Hush your apologies, you lame celebrity
Last week, Madonna earned the ire of florists everywhere when she revealed her contempt for hydrangeas.
After receiving a bunch of the popular flowers from a fan at a press conference, cameras caught the Material Girl chucking them aside and whispering: “I loathe hydrangeas”.
Pre-empting the inevitable online rage, Madonna uploaded a video “apology”, which saw her gently caressing a forlorn arrangement of the purple flowers.
“You have no idea how many nights I have lost thinking how I hurt you,” the video begins.
She goes on to say how “words cannot express” her sorrow and that her “heart is going to burst with sadness”, before hurling the flowers to the floor, crushing them under her boots and declaring her enduring hatred of all things hydrangea.
It is refreshingly brilliant. Madonna not only acknowledges that she has no obligation to offer a public apology for her opinions – she recognises that they simply aren’t important enough to warrant one.
Why do so many of us stamp our feet and demand celebrities mime dry, publicist-driven apologies? I, for one, would much rather they keep quiet. The one (and only) admirable thing Charlie Sheen ever did during his recent episode was refuse to apologise for his very public meltdown.
Why do we expect public figures to grovel at our digital feet after every annoying thing they do? In doing so, we elevate their opinions above our own.
I would love to make Justin Bieber apologise for ruining the internet or Kyle Sandilands show remorse for the never-ending stream of screechy syllables that crawl from his lips - but they wouldn’t really be sorry and it wouldn’t make any difference.
A papier mache apology has no value to anyone. We also tend to forget that an apology demands forgiveness, lest we are seen to be as ill-mannered and intolerable as the cretin whose actions originally had us calling for blood.
When we force others to make false utterances, we force ourselves to falsely accept them.
The word “sorry”, once powerful and rare, has become a retractable prop sword on which the famous fall when convenience beckons. This is not to say that there aren’t situations where it’s appropriate. Obviously, I’m not referring to the Mel Gibsons and Tracy Morgans of the world. I’m talking about the realm of the trivial, where that sacred word should never enter discussion.
I’m talking about the angry geeks who crucify George Lucas whenever he tampers with his own creation, the football fans who demand scalps for slurs by rival codes or the Twitter users who attack celebrities who do not express the same level of enthusiasm for cycling events or tennis matches that they do.
Why should some spoilt 53-year-old have to offer up an empty sorry for tossing aside a bunch of flowers? Madonna’s brat-like grimace didn’t trigger a devastating Hydrangea riot. At most, it offended a bunch of flower nerds.
Our belief that others should beg for forgiveness simply because they don’t like the same things that we do is the height of narcissism. It also implies that the personal preferences of a bunch of ageing pop stars and Hollywood D-listers are somehow important.
I’ll take their silence over an apology any day.
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