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Wednesday, July 12. 2017
Sorry, not sorry. A neologism which I hear young people use frequently, and now people my age are adopting. It's a great phrase. People want you to be sorry for something you did, you feel you're in the right. Sorry, not sorry.
Urban Dictionary has its first reference to this in 2012. It became a Twitter hashtag at about that same time, maybe 2011. This was predated by an alt-punk song from an obscure band, Amen, titled Sorry Not Sorry, but it seems to have come into common usage around 2011/2012. Today it's used primarily as a sarcastic comeback or response, usually for humorous purposes.
There is another aspect to this, though. It revolves around empathy. At least, that's where I see it coming from. Mainly because I tend to have so little empathy (and I'm told that's a problem). Sorry, not sorry for lacking that empathy.
Point is, I don't know why we have to be sorry for so many things. President Obama was on an "I'm Sorry" tour for 8 years and what did it get us? Not much. If the US did it, he was sorry about it. Why? Saying "sorry" doesn't change the past. It doesn't even change the future. Stuff happened, and I wasn't involved, so don't judge me on that.
Many things he was sorry for occurred long ago. I'm sorry Hiroshima happened, it was terrible. I'm sorry for all the death and damage and horrific after-effects, but it was war, so I'm not going to quibble whether Hiroshima or Nagasaki were worse than Tokyo or Dresden. Death happens in warfare. We don't have to be sorry for killing people in warfare.
Slavery will always be a massive blot on the moral credibility of our nation's history. Despite this, I'm not personally sorry because I wasn't there, though it seems some people think I played a role since everything is about race. However, my ancestors came to the US well after slaves were freed. I'm sorry slavery happened, conceptually. It's reprehensible our predecessors singled out a particular group in such a fashion. But I'm not sorry because I don't owe anyone anything but personal respect based on their behavior today - not the historical nature of their existence in this nation.
I've been concerned how my tone of speech may cause more problems than what I say. I know that's an issue. But sorry, not sorry. I spend time with people who are tedious, dull, ignorant, annoying, and I'm civil to all of them. I listen to what they have to say and be polite and still consider their thoughts valuable. So if my 'problem' is how I'm saying something, rather than what I'm saying - seems to me that's not my problem so much as it is anyone else's. I've made accommodations for them, they can make accommodations for me.
That sounds childish, I know. I'm not throwing a temper tantrum and complaining "Nobody understands me", though. I'm simply being realistic. We all take time to try and understand the nature of other people. If my tone is your reason for discounting a well-thought out and researched position, then the problem isn't me, it's you because you have chosen to pay attention to the superficial aspects of my sharing rather than the depth of it. It's this superficiality which is tearing society apart at the seams these day. "Safe Spaces" aren't about knowledge. They are about being thin-skinned and unwilling to think.
I'm reminded of the story The Little Prince and the discovery of the asteroid B-612 by a Turkish astronomer. The facts and figures were ignored mainly because of his style of dress. When he returned and presented his data in stylish Western dress, the information was received more favorably. This kind of behavior is very normal, most people employ this kind of bias from time to time. But we'd be wrong to employ it and then blame the Turkish astronomer for not indulging our biases. What often happens today is worse, though. The Turkish astronomer would be accused of 'offending' the distinguished group he was presenting to. But one reason I've stopped trying to adjust my tone to every situation is that life means we're free to be offended. We're not free from being offended. We're free to be heard. We're not free to force people to listen. If my tone offends you, if it causes you to discount what I have to say, if it causes you any kind of problem, well, it's your right to feel that way. Good luck with that.
I'm content, at this point in my life, to behave the way I behave and let others accept me or not. Sometimes it hurts when they don't, but I can deal with that kind of hurt. I'm not going to change just so I can have one more friend. By the same token, I try to teach my children the limitations of my viewpoint, making it clear at their age it's easier to learn adaptations and present in a more socially agreeable fashion.
I'm simply not going to say I'm sorry about it anymore. I used to, but I no longer understand the relevance of being sorry for who I am just because someone else doesn't 'get' me. Besides, sometimes it's fun being an asshole just to be an asshole. Sorry, not sorry.
Posted by Bulldog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 15:27 | Comments (22) | Trackbacks (0)
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Bulldog...I am 75 years old and I really enjoyed your piece about Sorry...Not Sorry. My grandkids know that I have 15 spiral notebooks full of quotes that I deem amusing, pertinent and/or suitable for framing in their minds.They know that I do this for their benefit after I cross the river.They will read and find out what was important to their PawPaw.I copied every word of your essay from the point of ,"I'm content, at this point.......I hope you are pleased that I am letting you know about my desire to thank you for your words....And I do thank you and have given you all the credit ,since I began my writing to them with,"I wish I had written this" and put your nickname at the bottom. Thanks again...EZ$
I'm not sorry Hiroshima happened. My uncle was on a ship going to invade Japan when Hiroshima happened. It is likely that 1 million Americans or more would have died in the invasion. Japan's own estimate much later was that 20 million Japanese would have likely died in the invasion because they were committed to preventing an invasion into their homeland and because they would have committed suicide rather than give up. The "bomb" was certainly terrible for those directly affected but was a miracle for everyone else bring the war to an end with minimal death and suffering.
