Monday, August 3, 2009

How to Apologize (If You Must)

Two of my bad habits seem to have intersected recently, as I allowed myself to become distracted by an argument, rather than to focus on following up the matter of Jesse Griffin.

Being able to resist neither arguments nor distractions, there was yet another temptation -- humor -- awaiting at this particular intersection, and again I did not resist. Mea culpa. Mea maxima culpa.

Therefore, for the benefit of those who do not read my posts at the Hot Air Green Room, I wish to share my formal apology to C.K. MacLeod:

Your criticism is acknowledged and I have no desire, by further dispute, to alienate whatever esteem I might otherwise retain by ceasing to argue.
Perhaps I should explain how an indifference to my own notorious reputation has become habitual. I arrived in Washington in 1997, and in subsequent years various individuals, choosing me as their particular enemy, decided to advance themselves by maligning me. It was therefore as a matter of self-interest — indeed, at times, a matter of professional survival — that I learned to flaunt a disdainful attitude about the reputation these enemies purposefully damaged. It became my custom to jest cheerfully about the harm to my career and the insult to my good name, so as never to give these vile two-faced slanderers the satisfaction of thinking they had inflicted any blow worthy of my notice.
Of course, I understand that most other people, having never suffered from such treatment, can never truly empathize with those who have suffered thus. Like Coriolanus, my pride is wounded to be required to display my scars.
Pride is my great flaw, and you will note the irony that one so naturally proud should choose to take pride in an undeserved shame, rather than be obliged to explain or defend himself, when considerations of honor ought to have required that the many who had benefitted from his labors would have leapt unbidden to his defense. Alas, as Burke said, the age of chivalry died long ago, and the man is rightly thought a sentimental fool who expects nowadays to be treated with an old-fashioned sense of justice
It was by no desire to reduce the prestige of others, and certainly not to embarrass the Palin family, that the above satire was composed. The object was to lampoon the ridiculous way in which Messrs. “Gryphen” and Zaki resorted to what I call Cargo Cult Journalism, with their alleged “sources” to justify their lies.
Although my intent was innocent — indeed, my personal feelings toward the Palins are entirely those of admiration and affection, as with one’s fellow sufferers — it is evident that my judgment was so inferior that it constituted an offense to “standards of decency,” as you say.
Accepting the superiority of your judgment in such matters, Mr. MacLeod, I have this moment resolved not to risk further offense to Hot Air readers. Therefore, I shall post nothing further at the Green Room without your express prior permission.
Thank you for your courtesy and kindness, sir, and with sincere apology for every previous offense given, it is with the warmest regard that I assure you I remain
Your most humble and obedient servant,
And I will further assure my regular readers here that the "express prior permission" mentioned shall never be requested. When I told Mr. MacLeod that pride is my great fault, it was with complete sincerity. At some point, further argument becomes insult, a cruel attempt to humiliate another by impugning his judgment, thus to enhance one's own reputation at his expense.

Rather than to engage in such un-Christian and uncivilized behavior, to behave like an arrogant bully, insisting on the rightness of my own judgment (which I have always freely admitted is not always perfect), I bowed gracefully, and exited the room.

Those who concern themselves with standards of decency should feel free to pass judgment as to whether my exit was accomplished with as much good cheer as anyone might be expected to muster on such an unfortunate occasion, and with the dignity of a gentleman.


  1. You're a stand up man, but I thought the intent of the post was pretty darn clear considering the controversy. And funny. Maybe a little too "explicit" :) but not harmful overall.

    I can understand where he's coming from, but- jokes are jokes. Stack your stuff up with the Dailyshow, and it ranks a solid PG-13 vs hardcore XXXX.

  2. The lefties are such Puritans, but only for some things.

  3. Under the same circumstances, my apology to C.K. MacLeod would have been much shorter:

    "Piss off!"

  4. On second thought, methinks that Monsieur McCain's apology was a subtle way of telling Monsieur MacLeod that he was a bit out of touch in the modern world. Either that, or McCain was trying to fend off the necessity of a duel at dawn, with flintlock pistols and an entourage of seconds, or perhaps a sword fight wearing big floppy 18th century hats with plumes, vests with big red crosses on them, and neatly trimmed goatees. One for all and all for me!

    I'm sure MacLeod is still wondering if your apology was sincere or a satire on MacLeod's 18th century prudish sensibilities.

    I'm sure, however, that it was the former. Snicker.

  5. I thought it was a clever skewering of the people uncleverly lying about the Palins in an attempt to skewer them. It was humanizing at a time when the lefty criticism is anything but, and for people who are married it sounds pretty familiar. I doubt anyone was offended, and the Palins (if they saw it) probably laughed and said, "No, it was '98, in the boat dock, but otherwise..."

    As much strength as SP displays, it's even more impressive the way that Todd Palin conducts himself with reserve. Attack me -- fine. Pick on my wife and it's my boot you'll be speaking to, assuming you can remove it from your teeth.

  6. OT.. but The Richmond Times Dispatch had this opinion piece on F. A. Hayek. Nice to see his name getting out there (more than it is).

  7. The C4P'ers attacking, especially on the McCain blog, apparently they are so narrow fielded they did not look up to read the mission statement/quote of the forum they are bashing Grph for writing his beliefs.

    The Other McCain
    "One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." -- Arthur Koestler

    One more thing for you lurkers from the dredge's of society, you have been around enough to understand...IF THEY DO IT WITH YOU THEY WILL DO IT TO YOU!!!

