Apologies abound lately. Well, sort of. And as they abound, they sometimes confound.
I heard a college basketball player this morning describe an on-court dust-up with another player. The player apologized "if" the other player "took it the wrong way." A conditional apology isn't really an apology, is it?
Last week, New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton apologized for his role in the "bounty" scandal where his players paid their teammates for injuring opposing teams. Payton said, "I am sorry for what has happened." Kind of makes you wonder, was he sorry for the bounty, or just sorry he got caught?
A few weeks before, President Obama apologized to the president of Afghanistan for Korans that were burned on a U.S. military base. Former Senator Rick Santorum snipped that Mr. Obama's apology showed "weakness." Newt Gingrich went further, saying that president "surrendered" by apologizing.
NPR apologized for a broadcast of "This American Life" that falsely described working conditions at an Apple factory in China. Then they spent an hour retracting and dissecting the false episode.
But the best apology of all in the news lately, belongs to Harold Camping. Camping is the radio preacher who said the world was going to end in May of last year. When it didn't, he changed the end-date to October. That date came and went.
Then, earlier this month, Camping broke his awkward silence to apologize. "We humbly acknowledge we were wrong," he wrote. The mistake was a "painful lesson," Camping said. Then he went on to call his own ideas "incorrect and sinful." Lest anyone still not understand, Camping threw in a few more "humbles" and spoke of himself "trembling before God."
Wow! Now that's an apology. The prediction business didn't turn out so well for Mr. Camping. Maybe he could go into the apology-writing business. Lots of work to be had there.
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