Friday, October 17, 2014

Dear public figures, you don't have to apologise to me

It's Friday, as good a day as any to think of the people who will offend us next week. Right now they're not aware that they will be offending us. They're happily thinking about their book tour or the after-dinner speech they're about to give. They're blissfully unaware of the fact that this time next week they'll have to issue a formal apology for something which they've said, something which seemed sensible and moderate at the time but once strained through the medium of Twitter and condensed into another headline to feed the raging appetite of rolling news, which now demands one apology a day, it suddenly reads like a paragraph from Mein Kampf.

Not that I've read Mein Kampf, just as most of the people demanding the apology won't have read the article or speech or exchange from which the offence will have apparently arisen. They will simply be basking in that warm feeling of self-righteousness that comes from assuring everyone that they're on the side of the angels, as if the angels didn't change sides every bit as much as everyone else. The sign of a mature society is it can live with the idea that the public discourse will be full of things that might not get general agreement. It's a sign of the other kind that people feel such a need to shout other people down.

With a full week to go, I'd just like to say that if in a week's time you're called upon to apologise for something you said in the first half of the week, you don't have to apologise to me, nor do I insist that you apologise to anybody else. Hope that helps a bit.


  1. Sounds like you've said something offensive that nobody's noticed yet.

  2. I'm sure David that your readers know that of which you speak.

    Sadly any signs of a mature society are diminishing. In its place are hysterical siren public voices that insist that everyone is a victim and in place of mature and experienced objectivity we are led to believe that right thinking people have the emotional resilience and responses of children.

    When the aforementioned sirens view us as children; not to be trusted, needing to be corrected, it's little wonder that these self-appointed offence takers so easily fall victim to the vapours.

    I will never stop recommending to people Arthur Koestler's 'Darkness at Noon' to see how the meaning of one man's words today come to mean their opposite tomorrow: white becomes black, good becomes evil.

    In the end these Hysterical Sirens execute our man but not before they convince him of his errors and so he goes to his death convinced of his own guilt.

    How soon will it be that we have to talk in whispers, behind cupped hands, lest those who hear our words condemn us because they can also read our thoughts?