The microphone is always live, part 2


The other day I wrote an essay: ďThe microphone is always liveĒ. At the center of the piece was a voice mail that went on for a bit more than the caller intended.

Today I want to expand a bit on the idea, with a different portion considered.

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I almost always laugh at the celebrity apology tours.

Sometimes itís a laugh because itís funnyÖ often itís a laugh because itís sad and unbelievable. Because try as I might, I donít understand why people seem to think the apology tour changes anything (or actually reflects any change).

Letís do something crazy here, and start off with an amazing truth: Quite often, people donít apologize because theyíre sorry. They apologize because they got caught.

The stunning part is that for some reason, there are people that actually seem to think that others will change. They seem to believe that their understanding of the scenario is correct, and that others will behave to their expectations when confronted on the issue. They believe they will apologizeÖ they will be disappointed in their behaviorÖ they will see the error in their ways and try to do better in the future.

Mind you, Iím not saying people donít change, arenít capable of change, donít learn and grow and think and mature. Because I do believe people can. Instead, my mind has a hard time grasping why people think the following outline is true:

(1) Person makes comments that express an ď-istĒ mentality. (I.e. Ė racist, sexist, homophobic, misogynistic, etc.)

(2) Backlash.

(3) Person apologizes for comments.

The part I have a hard time with though isnít listed. It falls between 2 and 3. Thatís where the person has a moment of enlightenment, realizes that they are wrong, and truly believes differently than they did when they made the comments. They have changed, and they are better for it.

And the reason I have a hard time with that is because more often than not, I donít believe it happens.

A true apology is found when there is some recognition of responsibility and error. A person is disappointed with what they have done and sincere in their remorse. In instances where we are talking about opinions, beliefs and some actionsónot examples where they broke something they borrowed or suchóan apology represents developing a new understanding of a situation and accepting those understandings as the truth. In shortÖ saying I was wrong while also believing I was wrong.

Do you actually believe that forcing someone to say theyíre sorry creates that change? I hope not. Because Iím fairly certain thatís not the way it works. In fact, Iíd actually go with some sort of backed-into-a-corner-fight mentality as more likelyÖ meaning a person might recognize the politically correct thing to do is apologize and perhaps head out on the interview penance tour, while silently theyíre more convinced than ever that they believe what they said.

Thereís a longer discussion to be had here. Thereís a lot of ground I canít cover. For one, I refuse to head along the freedom of speech and so what if itís legal pathways that lead way, way, way off the subject matter at hand. For another, I often wonder why certain locations and people are considered accurate barometers of judgment for any apology. And yet, these are valid considerations to think of, and discussions worth at least acknowledging in possibility.

Instead, I just want to finish with the idea that scripted, prepared, and designed moments are quite often just thatÖ fabricated. Iím likely to believe a personís first action/reaction is much more significant and accurate than anything that was allowed to be crafted, deliberated and considered. Itís an extension of the ďactions speak louder than wordsĒ philosophy.

Sure, itís nice to hear what you want to hear. Itís even nicer when you can believe it.


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