends, build character. They don't tear it down. Apologies should be an assurance that we hope to do better, and an affirmation that we will continue to try.
We need to be better at this. I am going to work harder to mine those depths of bypassed sincerity.
Thank you for listening. I'm sorry if I went on too long. I will make it up to you by making another with less words.