Another point that is often overlooked is that Russia was preparing to invade Japan from the West and was maybe 3-6 weeks away from that when Japan surrendered. Had Russia invaded it is likely that Japan would have endured a East German like 50 year hell under Russia.
Why is slavery a massive blot on the moral credibility of our nation's history, but not on all the other nations that practiced it?
Perhaps it's better to say "I'm sorry Hiroshima HAD to happen" as opposed to the fact that it did happen.
Which is to say I'm also sorry that any of those massive bombardments had to happen.
I don't think it's wrong to say you're sorry about something like that. I agree that Hiroshima saved more lives than it cost, which is why I never get much value from people who argue that we shouldn't have done it. I consider them ill-informed and unfortunately misguided by their emotions.
But it's fair to say that being sorry hundreds of thousands of people died and suffered horrific radiation poison isn't a bad thing. I'm also sorry so many private people died at Dresden, and at Nazi concentration camps and Soviet gulags, etc. We should always be sorry, in the general sense, for great loss of life.
Thank you. I hope you have many years ahead so you can share those stories personally. I wish I'd been able to do more of that with my grandparents.
It's fair to say all nations which utilized slavery suffer a moral blot on their history.
Ours is especially galling, because we are a nation founded on the concept that all men are created equal, but some were more equal than others.
Admiral Daniel Gallery wrote a number of books after the war, and in one of them he wrote that we didn't have to use the bomb. We had the ships to blockade Japan and starve them out. Starvation would, I suspect, kill off the old and the young and the women, on the assumption that food would be held for the military and able-bodied men who would fight the invasion to come. I find the bombs much less horrifying than mass starvation.
Death is death. I'm not sorry about the means, per se.
That's why, in my comment, I pointed out the Holocause, the gulags, etc.
I'd be just as sorry if we'd starved them out.
Not sorry that we did it. Sorry that it had to happen.
I love military history. I've studied it, I read it. But war costs more than the value gained from it, always. While the 'winner' can point to certain gains, what nobody can ever justify is the massive costs in loss of life, productivity, and potential.
In the past, one king would go to war to take the wealth of another. Winning would 'justify' the choice, because his material wealth, and that of the nation would be 'improved'. That's actually incorrect. He'd be conquering a devastated nation and have to start that from scratch, while his nation suffered reduced productivity (for goods citizens require) as his military took the manpower and productive capacity to assure victory.
The gains in wealth are always more than offset by the loss of productive capacity and manpower.
Recovery is always possible, but it's a classic example of the Broken Window Fallacy - the concept that you can gain wealth by breaking things. You can't.
The consensus among historians is that Japan would have surrendered by the end of November '45 if the air war had continued.
Air war as in burning down Jap cities and causing enormous civilian casualties.
apparently you're either unaware of why Japan surrendered or would have been happy to have the war extended another few months.
protip: Hiroshima or Nagasaki would have been burned out with conventional bombing just like Tokyo and 40 other cities. happy now?
protip2: the Chinese lost an average of 200,000 killed every month of the war. you probably knew that, but what, they're not white enough?
protip3: buy a history book.
"The gains in wealth are always more than offset by the loss of productive capacity and manpower."
not all wars are total wars, most aren't. most wars are fought over trade and most don't leave the other side in ruins.
moreover, if you're some average guy living in France, Belgium, Singapore, Java, Burma, the Netherlands, Poland, the Philippines, China, Indochina, the UK, USA, USSR or Guam when the Axis comes calling, I'd like to hear you explain why fighting wasn't worth the "massive costs in loss of life, productivity, and potential."
I don't normally link to my own site but in this case it seems appropriate. From my traits of the modern man series:
The modern man does not apologize.
Hiroshima is a celebration of American Technology Day.
I didn't say that I'm opposed to all war. WWII was a war that I have a hard time believing anyone would oppose.
Korea, to a lesser extent, was the same.
The economic costs of war should help people understand why diplomatic solutions are almost always preferable, even if - at times - the 'solution' doesn't necessarily seem to benefit you. There are cases, such as Munich, where the diplomatic solution isn't the correct course. Churchill was correct there. You have to gauge those decisions on the basis of the goals of the other side. It was clear what Hitler's goals were. Saying it wasn't just means you weren't paying attention or didn't care.
Wars over trade are useless. Trade isn't one-sided and almost never is. The only time it is would be in a colonial situation, in which one nation utterly denudes the other of its possessions without care. But open trade is about managing expectations and making reasonable bargains. If I buy a car from you for $2000, and I'm aware of its problems, but it's the only car I can afford, I haven't made a bad trade. I made the one I felt was most fitting to my capabilities. We have both come out ahead, at the moment the trade takes place. When the car breaks down, having known its problems when I purchased it, am I to 'go to war' with you over a 'bad trade'? If I do, I should find myself worse off than I was before, funneling my now very scarce resources into a battle which will likely leave me worse off. You, too, will be worse off, funneling resources recently gained into this battle.
