Enough of the Fake Apologies
by Matt Stoller, Tue Jun 12, 2007 at 04:53:09 PM EDT
Butchering of language bothers me intensely. Let's take David Saunders and his 'apology'. Many of you know him as 'Mudcat', but I'm going to call him David as if he is a fully functional adult male. Here's what he wrote in his initial post insulting vague left-wing bloggers.
I am certain I will get personally attacked for this next statement, but in all honesty, I don't care what the "Metropolitan Wing" of my party thinks. I don't like them. The damage the pseudo-intellectuals have done to my party by abandoning tolerance, combined with their erroneous stereotyping of my people and culture, is something that brings out my incivility. In his column, Joe said, "...the smart stuff is being drowned out by a fierce, bullying, often witless tone of intolerance that has overtaken the left-wing sector of the blogosphere." Amen. I must add that this same intellectual arrogance and intolerance overtook the party years ago, and for that very reason, my people in rural America left the tent.
So to those bloggers who believe in a straight-forward dialogue and exchange of ideas, God bless you and thank you. Together, you're coming up with a lot of good stuff, and frankly, much of it has been helpful to me. At the same time, those Democratic bloggers, who have appointed themselves as intellectually superior and believe the only way to win an argument is to shot the loudest with personal attacks, you can go to Hell
Here's his this 'apology'.
And by the way, I never intended to shoot at the net roots with my initial post. I am simply an "elitism hating" Southern Democrat who loathes the stereotypes that have been placed upon me and my neighbors. However, apologies with buts ain't worth a damn. Since I offended so many of you, I obviously did a poor job of communicating my feelings. I apologize...no buts.
In what world is that classified as an apology? You think you did a 'poor job of communicating' your 'feelings'. Actually, David, you did a fine job. Your feelings are pretty damn clear. You hate the 'Metropolitan Opera Wing' of the party (gay-bait much?), called the left-wing side of the blogosphere 'witless', and said you don't care what this Metropolitan Opera Wing does or says, all in the name of tolerance. Apparently, you also feel that this group you attacked destroyed your party.
I'd say that you did a good job of clearly expressing your feelings, so no need to apologize on that front. In fact, this is not a 'communications problem' at all. This is you going off and insulting a whole lot of people for no reason whatsoever with stereotypical code words and a whole lot of inaccurate silliness. Apologize for that, not for a lack of clarity in how you insulted people. And while we're at it, I'm sick of everything in PR-speak being reduced to a 'communications problem'. No, you were wrong and a jerk. It happens, we all say things we've regretted, but stop chalking it up to a misunderstanding. Here, this is an apology looks like. An apology requires a real self-examination, and understanding of what you did wrong, and a recognition and willingness to take the time and effort not to do it again. If you think you didn't communicate your feelings clearly and that's the problem, you obviously have no idea why people are upset.
And as for Joe Trippi and the Edwards campaign saying 'Oh Mudcat's Mudcat', what is he, seven years old? That's ridiculous. This is an adult man, not a child. And this is a Presidential contest, not a playpen.
There's no big larger moral lesson here. I'm just annoyed at people butchering the English language and saying they are sorry that we're mad instead of apologizing for screwing something up. Stop it. We see through it. If you don't want to apologize, don't. If you want to apologize, do it. But don't be sorry that I'm mad at you, because all that means is that you don't want to be inconvenienced or disliked, but that you also don't want to fix the problem that caused the situation in the first place.