When someone isn’t sorry for something they did, there is a typical pattern to their “apology”: something on the order of “I’m sorry YOU blahblahblahbittyblah”. When someone is sorry for something they have done, the pattern is more along the lines of “I’m sorry I blahblahblahbittyblah”. We have all been on the receiving end of both types during our lives, no doubt, and know this well.

Mr. Blunt and Cranky was on the receiving end of one of the insincere variety lately, and to the offender’s “I’m sorry you’re upset” replied “I’m sorry you’re an asshole”. What struck him at that point was that the perp didn’t realize that they had done something wrong in the first place, but most certainly did realize that they had just had a non-apology delivered back to them.

Some people are so disconnected from society that they don’t empathize with others. Some, for whatever reason, have never learned that there are consequences for actions they take – for themselves and those that are injured by said actions. They sometimes place so little importance on the feelings and value of other humans that they may not even remember harming them in the past.

When Jane Fonda behaved in a hugely and stupidly insensitive, near-treasonous fashion (to put it mildly) during the Vietnam war, she refused to apologize for years, and when she did, her first attempt at an apology was of the insincere sort; small wonder that many Vietnam veterans despise her to this day.

Mitt Romney was recently called out for his behavior during high school, and like Fonda, issued a non-apology: “I’ve seen the reports, not going to argue about that; I did some stupid things in high school,” he said. “If I hurt anyone I would be very sorry for it and apologize for it.”

Breaking it down – It obvious that someone was hurt (via the word of multiple eyewitnesses, some of whom were participants in one event), so why the hypothetical “If” and “would”? Mitt (like many other deliverers of false apologies) has just shown that he doesn’t even remember having done wrong, and clearly doesn’t feel remorse for the wrongs that he has done.

If one were the victim of such actions, one would not be appeased by such greasy insincerity; indeed, the average person would be even angrier with the perpetrators after being treated in such a manner. In both cases, most of the media gave them a pass, but lots of Americans haven’t, because we know bullshit non-apologies when we hear them. Both Fonda and Romney would have been better served by showing an honest understanding of the error of their ways, and simply saying ‘I did wrong, and I am sorry. How can I make amends?” As would we all.

Mr. B & C