Jonah Lehrer has apologized to his readers for manufacturing quotations in his latest book, to Michael Moynihan for lying about it, and to himself for self-plagiarizing his blog posts for The New Yorker. Fareed Zakaria has apologized to Time and CNN for plagiarizing a paragraph of an article from Jill Lepore at the New Yorker. The Washington Post has apologized to Zakaria for claiming he also plagiarized from a book by Clyde V. Prestowitz when, apparently, he did not. Clyde V. Prestowitz has apologized to Zakaria, too. Zakaria has not apologized to Jeffrey Goldberg for stealing quotations from him. He says it is standard practice. Goldberg says it is not as standard as Zakaria says it is, it should not be done, and Goldberg makes no apologies for believing so. Jill Lepore could not be reached for comment, perhaps because she has nothing to apologize for, but just you wait.
Touré, co-host of MSNBC’s The Cycle, has apologized for saying that Mitt Romney, by using the code word “angry” to describe the campaign of President Obama, who, you may have noticed is a black man – and if you haven’t noticed, you should apologize (or maybe you should apologize if you have) – is engaging in the “niggerization” of the President. Said Touré, “I could’ve made the same point without that word.” The same point would be – feel free to correct me if I am wrong, in which case, I apologize – that Mitt Romney was engaging in the niggerization of the President, only “niggerization” is the kind of word that if you use it leads scores of conservative politicians and political pundits who couldn’t give a rat’s ass about black people – are actually actively working to deny scores of thousands of them their right to vote, in the manner of Jim Crow laws back in what they call “the day” (for which the nation has never precisely apologized, but about which it has appeared to be kind of sorry, until some people start trying to do kind of, you know, the same thing again) – to feel mightily offended and calling for an apology, which leads some other people, Touré among them, to make apologies they do not really mean. But at least they offer their apology. Similarly, I apologize for using public bathrooms and never actually taking a bath in one of them.
Seth Karpinsky apologizes to Mary Lou Bettenheimer for staring at the curve of her pale young breast through the crease her blouse made when the top button became unbuttoned one day in chemistry class. I apologize to Mrs. Goldshmidt for extending my middle finger to her in the fourth grade when she asked me why I was not doing the day’s writing assignment. It is true that the middle finger of my right hand was broken and in a cast, but all things considered and under the circumstances, I should have given her the thumbs up. I did not appreciate the visit to the vice-principal’s office and the salmon card, no. MY FINGER WAS BROKEN.
The Boston Globe, completely succumbing to the mindless drivel that passes for political discourse in this country, and the coverage of it by people who call themselves journalists, who, in this instance should never be permitted to opine again on such matters in this lifetime, has called on Vice-President Biden to – that’s right – apologize for saying before a largely black audience, of the GOP efforts to loosen bank regulations, that “They’re going to put y’all back in chains.” According to the Globe,
But imagine if Republican Paul Ryan uttered comments like that. Mitt Romney’s pick for vice president would be pilloried for racial insensitivity — and so would Romney.
Ah, but you see – and this where it gets tricky and complicated, sort of like declaring that one person’s terrorist is another person’s freedom fighter – it isn’t President Obama, and Joey B. and the Democrats who want to loosen bank regulations so that predatory banks can prey on the black poor again the way they did in the lead up to the 2008 fiscal meltdown. It isn’t the Democrats who are trying to deprive hundreds of thousands of black people of their right to vote. It isn’t the Democrats who are hostile to the NAACP or who jump at the chance when someone like Treyvon Martin is killed to blame him – unarmed and walking back home – for his own death, and for looking dangerous, and having, wouldn’t you know, smoked some weed.
It isn’t that Romney and Ryan would be guilty of “racial insensitivity” if they made the same remark about, say, Biden. It is that they would be wrong.
And what is the racial insensitivity anyway? One cannot say the word “chains” in front of black people? One cannot make any comment that might invoke the history of slavery in front of black people? They can’t take it? It isn’t the history that was an abomination, but words that refer to it that are unspeakable, like not wishing to speak a dead child’s name in front of a still grieving mother? What kind of blithering inanity is this passing for notions of sensitivity and decorum and for wrong requiring apology?
“Journalists” like the editorial writers at the Globe, who no longer entertain any critical notion of demonstrable right and wrong, but for whom all sides are equally only sides, like taters and onion rings, call on the Vice President of the United States to apologize for hyperbolically and colorfully (oops!) but rightly suggesting that the policies of the Republican Party are enemy to the civil and human rights of black people – but utter no such call to Mitt Romney for engaging in a simply unprecedented campaign of mendacity in pursuit of the presidency of the United States? How many journalism degrees did it take to sink to this low of mindless triviality?
I think – hear me now – The Boston Globe should apologize to Joe Biden for calling on him to apologize to, well, it seems the Globe did not quite say to whom it is Biden should apologize. Just – apologize. Stand under those heavens we all offend daily, raise arms – why don’t we all do it now? – and raise voice and apologize for all our sins and transgressions, cardinal, venal, and cravenly, stupidly political.
Or conversely, as Colonel Dax responded to General Broulard,
I apologize… for not being entirely honest with you. I apologize for not revealing my true feelings. I apologize, sir, for not telling you sooner that you’re a degenerate, sadistic old man. And you can go to hell before I apologize to you now or ever again!
Does that seem a little much? Oh, well, in that case… you know…
- MSNBC’s Touré Apologizes For ‘Niggerization’ Comment (mediaite.com)
- Boston Globe Demands Apology from Biden Over Chains Comment; Should STFU (balloon-juice.com)
- Obama campaign adviser: Biden will not apologize for “chains” remark (redalertpolitics.com)
- Romney Demands an Apology for Biden Remark and Obama Laughs In His Face (politicususa.com)
- Time and CNN revokes Fareed Zakaria’s suspension (ibnlive.in.com)