Apology Tour: Election Week Edition (Election Will Not Be Discussed)

In the nonstop circus that is today’s gotcha media Twittersphere blogoverse Tumblrtown, public figures are held accountable for their actions more often than ever. For that reason, I present Apology Tour, where we take the week in apologies and grade them using a proprietary formula based on several criteria such as severity of incident, sincerity, necessity of apology and other stuff that I’m forgetting right now. Without further ado…

No Doubt, for making a cowboys and Indians-themed video (since removed)

As a multi-racial band our foundation is built upon both diversity and consideration for other cultures. Our intention with our new video was never to offend, hurt or trivialize Native American people, their culture or their history.   Although we consulted with Native American friends and Native American studies experts at the University of California, we realize now that we have offended people.

Uh… beginning with the opposite of guilt by association (a multi-racial band, you say!), I am completely intrigued by these meetings with Native American friends and Native American studies experts. Here’s how they probably went:

GWEN STEFANI: So, I’m going to be playing one of the Indians. Tony’s going to be the other one, even though he’s dot Indian, not feather Indian, we figured it was cool.

GWEN STEFANI’S 1/8 IROQUOIS FRIEND TROY, WHO TOOK A CLASS IN NATIVE AMERICAN STUDIES AT UCSD TO FULFILL A REQUIREMENT: Whatever, fine. I have this idea for a boutique cupcake shop. I only need $15,00 in seed money…

And scene! This is the flimsiest of flimsy apologies and rationales. They’ve had like 11 years since their last album and this was the best video concept they could come up with? Next time, just don’t speak.

Grade: D

Director Peter Hall, for heckling Downton Abbey’s Lady Edith during a production of Uncle Vanya

Audience members heard the 81-year-old director repeatedly saying “it’s not working” while Carmichael spoke. […]

On Monday, Hall insisted he had not been heckling, but was merely “briefly disorientated” after waking from a brief doze.

Hall, founder of the Royal Shakespeare Company, said he was “mortified that I unintentionally disrupted” Friday’s performance.

There’s a lot happening here. For one, he’s insisting that he never meant to cast aspersions on this particular production of Uncle Vanya, which, fair enough. That point is unfortunately undercut by his insistence that the source of his disorientation was a nap that he presumably took in the middle of the show.

On the other hand, Wikipedia does not make Uncle Vanya sound very interesting: “Two friends, Vanya, brother of the Professor’s late first wife, who has long managed the estate, and Astrov, the local Doctor, both fall under Elena’s spell, while bemoaning the ennui of their provincial existence.”

The correct play was to go right to the Uncle Leo “I’m an old man” defense, or at the very least say he was bemoaning the ennui of his provincial existence.

Grade: C+

Terry Bradshaw, for describing Reggie Bush’s running as “like chasing a bucket of chicken the wind was blowing.”

Bradshaw says he wasn’t even aware he said “he” — referring to Bush — when he meant to say “you” as a reference to fellow Fox NFL studio analyst Jimmy Johnson. “I can’t defend myself,” says Bradshaw. “I’ve never been in a situation like this. I don’t know how to react, except to apologize for something I didn’t know I said. I’ve been upset today. It’s not me. I’m shocked.”

Bradshaw said the comment was just part of a running joke Sunday that Johnson’s “big thing is chicken, Kentucky Fried Chicken. He won’t share it with anybody.”

I’m… weirdly on board with this one. Perhaps this gaffe on live TV was a GLIMPSE INTO THE DARK SOUL OF TERRY BRADSHAW, but you have to keep in mind that Terry Bradshaw was too dumb to go to LSU, then played professional football, probably had like 30 concussions and is now a senior citizen. All things considered, he’s doing pretty well to not say something horrible every week. Still, the apology is a little excuse heavy, and while I am somewhat inclined to believe that this would fall under the umbrella of “Things Terry Bradshaw said that he didn’t know he said,” he still could very easily have owned the mistake a little more fully.