    Look to your left and look to your right...the people you are spewing your intolerance with begging for "Dirty Work" to be exacted are the same ones next week or month who will turn on you. Are you ready to have your life exposed, your employer listed in a public forum?

    Good God you post one comment out of expectation at C4P you get jumped by your own. Image how many years and dollars you will continue to have to waste to stay friendly in extortion for your privacy. You created your own Hell and it is a courtesy warning to stop now and take your lumps getting out before someone crosses the line & they take you with them or worse cop a play from the Palin handbook and blame everything on you.

    That is your gut telling you I am right, GET OUT NOW!!! Ivy doesn't care about you. Manny does not care about you. Van Flein does not care about you. PALIN DOES NOT CARE ABOUT YOU.

    You are a warm body with a ATM card. Once you are tapped out you will be thrown out. Everyone has their own agenda, none of them with concern for you and yours.

    Read the blatant lies of K. Cole saying Palin knew nothing of the legal Fund. No way Palin was not involved or did not know. YOU KNOW THIS. Excuse her all you want for starting the fund BUT admit Palin got her supposed FRIEND to lie as close to oath as one can, in international media to save herself.

    If Palin would do that to a FRIEND she has known for years, a friend with a business which relies on her reputation, imagine what hoops she is leading you through...most likely to a are nothing but fodder. You are being used to rile up press to get her more donations. How you do it she does not care. What happens to you when emotions get to wild and someone gets hurt, she won't be there to bail you out. Meg will issue a generic statement you acted on your own, not sponsored by Palin like she has already said about C4P and TeamSarah.

    Good luck if you stay with the insanity. God help you cause if instigations continue, no one else will or would. Hell God might abandoned you for being a dumbass himself.

  8. I'd have to say that it is the C K MacLeod's of the GOP that turn off way more people than the RSMs...

  9. I read through the exchange with CK and believe his fundamental purpose there is to accomplish something that is neither his business nor necessary, namely, make it that Sarah Palin is taken seriously.

    Who is he to worry about that, as if he knows how to make it happen, much less that he has the job of doing it?

    Sarah Palin -- as any person -- has ability to make herself be taken seriously. No one else has. And for each one of us there is no one other than ourself who can do that or should dare to try.

    Each one of us speaks for ourself and no one else has either authority or ability to speak for us.

    CK is committing the minor sin of presumption, which is a function of the major Sin of Hubris.

    He has no business speaking for Sarah Palin or imaging he knows what is best for her. Only she has authority in those areas. It is a terrible thing he is doing, against her and against himself and against our nation.

    And he is not giving a fellowcraft the benefit of the doubt for knowing what he is doing and having authority to do it. Again, presumption, mixed with superiority. CK is being very bad.

    Finally, mundanely, CK is committing the tactical error of not rolling with the punch.

    A wonderful story General MacArthur tells in *Reminiscences* illustrates that principle and I beg indulgence to recount it in my own words. I love it so.

    Douglas' father, then Brevet COL Arthur MacArthur was commanding, if memory serves (and it may be faulty on this), First Wisconsin Volunteers against a furious, well-organized, intelligently directed and skillfully executed Confederate attack. Arthur's regiment, which held the key section of the Federal line, was in a desperate fight and in danger of breaking. The enemy was executing a flanking manoeuver which would route Arthur's troops.

    The din of battle was ear-splitting. Watching it with Arthur, who was issuing orders to meet the hammer blows, was Phil Sheridan, whom I would guess at that point to be in a brevet rank of a General Officer, although that is merely a guess.

    Watching the scene unfold, Sheridan bellowed into Arthur's ear over the din, "Pivot Arthur, pivot! He must not turn you!"

    The postures of action those words commend have carried me through many a grim moment since first I read them almost forty years ago. Would that such practical advice were taught at the Seminary where I had recently graduated -- and at the private University before that. (Subsequently I worked five + years on thoroughbred farms, where I learned about life, finally.)

    I am sure Sarah and Todd Palin thought the send-up was a crack-up, as I did. And I am certain so did thousands of people who take her and him very seriously indeed and are solicitous of their welfare and career in service to their nation, as I am.

    Let CK become the focus of primordial yearning for what is right and true as Sarah and Todd Palin are, and then let him discuss being taken seriously -- that is, in regard to himself, and no one else.

    An enormous gang of I-know-what's-best-for-you-ers is hag-riding the nation with what amounts to a grim Communist agenda, and I do not want them replaced by a precious gang of I-know-how-to-save-you-ers with what amounts to a grim Puritanical agenda.

    You did the right thing, Stacy. The most effective weapon against the evil is humor. The Devil comes to Shiva and threatens Him. Shiva laughs in His face. The Devil disappears. Carry one!

  10. Loved your Palin I do all your writing! SOME people need to lighten up......

  11. "Never Apologize, Mister, It's a Sign of Weakness."

    -- Col. Nathan Biddles, USA (Retired)

  12. What's the line? Don't apologize, your friends don't need it, and your enemies won't believe you.

    The Palin thing was brilliant, perhaps you should have stopped a bit before you did, but totally not worth pulling back from the Green Room over. (You did notice it got promoted to Hot Air?) Also I think you may have been too sensitive to comments such as those by CK. He should have been ignored, or at best acknowledged with a "perhaps you are right" and no other action.

    Just my 2 cents. :)

  13. Frankly, the Prude deserved no apology, CK ought to go buy a sense of humor, and stop whining like a Liberal would!

  14. Since you asked, I thought you came across as an asshole.