Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Rise of the Faux-pology

When did we stop apologizing? When did the word "sorry" become unhip? Have you noticed that the faux-pology is everywhere now?

I thought I'd made this word up but it's in the Urban Dictionary (sigh) - "When a person makes it sound like they are apologizing when, in fact, they are just shifting the blame or using twisted logic to argue their way out of responsibility for their actions."

Examples you'll have heard are "I feel terrible that.....", or "If anyone was offended...." and - if you've been following the recent Micheal Bublé sh*tstorm, "For the record, it hurts me deeply that anyone would think I would disrespect women or be insulting to any human being. I regret that there are people out there who found the photo offensive." 

What the heck is that? He's upset? He is almost blaming the people who found the photo offensive. And unless I can no longer read, I didn't see the words "sorry" or apologize" in that so-called apology.  Which makes it not-an-apology. As the Daily Kos explains, what would-be apologists like Bublé should really say is - "I meant my remarks humorously, and to my deep regret, I failed to convey that properly and offended you. Upon reflection, my attempt at humor was inappropriate, and I apologize for the hurt my poor judgement caused."

I was called a racist the other day on Facebook for using a British English word which, due to the accuser's lack of global knowledge, he took to be derogatory. Other people weighed in to explain it (I won't bore you with the details), and when he eventually realized what a fool he looked, his faux-pology was "Regardless, my tone was regrettably harsh." Er, yes, it was. When others wouldn't let him off the hook with that, he did end up apologizing for his "impulsive over-reaction", however when I then explained my context and said we should just move on, he just couldn't resist another dig. Completely undoing the apology. Sigh. 

A real apology (using real apology words) is very effective in preventing an issue from completely blowing up. There really is no answer to a genuine apology other than to accept it and move on. (OK, some people then start correcting your grammar but they're just spoiling for a fight and should not be given any more air time.)

So come on people - if you're sorry, say it. And if you're not really sorry - keep quiet. You're not fooling anyone. 


  1. Agree! I wonder if I'm sometimes a bit quick to apologise, but I have real trouble with people who can't use the "R-word."


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