Grade: B

NPR, for covering the election

On behalf of NPR and all other news outlets, we apologize to Abigael and all the many others who probably feel like her. We must confess, the campaign’s gone on long enough for us, too. Let’s just keep telling ourselves: “Only a few more days, only a few more days, only a few more days.”

INSINCERE AND UNWARRANTED. CHILDREN MUST BE EXPOSED TO THE HARSH REALITIES OF INTERMINABLY BORING ELECTIONS LIKE THE REST OF US. IF ANYTHING, ABIGAEL SHOULD APOLOGIZE TO US FOR HER DUMB NAME SPELLING.

Grade: F

Illinois High School Superintendent, for some high school kid’s racist costume winning a contest

A freshman student dressed in a poncho, sombrero and a green card and said they were “a Mexican immigrant.”

“It’s unfortunate; we feel badly about it,” Hightower said. “We recognize this was an insensitive comment.”

Interestingly, no one at Edwardsville High seemed to recognize the costume as insensitive. The costume actually won first place in a costume contest for funniest.[…]

“I’ll take full responsibility, anything that happens in the school district stops at my desk,” he said. “Check and balance, it should not have happened.”

Hightower said the students involved in the costume contest now feel bad about the incident, and he’s trying not to let it reflect poorly on the school.

Hmm… on the one hand, that was the funniest costume any of those kids came up with? That sounds like the most generic Mexican immigrant costume possible. Anyway, it seems Edwardsville’s system of a single check and a single balance failed here. I like that the superintendent took way more responsibility than he needed to, but in a way that also absolves himself of any responsibility for anything ever. I’m pretty sure this all deservedly reflects poorly on that school.

Grade: C

Gorham Middle School principal, for a diversity and discrimination discussion that turned into a sexual foreplay discussion

There has been considerable discussion and talk about our 5th Annual Diversity Day activities. Unfortunately, it focused upon one presentation to two groups of students and not on the 16 other presentations, each done three times during the day, that focused on many of the issues our students encounter each day, both in and out of school.

There is no excuse for what happened. It happened, and it happened quickly in response to an honest student question. The results of which we are all very aware. We will be more vigilant in the future to make sure this does not happen again, but the idea of Diversity Day program is still very important to us as a Middle School.

Man, that really reads like a sternly worded principal letter, if I’ve ever heard one. In any case, my initial reading of this was that it was the Gotham Middle School and that from now on, what with Bane put away (SPOILER ALERT: BATMAN WINS) he can finally focus on his true passion: resolving important disputes about the amount of sex stuff kids are allowed to hear about.

Grade: A-

“When Gotham is ashes, rmmmrglrrg flrrdllglwmm” -Bane

Former D.C. Council Chairman Kwame Brown, for bank fraud

In a two-page tour de force, the second-most disgraced Kwame Brown in Washington, D.C. history pleads with his sentencing judge.

I am before this Court because of my wrongful actions committed seven years ago for which I am taking full responsibility today. I am truly sorry for committing those violations of the law. […]

My public humiliation, the pain that I have caused to my family, friends and supporters, the embarrassment that I have caused to the city that I love are all the consequences of my actions. […]

When law enforcement officials confronted me with the evidence of my wrongdoing that they had discovered, I immediately admitted that wrongdoing. I immediately realized that what I had done was wrong, and that my only course was to own up to it and to try to make amends for it. It was hard to do because much of what was to happen flashed across my mind, but it was absolutely the right thing to do.

I love how whimsical this makes bank fraud sound. “Much of what was to happen flashed across my mind.” I like that he thought the judge would be pleased to hear him say, “Oh, I knew I had one last chance to lie and get away with this, but I didn’t. Because I am a Man of Integrity.”

Anyway, read the whole thing. It’s magnificent. Yes, he has something of a motive to appear contrite to his sentencing judge. But somehow he ends up talking about his humble beginnings, how he is proof of the success of the D.C. public school system, and  hey, the bank isn’t even losing any money on that illegal boat loan he took out!

Grade: A+

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