Sunday, July 26, 2009

How Not to Make an Apology

It seems that if someone is famous (be it in politics or entertainment), a lot of time their ability to apologize is completely lacking. Do they have classes on this, or is it just because the fame has got to them that they lose their mind? In order to provide a public service to them, I thought I would go over some basic rules of to do and what not to do. Following them in order will save you loads of bad press in the end.

Rule #1: Don't do stupid things that you will have to apologize for. If you are a family values politician (Gov. Sanford), don't go and cheat on your wife. If you targeted prostitution as an Attorney General (Gov. Spitzer), don't hook up with a high priced call girl as governor. If you make a pledge to not raise taxes (Pres. Bush the first), don't cave in because the opposition party says they will do something else for you (which they won't). If your famous for being an innocent Disney actress (Hudgens), don't take nudie pics of yourself for any reason (although if your Miss Bailon and just want to look more adult, go for it just don't blame it on someone else). If you say you don't know the facts about a situation (Pres. Obama), don't make the next sentence a rash judgement that you would need the facts for. Do we get the picture yet? Don't Be Stupid!!

Rule #2: Only apologize if you actually mean to apologize. I actually have a lot of respect for Bush the second and Cheney in this regard. Both of them at different times found themselves on open microphones discussing qualities about people in "colorful" terms. You may not like them, you may not like what they said, but when confronted with it they didn't didn't care that apologizing was the chic thing to do. They meant what they said, and no apology was needed. Although I believe Bush did apologize that everyone had to hear it with the open mike, but he did reiterate that he meant what he said.

Rule #3: If you do need to apologize, make it short and to the point. Whatever you do, under no circumstances should you try to explain or justify your stupidity. Say you were stupid, say you are sorry, maybe say that you will be more wise in the future, and then get on with life. Whenever you start to get into explanations (read justifications), your apology begins to seem rather unsincere (see rule #2).
Take Gov. Sanford for instance, in his apology (or shortly thereafter) he stated that his mistress was his soulmate, but he would try to mend the relationship with his wife. HELLLOOOOO! If you are believer in the one and only soulmate crap, then just be the schmuck, divorce your wife and go live happily ever after (just be sure to pay your child support and alimony). Otherwise, shut up already!
To be fair to the other political party, take Pres. Obama for instance. After saying he didn't have all the facts and then saying the Cambridge Police acted stupidly, he has a lame apology where he says that he could have worded it differently. Then he just tones down his words to say that the police officer overreacted by pulling Dr. Gates out of his house (I believe he actually asked him to come outside - for his own safety - not physically pulled him, but what do I know, I wasn't there). Of course he adds that Dr. Gates probably overreacted too. HELLLOOOOO! If you are a 60 year old professor at Harvard and you are still using language like "wif yo mama", then 'probably overreacted' is too kind. Look, I know Dr. Gates is your friend Pres. Obama, but part of being a friend is telling your friend when he is being stupid, not trying to cover for him - and if you still don't have the facts, then quit making more rash judgements. If you really believe the cop overreacted provide some evidence. If he followed standard protocol to a T, then admit you were wrong and go on with life.

Rule #4: Bring flowers (or another acceptable peace offering), and don't make it public. Above all, don't try to make your peace offering a public display. I give Obama kudos for inviting Gates and the officer for a beer, he was wrong to tell everyone that he had. Once again, by making your peace offering public you bring the attention back to yourself and make it look like you're not sincere. If the person accepting the peace offering wishes to make it public, then that is there perogative. You wronged them so give them the choice of whether to display the peace offering or not.

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