One of my favorite mantras here is how to make a proper apology. Too often when some public figure makes some galling gaff -- or is often the case, something intentionally mean-spirited, but are then called out on it -- they offer some teeth-chatteringly weak statement that's supposed to stand in for an "apology." There are several ways you can tell that the person isn't actually "apologizing" -- the two most prominent are 1) It uses the phrase, "If I offended anyone" (since, of course, the reason they're making the statement is not "if," but because they obviously did offend people. And 2) it doesn't actually use the word "sorry" or "apologize."
Usually these statement read like a lawyer wrote them (because a lawyer usually did), and usually you can't be sure if they're apologizing because they feel terrible about what they did, of if they're sorry they got called out on what they said. More often than not, it's the latter.
An actually good apology doesn't just say, "Whoops, sorry about that," it explains why the person is sorry, why they know what they did is wrong, and what they plan to do in the future so that they'll do their best not to repeat the problem. As I always say, when you hear a good apology, you know it.
Over the weekend, actor Jonah Hill was caught on camera making a homophobic slur. It was all the more attention-getting because Hill has long been an outspoken supporter of gay rights, and was vocally critical during the Soci Olympics about Russia's anti-gay law.
Hill was a guest on The Tonight Show last night. This is how one apologizes.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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