Public messups. Public apologies. Public forgiveness? Does anybody really care?

I’m sure we are all relieved to find out that Kanye has officially apologized to Taylor and she accepted.  Won’t you sleep better tonight?   What do you think are the chances that this will be the end of the story?

No wonder Soap Opera’s like Guiding Light are going off the air.  People no longer need to lose themselves in the daily turmoil of fictional leading ladies and their suitor’s.  We can get lost in the screwed up lives of politicians, celebrities A, B and C and even nobody’s elevated to celebrity thanks to reality TV.

I get the need to get ‘all up in people’s bizness’ but I don’t really get the professional public apology bit.  It seems like we require the drama to give them the attention, why do we get so outraged when they deliver on the deal?

Besides, who exactly do we think deserves an apology?   Let’s look at 3 high visibility screw ups from this week’s current events.  When is a personal apology required?  A public one?  When is that enough?  What is the point?

Serena Williams, in the course of doing her job, lost her temper.  Plain and simply, she acted inappropriately both in terms of her character and within the rules of her sport.  Professionally, it cost her not just any point but match point and it cost her a $10,000 fine.  Cause and Effect.  Action and Consequence.

So who realistically does she have to apologize to?  The line judge who she berated for doing her job, even if she had made a bad call, certainly deserves an apology whether or not she decides to accept it.  The tournament officials, professional association, business associates including sponsors and family members probably deserve a personal apology but that’s up to her I guess.  Do we deserve one as ‘the public’?  Is she obligated to put on a 3 Act play of contrition for us to cheer for her again?  I don’t think so.

I wish the apology she issued showed a clear understanding that she screwed up just for her own sake. But she didn’t hurt me personally.   Does she really have to go on morning shows to tell us why she did it and how she felt? It’s her life, not ours.  It certainly provides us more entertainment about entertainers but again, it’s not our real life. Luckily she has a book to sell so the timing worked out but really, do we deserve an apology?  Maybe those who were fans, I guess.  But ultimately, she just lost her temper and used inappropriate language while playing a sport.  I mean, really.  Let’s move on. There’s nothing more to see here.

Kanye basically acted within the bounds of behavior that he has built his “brand” around so his fans probably weren’t shocked by his stunt at the VMAs neither were the MTV execs or show producers, assuming they didn’t stage it given their history for antics.  Kanye basically just parlayed 3 minutes of bad behavior into 3 days of free press, including one highly viewed and then re-aired segment on Jay Leno.  Bad boy’s gotta sell some albums and some concert tickets.   He didn’t do anything to us. So he has nothing to apologize to us for.  Now, he may want to rethink his brand strategy long term even if he doesn’t want to deal with what appear to be several character development challenges. 🙂

Sure, we as the public, had a right to feel bad for Taylor.  Poor thing.  She looked shocked.  Assuming the whole thing wasn’t an MTV stunt, she was probably mortified.  Thanks to Beyonce, she ended up having an even bigger moment and spotlight.  Still, she deserved an apology from him.  She got it.  Is this story over?  I doubt it.  It’s too loaded a story.

Now onto real news about real life stuff that matters. . . oh wait, no, let’s talk about Congress.  Today the House voted to “admonish” Joe Wilson because he yelled “You lie!” to President Obama during his health care speech last week.  Really?  I’d love to know how much time was devoted to this critical issue ‘in these troubling economic times’ and what dollar value is attached to that use of resources. What’s their hourly rate anyway?

Sure, Rep. Joe broke protocol and heckled the President. It was rude, in bad taste, probably politically stupid and possibly even incorrect.  He admitted he was out of line.   He apologized to the President.   I even think he apologized to his constituents whom he represents, most of whom were probably cheering him on.  But seriously, a vote on the floor of congress???

Are we so overly sensitive that our politicians get penalized for speaking out loud what they think?  Or are  Nancy Pelosi and Co. so arrogant that they can’t get back to work after someone says something off script?  After seeing what political “dialogues” in other countries look like, this is nothing.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful for the image of civility that we are accustomed to but I’d almost be willing to trade it for politicians and a Congress that actually accomplish things while speaking the truth even if it is occasionally offensive. That’s a novel idea: vigorous debate with the intent of finding solutions not merely for political jockeying and photo ops for the benefit of the party base.

I for one am more offended by politicians who boldly lie to make the story sound better, who promise things they never intend to fulfill, and betray their constituents by giving more time and attention on a daily basis to special interest groups.  If congress is going start publicly admonishing politicians, I have a few names of the truly offensive that I’d like to submit for the procedure.

Lastly, to whom it may concern, if you really are sorry . . .words are cheap.  “I’m sorry” is easy to say especially when the camera is rolling.  Real repentance is lived out over time and trust is won back as a result of action not sound bites.

What do you think?  Have we lost perspective?  Become too sensitive?  Do you think Kanye and Serena owe the public apologies?  Or is it enough to apologize to the party who was wronged and then move on?  Was “You Lie” worthy of a vote on the floor of Congress?  I want to hear your thoughts!

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