The “Americans are a forgiving people” Myth

How many times have you heard this one from a media talking head, “Just come out and say you’re sorry!  That’s all you have to do.  Americans are a very forgiving people.”  Bullcrap!!

How many dummies — add Tiger Woods to the list — have fallen for that line of bull.  Pete Rose — just admit you gambled on baseball!  He did and got crushed.  Recently, Mark McGwire — just admit you did steroids!  He did and got crushed.  What’s that swimmers name who pulled a tube and then admitted it and suddenly he’s the devil incarnate?  It never ceases to amaze me how many public figures think this is a constructive solution to their image problem.

The real solution relies in a slightly different fact.  Americans are not an automatically forgiving people,  BUT… BUT… what we are is an eminently FORGETTING people.  That’s a crucial distinction.

So, if you do something naughty, you will probably be advised to go through the whole “I’m so sorry, I’ve sinned” charade, but then don’t expect the American public to give you 10 hail marys and its over.  Get ready to listen to all the “You’re just sorry you got caught!” backlash and all the other sanctimonious bullshit.  

But once that’s done, THEN you can repair your image by working your ass off to associate yourself with other events that will crowd out the shameful event in the public’s mind.  That’s how you get past a little naughtiness in the United States of America (or anywhere, for that matter).

Case in point, look at Kobe Bryant.  Remember his problem?  Did you have to think about what I was referring to?  I sometimes do.  Why?  Because there’s been so much else that’s defined Kobe since that time.  He went through some rough times, but now it seems like a little incident in the Kobe story.

Of course, if the shameful event is probably your last moment in the public eye… YOU’RE FUCKED!  

That’s why John Edwards can do all the “I’m so sorry’s” he wants, ten years from now when someone says “John Edwards”, if you remember him at all, here’s what you’ll think… “Oh yeah, that creep that was cheating on his wife when she had cancer!”  He can’t escape it the way others have.  Bill Clinton?  Do you even remember Monica Lewinsky?  Yeah, I’m sure you do, but the point is, do you think about her every time Clinton’s name gets mentioned?  Probably not… because he’s done other stuff since then.

So that would be my advice to Woods.  Stop talking about how your addicted to sex (is that even legitimate?).  Its creepy to listen to, and it gets you nowhere. 

I got a better idea.  Go win golf tournaments.  Yeah, some tool in the gallery will always be there to yell out “Meet you at Perkins, Eldrick!”, and the majority of people will always have in the back of their minds that you diddled the pancake girl and you like to get freaky with anatomically enhanced women.  But the point is, it’ll probably be in the BACK of their minds, it won’t be the central image in their head.

That’s the best forgiveness you can hope for in America… forgetfulness!!

PS:  I just saw Charles Barkley on a Taco Bell commercial.  He knows how the game’s played. 

Caveat:  Obviously, I’m talking about acts other than heinous crimes or crimes against children.  Those can never be forgiven, and should never be forgotten for that matter.   I”m talking about victimless acts of moral turpitude.  (remember, Kobe’s accuser dropped the assault charges, so his verified actions basically became acts of moral turpitude).

6 Responses to “The “Americans are a forgiving people” Myth”

  1. TC from Racine Says:

    Honestly, I got sick of hearing about this Tiger thing a while ago. The way a boatload of the media’s been covering it, you wouldn’t think he cheated on his wife, you’d think he killed her in the most gruesome manner imaginable. Granted, that’s an insane number of mistresses, but still. Sounds about right: go back to dominating golf, and slowly, it’ll calm down to where nobody thinks about it. Worked for Martha Stewart.
    On a lighter note, I love that Barkley commercial. Granted, it’s kinda corny, but then most commercials are.

    • tywill33 Says:

      That whole deal was so weird. It was like he was the President. HE’S A FUCKING GOLFER!!! It don’t give a shit what weird proclivities he has. Its not my concern… but obviously a lot of people love hearing about it. We’ve seriously lost our perspective as a society.

  2. Ryan Says:

    Agreed. Another example, just this week I heard for the first time how apparently Eric Clapton went on a racist tirade at a show decades ago. Male cheaters especially can put those issues in the past for the majority. Usually if they’re likeable and charismatic, but if Tiger doesn’t have a ton of that, Kobe didn’t either. But that is our bs gender double standards walking and talking too.

    There’ll always be someone remembering to condescend, but the humility to handle that and take care of your business is just another part of really overcoming the problem you got yourself into in the first place.

    Isn’t that Barkley commercial awful? They sound like they’re stumbling over the whole thing. The look he gives you after walking past the cheerleaders. “You know you’d spend a weekend in a jail tent for that too, if you could”. But I still enjoy it too, and have been eating the box that rocks for breakfast, lunch, supper and fourthmeal.

    • tywill33 Says:

      You’re right. Did you ever notice how CNN jumps all over any “that was a racist/sexist comment” story? God, that’s annoying. But that’s where we are at brother. That’s the kind of shit we find important.

  3. Seattle Bucks Says:

    If they are looking for foregiveness, they should be honest. Nobody believes their apologies because they are not sorry. Why do they need public forgiveness anyway. They didn’t hurt the public.

    Things would blow over a lot quicker if Tiger just said, “I’m sorry I hurt my wife, but I am a good looking guy with a load of cash. She came into the marriage with her eyes wide open. Truth be told, my lastest expliots make you wish you were me even more.” People would buy his TW boxers in droves. Hanes could do a great commercial. Boxers or briefs? Nope. Woods.

    Or, “Of course I did steriods. It put tons of extra money in my pocket and helped me play better. Sorry, but I’d do it all over if I had the chance.”

    Why do we expect these millionaires with gifted skills to act like average joes?

    • tywill33 Says:

      You mean that speech didn’t move you, Seattle Bucks???

      Note to Tiger: If you give a speech don’t pronounce the letter “a” when you read it. It tends to sound overprepared.

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