Claire Black: What a life lesson: it doesn’t matter if you are sorry, just that you say you are
‘SAY you are sorry.” I didn’t quite have the gumption to say no, but my lips remained sealed and I think there was a perceptible, just, shake of the head.
“Say. You. Are. Sorry.” I was only eight, that kind of punctuated speech was genuinely scary.
But it wasn’t stubbornness that was stopping me from uttering the words. I genuinely was not sorry for what I had done. But nor did I know how to articulate this in a way that might simultaneously capture the philosophical complexity of my predicament whilst also allowing me to avoid getting a really big row. It seems that people of far greater years all over the land are still struggling with the same dilemma.
There seems to be a veritable rash of pseudo-apologies being issued at the moment. By this I mean U-turns that are spun into shows of strength, as though getting it wrong in the first place doesn’t count. I give you the pasty tax. Or the “mistakes have been made” mantra, a classic example of the “I-don’t-want-take-responsibility-for-what-has-happened-and-I-am-not-really-sorry-but-I-will-act-like-I-am-because-my-job-title-necessitates-it”.
I give you the comments that Andrew Dixon, head of Creative Scotland, made on a blog last week about his controversial funding strategy not being “communicated” properly. And then there’s the general mealy-mouthed, “I’m sorry, but not really, for doing what you’re accusing me of, more for the fact that I’ve been caught” manner of mea culpa. I give you, well, pretty much everyone at the Leveson enquiry so far.
So standing at the front of my classroom, shame-faced and full of righteous anger (she – we’ll call her Emma – had deliberately snapped my C3PO ruler and I was definitely never ever sharing the contents of my pencil case with her ever again), what to do? Finally, after quite a sore arm squeeze from my interlocutor (Miss Gibson – never to be forgotten), I confessed: “But I’m not sorry.”
There was a pause. It went very quiet. Then, there was a momentary look of confusion followed by: “That doesn’t matter – SAY IT. And shake hands.”
What a life lesson: it doesn’t matter if you are sorry just that you say you are. We’re going to have to get better at apologising. Sorry, but it’s true.
A DATE for the diary: 14 July is World Naked Bike Ride day and your nearest organised ride is in Glasgow. I haven’t checked the long range weather but I confess I’m a little goosebumpy at the thought. Still, hopefully a decent number of indecent cyclists (actually they’ll not be totally starkers as policy states that genitals and nipples should be covered so as not to frighten “small children or horses”) will congregate in Kelvingrove Park at 2pm before setting off. It brings a whole new dimension to “taps aff”. I am in awe.
DID you know that One Million Moms, the campaigning group which has turned its fundamentalist fury against gay comic book heroes, chain store JC Penney (for ads that featured gay men) and Ellen Degeneres (yup, you’re right, there is a pattern) – is actually run by an 11-strong, all-male board of directors. Not so one million moms then. I feel tricked and humiliated. Actually, it’s kind of funny, isn’t it? Or it would be if they didn’t have 40,000 supporters on Facebook.
• Last week Claire... came across the phrase “fidgets me” as in “erroneous autocorrect on my smartphone fidgets me”. Nice isn’t it? (It was George Orwell who wrote it, incidentally, about using carbon paper in his typewriter.)
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Weather for Edinburgh
Sunday 19 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 16 C
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Temperature: 9 C to 20 C
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