Please don’t apologize, Newt.

by david

Newt Gingrich said something inflammatory and stupid. That’s not shocking: he’s a dickhead. Less shocking, though, will be other adults demanding that he apologize. It’s inevitable.

There’s nothing more pathetic than an adult issuing a public demand for another adult to apologize. It’s as if they’re saying over and over that what’s at stake isn’t the practical real-world consequences of opposing viewpoints, but the hurt to their own feelings when those viewpoints are expressed. And really, there’s nothing satisfying about an extorted apology from somebody who a)intended to offend, or b) doesn’t really feel the need to apologize. So it doesn’t even serve as a tonic for the startled nerves of the offended wimp.

Adults don’t demand apologies. They may accept them if offered. But they don’t demand them, unless they’re talking to a child. Children can be made to apologize: they’re still learning.

This public ritual of demanding that adults apologize is at best useless and embarrassing for both parties, and at worst it actually obscures an opportunity to actually work through or fight out a dispute that really ought to be worked/fought.