It used to be that such apologies were reserved for those on death row, about to make their final walk to the gallows, the chair, or lethal injection.
But that’s not the case any longer. Oh no. Just turn on the radio, view the TV news, pick up a newspaper and every week — hell, every day — there’s someone saying it. “I apologize. I’m sorry.” Aren’t you sick of it? I sure am, because there isn’t an iota’s worth of truth in it.
Seems that everyone from Capitol Hill in Washington to the state Capitol in Providence wants to be forgiven these days. That lovable investment guru, Bernard Madoff, said he was sorry — sorry that he bilked innocent people out of a reported $64.8 billion. He was just trying to help them increase their own personal net worth. What a prince.
Here in Rhode Island’s storied history we have one of the kingpins … Joe Mollicone. Remember him? In 1990 he embezzled 80% of all the money his depositors entrusted to Heritage Loan & Investment Bank. This in turn caused Gov. Sundlun to close 45 banks, with more than one third of all the people in the state losing access to their money for a protracted amount of time. Joe Mollicone fled to Utah for a year and a half; then being the real man he is, turned himself in saying simply, “I’m sorry.” He’s on parole now, working two jobs and paying back the $12 million he owes the state at a rate of $300/month. He’s 75 now and on track to repay it by 6613. Ya think?
Celebrities are great for their apologies; then again, they get a lot of practice. Seems that fame and money quickly corrupts an awful lot of people who somehow think the rules don’t apply to them. There are way too many to mention, but here are a few “stars” from the “I’m Sorry” Hit Parade:
Justin Bieber, that marginally talented singer who made a racist slur, and then cried forgiveness, blaming it on the drugs in his system. Who held him down and put them there?
Kanye West, who publicly cried real crocodile tears on Jay Leno’s Show apologizing for taking Taylor Swift’s moment away as she accepted her MTV Award, interrupting to say it should have been Beyonce.
Chris Brown was so, so sorry that he beat the hell out of his girlfriend, Rihanna.
Alec Baldwin, it seems, always has something to apologize for, as he has a temper with no filter and a sense of entitlement that sickens. Remember when he left a voicemail for his 11-year-old daughter calling her “a rude, thoughtless pig”? He said he was sorry after it made every news cycle worldwide and threatened his popularity, not to mention him not getting that coveted “Dad of the Year Award.”
Mel Gibson spewed out a tirade against the Jews when arrested for DUI and speeding, then apologized using the time-honored “it wasn’t me, it was the drugs and booze” defense. Then he went into a “rehab” … for about 10 minutes.
President Clinton apologized and told the Rev. Jackson he was going to pray with him for his little indiscretion with an intern. What do you think he was really praying for?
A-Rod (doping), Tonya Harding (arranging for a little tap on Nancy Kerrigan’s knee), Lance Armstrong (years of doping), Pete Rose (“Charlie” really “Hustled” when it came to illegal gambling), “Shoeless” Joe Jackson who “threw” the 1919 World Series for $20K, Ryan Lochte, Julian Edelman … the list goes on and on.
Makes you wonder what their childhoods were like? Were they the golden child in the family who could do no wrong, whose parents excused every lie or small crime with, “He/she’s just a child,” instead of a good whack on the behind and a stern punishment?
But we are part of the problem as well. When it comes to these high priced, ego-inflated personalities, we too excuse their indiscretions, we continue to buy their tickets, tee shirts and records and go to their movies and somehow put their crimes on a different plane … because we put them on a higher plane.
When are we going to realize that “I’m sorry, I apologize” is, in most cases, a hollow cop-out. That what they really mean is, “I’m sorry I got caught. I’m sorry ya got me. But damn, it was good while it lasted.”
Rona Mann has been a freelance writer for The Sun for 17 years, including her “In Their Shoes” features. She can be reached at email@example.com or 401-539-7762.