This will be short and sweet. Time after time after time, after someone has insulted some group of people -- blacks, gays, Hispanics, etc. -- and discovers that this has gotten himself into hot water, his publicist will craft an apology that contains neither an admission of guilt nor even an admission that what he (almost invariably the offender is a male) said was offensive.
The most recent incidence of this involves the radio broadcaster for the Boston Celtics NBA games. During a broadcast, he said of one of the fairly rare female basketball referees that she should "go back to the kitchen" upon objecting to one of her calls. This got him in trouble. The way out when caught with one's foot in one's mouth is to apologize immediately. Such people very frequently come up with a nonapoligy apology like
"If I said anything that might have been insensitive or sexist in any way, then I apologize because she worked extremely hard to get where she is now, end of quote."This nonapology contains no admission of wrong-doing. In fact it doesn't even acknowledge that he said anything at all, much less anything that was offensive.
Note that the following sentence is perfectly self-consistent:
If I said anything that might have been insensitive or sexist in any way, then I apologize, but I said nothing at all so I have nothing at all to apologize for.So, he hasn't admitted he said anything at all. Suppose though that someone replays his remark and proves he talked. He might then say the self-consistent sentence:
If I said anything that might have been insensitive or sexist in any way, then I apologize, but I said nothing at all that was insensitive or sexist in any wayThe people who do this are usually male athletes, male broadcasters of sports events (who can forget Jimmy the Greek?, and politicians. President Nixon's post-resignation apology that wasn't one was
I regret deeply any injuries that may have been done in the course of the events that led to this decision. I would say only that if some of my judgments were wrong, and some were wrong, they were made in what I believed at the time to be the best interest of the Nation.Notice that "any injuries that may have been done" does not concede that any injuries were done. If none were not done, why would he need to resign? Nixon did a little better in the section in which he said:
I would say only that if some of my judgments were wrong, and some were wrong, they were made in what I believed at the time to be the best interest of the Nation.This does at least admit that some of his judgments were wrong after first having cast doubt on their having been any. However, his claim that he was always acting in what he took to be the best interests of the nation to some degree takes back his apology.
In an interview with David Frost, Nixon claimed that if a President believes that some action that would normally be illegal is not illegal if it is done in the interests of the nation or is done to preserve the safety of the nation then that action would be legal. Nixon in that interview suggests that President Lincoln once said
"Actions which otherwise would be unconstitutional, could become lawful if undertaken for the purpose of preserving the Constitution and the Nation."So Nixon thinks that Lincoln believed the position that sometimes one must violate the constitution in order to save it.This will remind older folks of the famous statement by a US general during the Vietnam War that we had to destroy a village in order to save it. George Bush must like this way of looking at things given how often he has violated the law.
Well, it seems I can't write short blogs. I hope, however, that this one was at least sweet.