A Year of (Lame) Apology

Posted by jlubans on January 02, 2018

Caption: In Latvia, burning last year's "sins" is a Winter’s Solstice tradition.

A dark and stormy night found me at my daughter’s farm in the Willamette Valley of Oregon for the second annual “You’ll drink, Yule pull”.
Across the fields and through the woods we went, pulling blocks of wood towards a roaring bon fire.
The Winter Solstice was the reason.
Latvia’s “Bluķa vilkšana” (log pull) has ties to fertility rites (the log is male the earth is female), links to the agrarian calendar, and links to Christmas in that the bon fire, for some, is the first light for Christmas. That meaning was added after the 1200 AD Christianization of Latvian pagans.
Each person’s log represents an aggregation of all the bad stuff done in the previous months; transgressions, mistakes, the “wouldas, couldas, and shouldas” of one’s existence.
Once in the bon fire you’re clean for another year. Can you feel the load lightening? Well you should unless you are holding something back!
In any case it is a way to turn the blotted page and to start anew.
But, by now you may be sputtering,
“What’s your point?”
2017 has been a year of apology among the so-called elite, our special people.
But apologies ain’t what they used to be.
For one thing, they are now made in public often on social media for anyone and everyone to see.
If one’s admission of doin’ wrong is done wrong a furious backlash awaits, again on social media.
This public admission is kind of like what goes on - I am told - in mountain villages in Guatemala in which the Mayan inhabitants gather and confess publicly the bad things they’ve done in the previous year.
But, I assume the Mayans are not about parsing individual confessions and going on and on about how sorry they are just in case anyone was offended. The Mayan point is to fess up and hope to do better next year.
Let’s begin with an oldie, a song title: “Don’t pay the ransom, honey; I’ve escaped!
Not exactly an apology but rather an anticipation of one soon to come! Better have something ready.
More recently, here are some not so classic apologies from the with-it crowd:
“This is not who I am.”
In other words, an alien being snatched my body and groped dozens of people; a variation on “the Devil made me do it.”
“He - the groper/rapist/molester - is not the person I know.”
Even molesters have friends, especially if they are economically linked. The attempt to aid and abet, supports the alien body snatcher notion, yet, in reality, qualifies the “friend” as an enabler and a co-conspirator.
"Moving forward."
One of the must have phrases inserted by damage control experts in celebrity apologies: In other words, “OK I did it, let’s move on.” Forgive and forget. The perp is starting the forgiveness clock. It’s not his to start.
It “Was not my intention to disrespect women today on the podium. Just a joke, sorry if someone was disturbed about it.”
This twitter comes from a male participant in a panel on sexual assault who grabbed, publically, a female panelist’s backside.
What a guy! He’s saying in effect, “You are such sorry losers for not getting my subtle humor.”
Of course, the perp’s time stamping his apology (“today”) suggests our apologizer dreams only of tomorrow back in the office elevator with that perky intern.
“I apologize to all those I may have offended.”
An all purpose apology for the guy who believes that he is only doing what many of his victims want him to do; everything he does to others is tacitly consensual.
And, besides if you were offended, it is your problem not mine, since my mother tells me I am an otherwise super dude!
The implicit “Not my bad” echoes the biblical: “If thy eye offend thee, pluck it out!”
Similarly, “I Am Sorry You Were Offended”.
Do you see the supposedly clever shift of blame from the grabber to the grabee?
Well, moving forward ….
"American Libraries" magazine's positive review of Fables for Leaders just came out in print and in electronic versions. Read the e-version here. In the print issue (Jan/Feb 2018) you can read it on p. 66. See my blog entry December 29 for quotes from Karen Muller's review.

More praise for Fables for Leaders:
“An inherently fascinating read from cover to cover … unreservedly recommended.”
"Fables for Leaders" is a “Reviewer's Choice” at Midwest Book Review (MBR) December, 2017:
“A unique and exceptional approach to developing problem solving attitudes and skills, "Fables for Leaders" is impressively well written, organized and presented.
Thoroughly 'user friendly' and an inherently fascinating read from cover to cover, "Fables for Leaders" is impressively entertaining, informative, thoughtful and thought-provoking, making it unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, and academic library collections.”

© Copyright John Lubans 2017
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