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Jan. 10th, 2016 @ 09:40 am The responsibility epidemic
So we all know about the Fake Apology, right?

"My comments were just in the spirit of fun! I apologise if any offence was taken, and if my words were taken the wrong way. Those that know me know I would never intentionally cause any harm."

Or, perhaps:

"At the end of the day I was under a great deal of stress, mistakes were made, and we all said things we now regret. My intention was not to cause any harm, I deeply regret any hurt I may have caused, and I equally regret that my words caused such an overreaction. I hope that this apology is accepted in the spirit it is offered."

(Yeah, I just looked up some fake apology bingo cards online and threw together phrases.)

The obvious reason why you get Fake Apologies (or Fauxpologies, which is a word I've recently learned and think is awesome and needs to be used more) is because the Fake Apologiser doesn't believe they were actually wrong and/or they don't want to take any responsibility for whatever happened. Truly egregious Fauxpologists blame the listener for the whole entire thing. "If it wasn't for you then I wouldn't have to be up here apologising for something that wasn't a problem in the first place!"

The reason I'm thinking about is because of an article I read about public violence. (http://www.smh.com.au/comment/australia-doesnt-have-a-problem-with-alcohol-we-have-a-problem-with-violence-20150120-12u3eb.html) In Australia, it seems that lately there's been quite a few incidences of extremely nasty public violence. Alcohol usually gets blamed, and everyone starts arguing about when pubs should close and how alcohol is too easily available.

The article points out that if the only problem was the easy availability of alcohol, then some other places should be hellholes drenched in alcohol-fueled violence, descending into orgies of violence every night as drunken dorks punch everyone and everything around them. The author points out that in Germany, alcohol is easily available and there is no such epidemic of violence. I'll also point out from my own experience that alcohol is easily available in 24-hour convenience shops in Tokyo, and Tokyo is one of the safer places I've visited. (I think of drunken salarymen staggering home at 1am - this is probably a 30 year old cliche that's now wrong though!)

The author points out that the problem is not alcohol, but rather that the problem is violence. We blame the alcohol because it's an easy target that can't fight back, and because if it was the alcohol then we don't have to take responsibility. "But to blame any kind of assault squarely on alcohol is to absolve the perpetrator of moral responsibility, while making scapegoats of the small business owners and their employees in the hospitality trade."

Hang on, this sounds a lot like the reasoning behind a Fake Apology. In both cases, the person at fault is attempting to deflect responsibility, and shifting the blame.

When you think of corporate public relations and corporate spin, what do you think of? I don't know about you, but I think of big corporations trying to explain why something that went wrong isn't actually their fault.

The Fake Apology, blaming alcohol for violence, blaming the user for using it wrong - nobody wants to take responsibility for anything anymore. Why not? The answer is probably, "Money."
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Date:January 10th, 2016 12:46 am (UTC)
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I think both may be to blame. Alcohol lowers inhibitions; if you respond to inhibitions being lowered with violence...

Personally, drink makes me talk way too much, which could be violence to my listeners.