Apologies. It’s been so long, SO, SO, SO long, since I’ve heard a proper one. For some reason, good apologies are rarely taught – “Say sorry!” followed by a defeated, under-breath of a whisper “Yeah, sorry” is passed for real remorse like that’s what’s up – which leads to pretend-confusion about how an apology should work. Most people grow into adult assholes who, with age, perfect aiming darts of pain at their opponents’ weak spots with enviable precision yet keep approaching contrition on a basic, childish level. How many relationships could have been saved by more timely, adequate vindications? Could mine have? (Nope.) Personally, my apologies have been for sh-t all my life, until more recently, when I hope I grew a pair. That’s another thing: solid apologies are HARD.
This post is not inspired by me however, this post is brought to you, curtesy of Kevin Spacey. Quick catch-up: last week, Anthony Rapp continued the daily sexual harassment domino effect by coming forward with his story of Kevin Spacey’s inappropriate behaviour towards him when Rapp was still a teenager. Kevin (or his publicist) knew they couldn’t afford silence in the time of such loud, sh-t-stirring scandals, and “apologised” immediately.
“I have a lot of respect and admiration for Anthony Rapp as an actor. I am beyond horrified to hear this story. I honestly don’t remember the encounter, it would have been over 30 years ago. But if I did behave then as he describes, I owe him the sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behaviour, and I am sorry for the feelings he describes having carried with him all these years.”
He then went on to come out as gay – a surprise to no one – which was such an obvious attempt of distraction from the vileness that my 7-year-old would have seen through it. It was gross and disrespectful towards the LGBTQ community, though I specifically want to focus on the first part of the statement, so the great amount of outrage on the latter is here, in Variety.
The thickest, most common thread in lousy apologies is the stupid, annoying “I’m sorry IF…” – “if I’ve offended anyone/hurt your feelings/you feel that way…” – instead of “I’m sorry THAT...”. These words are bullsh-t because they imply you are not sorry for your actions, you’re sorry for being caught. Is that not obvious? And although Kevin Spacey hasn’t put it that way exactly, it FEELS like he has. “I don’t remember”, followed by “I was too drunk”, preluded by “I have a lot of respect for”, like, who even cares??? 99% of the population (or what seems like it) enjoy a good drink every other weekend, not all of them go molesting. It is getting old and tired, this blaming the “drinking culture” for all the wrongful sh-t one gets caught doing. It’s not the drinking culture, it’s YOU. And what kind of an excuse can “I don’t remember” be? I used to have a close friend who would fetch the “I don’t remember” card every single time I called her out. We no longer talk, not even on FaceBook Messenger.
Shouldn’t a sincere apology start with a deep dive right into it, take-no-prisoners style? “I am truly sorry that I did this and this and a little bit of that, my behaviour was indeed vile”, keep the passive-aggressive sh-t to yourself, literally no one has time for it because everyone has mountains of their own passive aggression to deal with and therapy is too goddamn expensive these days.
For (loose) example: “I regret every moment of my inappropriate actions towards Anthony Rapp. Although this was 30 years ago and I was drunk and young and stupid, it doesn’t in any way diminish the seriousness and wrongness of what I did. I hope that Anthony, whom I respect and admire to this day, will find the strength and courage to forgive me. If not, then I will live with a heavy heart until my last days. That will serve me right, and I deserve a hard punishment for my crime. I am ready to accept the consequences. I am sorry.”
Get a better spin doctor, Kevin Spacey.