There is no 'good' outcome to wars based on economic realities. Most wars, in the past, were fought over economics. It seems most in the future may be, too, though many now seem to be based on reasons which are tribal. Genocides, oppression, etc. Even so, war is not always the best solution, and should be the last one.
Slavery was just economics. In a hit the other guy in the head and take his stuff economy, which used to be the system, it's a win/win to enslave the enemy rather than kill him.
The free market killed slavery. A slave contributes more working in his own interest than he does working as a slave. So it ended.
As a cultural matter, a lot of bogus arguments for slavery than were offered, like racial inferiority and natural slaves, but this was desperation. The economics were against it.
Depending on the nature of the slavery, I think you'd be hard-pressed to say that it was win/win. There are examples where you could say that, but mostly you can't.
The extraction of value was often too great. There are way too many examples of slaves who would probably have preferred to be dead than simply stones from which blood was extracted.
However, your point about it being about inferiority (or rather, not) is a good one. Sparta, in fact most nations in the era, had slaves. It was never an issue of inferiority or race. It was just "well, that's how it is..."
If you were a slave, life just had handed you that set of cards. Deal with it. It, eventually, devolved into requiring a need for justification.
Feudal serfs were nothing more than slaves, really. It was justified by their religious beliefs, on one hand, and the high birth of their lord, on the other. God was 'punishing' them for something they did in life, and it was just unfortunate they weren't winners of the DNA lottery at birth. Deal with it.
It devolved further as the market began to assert itself more. Eventually you needed something people could REALLY sink their teeth into. Africans were just beasts, anyway, they weren't progressing the way we were. So we do them a favor (by the way, let's not forget that many slave traders in Africa were also black - it was a tribal issue for them most of the time).
Over time, here in the Americas, it did become about color and inferiority, simply because you needed a 'reason' to justify it. The free market killed those reasons, but sometimes myths are just hard to shake off.
I just entered the "4th Quarter" and I sometimes remark to an insincere "Sorry" with a query: "Do you feel sorrow?"
I haven't seen talk about slavery being a massive blot on Socialism, and the National and International Socialists enslaved millions in the 20th century.
I always get a kick about asking when slavery was abolished in Europe: 1991.
Slavery was totally against the Founding Fathers beliefs.
Every time this country has really screwed up, it was because we went against the beliefs and values of The Founding Fathers.
Slavery is just one of those times. It was a compromise that allowed the nation to be created, and it was eventually ended at great cost, by people who held the Founding Principals in their hearts.
It saddens me when people use slavery as an excuse to hate this country, when slavery was so contrary to the principles it was founded on.
GWTW, shortly after MacArthur took charge of Japan in September, 1945, the Soviet ambassador approached to inform him that the Soviet Army would soon be occupying Hokkaido. MacArthur informed the ambassador that if a single Soviet soldier set foot on Hokkaido, the entire Soviet delegation in Tokyo would be placed immediately under arrest. The occupation was canceled.
The above is from memory of Edwin Reischauer's book on the history of Japan. I might have gotten a few details wrong.
Not only do few Americans know about this, few Japanese know about it. I recounted this to a 20-something woman one evening after dinner at her home in the late 1980s, while I lived in Sapporo. She found it hard to believe until her father, sitting right there, affirmed it. I speak Japanese.
I assume her history teachers, being members of the teachers' union, which was a staunch supporter of the Japanese Socialist Party, had found that bit of history inconvenient.
Simple! You can bully Americans into giving you free stuff, Slavery is a perfect tool as is being from another culture or third gender. If the intended victim is a "good" person and perhaps a little naive this kind of bullying for fun and profit is great fun. It made Rev Jackson and Al Sharpton quite rich.
The problem for the left (it is always the left doing this isn't it?) when the intended victim of bullying doesn't give a shit. That is why we have "hate crimes" to bring a criminal enforcement threat into the mix. Ever notice that when someone on the left commits a hate crime the crime is disappeared??? But if someone on the right choose to not give a shit to a bullier THAT becomes a hate crime.
Speaking of that Bernie Sander's wife declared that the charges of fraud by her were sexist. I feel confident that it will indeed be only/mostly white men accusing her and trying to investigate her. But oddly (I think it's odd) it seems that it is only white men who seem to be inclined to uphold the law and enforce the law. (Didn't see Obama or AG Lynch enforcing any laws!).
Most slaves were brought to the New World by Europeans not Americans. All or almost all of the slaves of African countries were captured and enslaved be black Africans and sold to Muslim slave traders who in turn sold them to European ship captains who transported then to the new world. Almsot all of the slave trade took place before 1776!!!! The slave trade was similar to todays drug trade; that is mostly by outsiders who worked outside the law and without permission of the government of the U.S. In short slavery was 'foisted' on America and we were left with solving the problem AFTER we became a nation.