I’m So Very Sorry (Maybe)


My latest column for BitchBuzz examines the gendering of apology, based on a couple of events you may or may not have heard about unless, like me, you monitor all media like a Bond villain (yes, Kipper helps):

Here’s a study in contrasts: As our own Rebecca Thomson reported, there was a brouhaha about laddish mag Zoo’s agony aunt/actor/footballer-wannabe Danny Dyer’s ‘advice’ to a reader, advising him to cut his ex’s face so no one else will want to date her.

After the Twitter flurry, the mag posted a corporate ‘apology’:

Due to an extremely regrettable production error, an inappropriate and indefensible response to a letter has appeared in this week’s issue.

ZOO editor, Tom Etherington, apologises unreservedly for any offence the response may have caused and has launched an internal enquiry to ensure lessons are learnt.

Zoo and Danny Dyer condemn any violence against women. A donation will be made to Women’s Aid.

Production error, eh? Yeah, no one really believes that, but that’s their story and they’re sticking to it. A little grudging admission of error and token donation and DONE. You can almost hearing them washing their hands of this little annoyance…

As always, read the rest at BBHQ and see how Ellen Degeneres and clubbing baby seals fits into the story. I will finally be able to turn in all my grades today, I think, and be truly free of the semester’s duties (so I can turn to all the things I’ve had to ignore in the last few weeks, sigh). Right now, I’m just waiting around for UPS who have irked me more than necessary this week. Grrr. I was hoping to catch a matinee this afternoon, but I guess it will depend on when the driver gets here.


  1. Todd Mason says:

    Charming. Reminds of the early days of THE WEEKLY WORLD NEWS, which had an "advice" colmun called "Ask Babs" which in one installment, or perhaps several, advocated beating one's children…and, oddly, "Ask Babs" disappeared quietly shortly thereafter (I had friends who were fans of the intentionally obmoxious/insane tabloid at the time, and frequent readers…the occasional flipping through their copies was usually enough for me in those pre-Batboy years–not that it was ever quite up THE ONION even in its late run). I'm hoping they did so pro-actively, rather than in response to someone claiming to have followed the advice, but nonetheless…

  2. Seriously. What bothers me most is that sometimes we *should* apologize, but that is somehow seen not as courtesy, but weakness. It does always amuse me that people are shocked when I don't apologize for things I don't think I should apologize for!

  3. K. A. Laity says:

    And that's where the gendering comes in: is it really so necessary for men to "show no weakness" of any kind? And yes, women apologize too much — I always think of Judith in Ideal whose every other word is "sorry!"Ah, the WEEKLY WORD NEWS! I used to read it all the time in the laundromat. Back in the day, so over the top it was fun. So why would an obviously intentionally INSANE mag have to defend crazy advice? Madness.

  4. Some people (such as Mr. Dyer) delight in being rude, crude and lewd. Someone who "advises" a man to cut up his ex so she will be "undateable" is hardly the one to cast stones. If this isn't mysoginy at its ugliest I don't know what is. I agree with you. Ellen has no reason to apologize to this rear end of a mule. She'd have been better off to "advise' him how to handle himself "and the horse he rode in on".Sorry to rant like this. But I'm just furious at the hypocrisy of both Dyer and Tom Etherington, neither of whom has the cojones to stand up and say: "I was in the wrong. I'm sorry for this indefensible remark".Best of luck with all your projectsto come. Keep rocking.

  5. K. A. Laity says:

    Thanks, Jack — I don't know why other people have trouble seeing the big picture here. It's clear to me.

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