Hereís the thing about apologies: they very often arenít what they appear to be. Too often, they are excuses cloaked in the word sorry
The qualifier here is the word - or the feeling of the word - but
. Iím sorry. But. ..
That word is usually followed by some form of He did it first. She asked for it. He had it coming. You misconstrued what I said.
I prefer an apology that says, Iím sorry. I was wrong. Please forgive me
. Thereís nothing more thatís needed. If you want to go into a more lengthy story of why you are sorry, thereís nothing wrong with that. Just make sure itís clear from the beginning that you know you were wrong and thereís really no excuse for what you did.
Let me bring up the tired story of Kos for a brief second here. His apology was the kind that reeks of blame and deflected fault. What often happens with something like that is the person who was attacked in the first place, or the person offended by the said comments, often ends up being the one asked to apologize. Kosís readers did that with great abandon. They wanted the right wingers to apologize for asking Kos to apologize. The original affront gets lost in a world of finger pointing and accusations.
Yesterday, I was asked to apologize for linking to a story about a woman
who wrote something incredibly inflammatory and irresponsible (coincidentally, about one of the same people Kos made his now infamous statement about). Like hell. Letís take this apart bit by bit, because I know her readers are coming here, I know that several people who made me out to be a monster are staring at this page waiting for the mea culpa
to come up and I know that several people have written about the incident, some of them none to flattering towards me.
First bit: When you write something on a public site that can be read by anyone with an internet connection, you open yourself up to all kinds of possibilities. It just stands to reason that people who do not agree with are going to come across your words. If someone links to your words and maybe takes you to task for the things you said, thatís just part and parcel of making your thoughts public. To denounce someone (and Iím not saying that Ms. Cramer denounced me for it; her ďfansĒ did) for linking to an blog post is profoundly stupid. The indignation I witnessed would have been amusing if it wasnít so frightening. How dare you link to something that is out there in the open!
Can people really be so naive that they think this is a valid argument?
Next bit. Check your facts before you demand an apology be issued. I linked the post in question yesterday morning
. Another site had already linked it and wrote about it a full day before I did (unbeknownst to me). When people accused me of sending members of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy over to Ms. Cramerís site to act like thugs and threaten her family, they failed to do their homework. Cramer had already written about being spammed and threatened before I even wrote about her. In fact, most of the threats came before my post was public. The best part is, Ms. Cramer herself sent me an email telling me such facts. I suppose all one had to do was look at time stamps or, hell, just ask Kathryn Cramer and they would have known the goon squad did not come from my site.
Next. I wonder if any of the people involved actually read my post. Nowhere did I say that people should go harass Cramer. Nowhere did I say I hated the woman and she should die. I simply stated that she was treading dangerous ground by making her research about a dead person public before she had the absolute proof that the nasty accusations she was making about this man were true. Which, by the way, they werenít. Does this mean I shouldnít write about other bloggers who post things I disagree with? I mean, what if someone actually clicks on the link I provide and goes over to leave a comment asking that person to explain their words and actions? Imagine that happening on the internet? On blogs, no less? Crazy!
Next bit. Itís all well and good for you to stand up for Ms. Cramer and denounce those people that are immature enough to threaten her family. But, as with the Kos case, you are missing a huge point. Ms. Cramer made the original inflammatory statements. I donít see how anyone in their right mind (maybe I should say left
mind) could defend a woman who was clearly crossing legal and moral boundaries with her post. You get all righteous and demand an apology from me
for writing about her
, but not one of you even came close to saying that Cramer might have crossed the line.
Yes, she did take the post down. She never apologized for what she did, though. And when she posted about the IPs that were spamming her and what actions she wanted to take, she kept deleting comments that didnít exactly agree with her original article.
And hereís the ironic part. Thereís always an ironic part to these stories, isnít there? Cramerís fans threw nasty words at me in her comments, and several posted about the whole debacle without ever checking facts so that their posts come off as accusatory, not to mention downright ugly. And hey, they linked me! So the very people who were miffed that I linked an article I disagreed with wrote posts linking me, even though they disagreed with me. Oh, and here come their goon squads to knock me down! Please. You reap what you sow. In this case, Cramer sowed a lot of bad seeds.
Back to apologies. I took my post about Cramer down. I said I was sorry that people might have come from my site to hers and threatened her (I only realized later this really wasnít the case). I publicly - and vehemently - derided those who would react to Ms. Cramer, or anyone with whom they disagreed, with violence. And what to I get? I get word that my apology wasnít enough. Just like the morons who decided that Black Fiveís apology
wasnít good enough (I have to dig up the blog post to which I am referring here).
Hereís a word to all of you who would defend people who donít know right from wrong, libel from slander, facts from fiction; an apology is defined as a regretful acknowledgment of an offense or failure
. I regretfully acknowledged that some of my readers may have acted in ways that I despise. By taking down the post about Cramer, I was trying to stop the flow of people going from my site to hers. Yet, this was seen as a retreat by some, small minded by others.
You canít win for losing with these people. No matter what you do, what you say or how you say it, it will always be construed to be bad. Thatís just sad. And sorry.
: Kathryn Cramer has posted an apology
for her actions. Others could learn from the apology she issued.
: I think I must have closed the page before I read the whole thing. That is not so much an apology as a cop out. See comments below.