on August 29th, 2006 at 09:07 pm
The first time I read this, I was conscious only of mild interest and mild cynicism at the words of your link*, "Gosh," when I got to the all-caps bit, and a sense of mild dissatisfaction at the end.
Rereading, I conclude that the idea that as a public apology this is, in fact, an illusion. He's more emphatic than expected, and heaven knows I like having that explicit an acknowledgement that what he did was wrong. That's great. But the paragraph that starts, "So. What now," when I consider it, seems to come down to, "Yep. It was wrong. I'm a guy who does wrong things. Whatcha gonna do?" And the conclusion is overt, complacent mockery.
I'm thinking about this. In the first counseling class I ever took, the prof told us to pay attentions to the reactions we had to clients, because those were probably the reactions they were accustomed to eliciting from people, and we could learn a lot about what their world was like that way, and also that, in some cases, it was probably the reaction they desired to elicit.
Now, I'm considering how the last several lines of that note would make me feel if they were addressed to me (and since it's essentially an open letter, in a way they are). They would make me feel flushed and embarassed and resentful and wrong-footed. They make me feel like a younger sibling trying to hit an older sibling while the older puts one hand on the younger's forehead to keep him or her at arm's length and laughs at them. They're condescending. They're humorous, but people have long considered a pie in the face humorous, too. Those lines make the writer seem impervious, and an assailant foolish.
And I think, if I feel like that, probably that's not dissimilar to what other people feel, and it's probably not far off from what I or other people are intended to feel.
I don't think this is an apology.
* Along with pleasure that you have a tag for "noted without comment" and disappointment that you've only used it once.