Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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October 17, 2003
By: Kevin Drum

EASTERBROOK'S APOLOGY....I just got done surfing around the blogosphere a bit and reading reaction to Gregg Easterbrook's belated apology for seeming to blame greedy Jews for movie violence (see previous post). The reaction is mostly pretty negative.

I don't really want to open a long comment thread about Easterbrook's specific apology although I guess that's exactly what I'm doing here but it got me thinking about apologies in general. I just read Roger Simon's post about this, along with all the comments, and they mostly broke down into these objections:

  • The original statement was obviously what he really thought. An apology doesn't change that.

  • His apology wasn't abject enough. He needed to address all the issues that his critics brought up.

  • He only did it because he was forced to.

Now, I don't especially like or dislike Easterbrook, and I agree that his apology should have come sooner, but overall it seemed pretty genuine to me, not the kind surly non-apology apology you so often see. So my question is this: if this is the attitude you get when you apologize, what's the point of ever apologizing publicy for anything? I've apologized once or twice for hasty remarks on my blog, and between the critics who said it wasn't enough and the cynics who mocked me for giving in to the critics in the first place, it hardly seemed worth it. What's the point?

As for Easterbrook, my take on him is that he writes as if he's talking in a bar: a mile a minute and without thinking through half the stuff he commits to print. It's a pretty bad combination for a blogger, and he may find that unedited blogging is really not his medium.

Still, whether you like the guy or not, I've never read anything of his in the past that leads me to think he's anti-semitic. It seems to me that while his apology might not have been perfect, it was sufficient. We should give the guy a break, and in the process send a message that a sincere apology is something that's worth making, not something that's more trouble than it's worth.

Kevin Drum 5:38 PM Permalink | Trackbacks

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