There’s a school of thought that suggests that your first instinct or first response is always the truest. In that light, there’s almost nothing that anybody can ever do that he or she should feel compelled to apologize for. I mean sure, you could apologize if you did something by accident like if you ran over somebody’s cat or if you did something that was misinterpreted by others, you could apologize for giving them the wrong impression, but if you do something intentionally-premeditated especially-there’s almost no out for anybody to believe that you could really be sorry for it.
The past week has seen three major apologies for three actions of dubious regret. First, South Carolina Congressman Joe Wilson screamed out “You Lie!” after President Obama explained that his proposed healthcare plan wouldn’t cover illegal aliens. Wilson has since apologized.
Then, tennis superstar Serena Williams apologized for threatening to shove a ball down the throat of a line judge that had first ruled that Serenea had committed a foot fault on a serve, then penalized Serena a point for unsportsmanlike conduct, causing her to lose the match.
Last, rap kingpin Kanye West apologized for snatching the microphone during 19 year-old country singer Taylor Swift’s MTV VMA acceptance speech and suggesting that the real winner of the award should have been R&B star Beyonce Knowles.
Of those three apologies, the only one that I truly believe in is Serena Williams’. I was actually happy to see Serena finally indulge herself by losing it. John McEnroe’s boorish behavior has been celebrated for decades and both Williams sisters have been treated far worse by the sport of tennis than McEnroe ever was.
Just as quickly though, Serena seemed to remember that she had young fans that she was disappointing by letting her emotions get the better of her and equally importantly, Kim Clijsters had just won the match and it would have been in bad form not to put away her petty issues and congratulate the winner.
As for Joe Wilson, his “apology” was about as politically motivated as the feigned emotional outbreak that caused him to say “You Lie!” in the first place. Meanwhile, Kanye enjoys reading any word written about him for whatever he does; crime or apology.
So are celebrity apologies ever genuine? By my count, probably about 33% of them are.