Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Sorry Stories

Apologize, apologize, pull out his eyes. -Joyce

How can you tell it's Lent? By all the insufferable remorse that's choking the airwaves, that's how. Last week it seemed the whole world was lining up in a collective act of contrition. First we saw Obama apologize to the Afghans, and by extension, all Muslims, for the Koran burnings by his troops. As usual, Mr. Present wanted it both ways, telling them that the act was "not intentional," and in the next breath promising that the malefactors would be "held accountable." So far no apology has been forthcoming for the vengeful murder of three US soldiers by the religion of peace.
      As you give so shall ye receive. Obama himself became the recipient of an apology from minister Franklin Graham. Son of Billy was making nice after having suggested that the president was not a Christian. He is, says Graham. Next question: is Graham?
      The Liberals apologized to the Tories over the Tweeter attack against old fossil face Vic Toews. Toews owes the whole country a repentance for his outrageous endeavor to let the Mounties backjack our computers, and for equating any opposition to this idiocy as a vote for online predators. Surpise: the Mounties themselves approve of the plan. That's like hearing that the wolves approve of the new back door to the sheep pen. Predators indeed!
         Now the Liberals are demanding some kind of mea culpa from Harper vis a vis the robocalls scandal. Don't hold your breath on that one, boys. Harper loves power, and love is never having to say you're sorry.
        The premier of Alberta wants an apology from her congener in Ontario. Seems he chided the tar sands oil prices for hobbling Ontario's manufactures. Lucky he didn't call them "blue-eyed Arabs," though, as we used to, or else he'd be apologizing to the Arabs in Alberta too.
       Back across the 49th, the Mormons were apologizing, -again!- for proxy baptisms of Jews. The outrage seems a bit paradoxical, to say the least. Obviously people like Abe Foxman and Elie Wiesel don't actually believe that their deceased ancestors are getting whisked into rapture by these silly rites, so why take the Mormons or their critics seriously? If I learned that my neighbours practiced black magic and were sticking pins into my voodoo doll,  would it upset me? Not unless I believed in the efficacy of black magic. But what if they were doing nice things to the doll, wouldn't my concern be even more laughable? The Mormons are sorry but Foxman and Weisel are just plain pathetic.
For a sane Jewish perspective on the issue, go here.
        The Mormons aren't the only religion wearing a hair shirt this week, though. The Catholic Church in Australia is apologizing, along with the government, for the forced adoptions, or rather forced sequestration of newborn children, described in grim detail in the National Post. Coming from an organization that has always espoused the sanctity of the family and the almost divine station of motherhood, the practice bordered on the diabolical. If the Church doesn't offer it, let us hope the courts levy something more substantial than a mere apology for those anguished women. It is Lent, after all.
Downcast Update: A judge apologized to Obama for an obscene online joke impugning the virtue of the president's mother.
Rush Limbaugh apologized to young law student he had slandered. At least Limbaugh called it an apology, but its patent insincerity brought to mind the words of Chesterton "A stiff apology is a second insult. The injured party does not want to be compensated because he has been wronged; he wants to be healed because he has been hurt." RL, too, was hurting, after his tweeter battered sponsors started bailing on him. But if forgiveness isn't forthcoming there's always oxycodone. Rushhh!
The Catholic Church has -yet again- apologized to a young native student after disciplining her for speaking a few words in her tribal language. After centuries of trying to squelch Indian culture the apology has the unmistakeable contours of the proverbial forked tongue.
I know this is getting a little monotonous, but what can I say except, I'm sorry!

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