How sad!
February 16, 2002 9:44 AM   Subscribe

How sad! DALLAS--From the Bart Simpson "I didn't do it" school of how to avoid taking personal responsibility, we have what could be the start of a trend. Real men, enveloped in scandal and accused of wrongdoing, don't admit mistakes. They don't apologize. They simply express sadness.
Ken Lay
In Dallas, it was the DA's office that pursued convictions--and did so for four months after learning that the drugs were fake.
posted by onegoodmove (10 comments total)

 
This has been all over the Dallas news the last few weeks. On top of the sheetrock being passed out as cocaine, one of their beloved informants is also an illegal immigrant. Dallas PD really screwed this one up, and the article is right. Not one person from the DA's office is admitting to any wrongdoing. There is just alot of fingerpointing going on.

It's funny that with the mayoral run off election going on today, both canidates as staying clear of this issue. Neither Miller or Dunning want to deal with this situation. *sigh*
posted by Benway at 9:57 AM on February 16, 2002


Anybody remember when the U.S. sub near Hawaii popped up right under a Japanese vessel, sinking it and killing nine people in the process? The Japanese were upset that it happened, certainly, but they were doubly incensed that nobody would apologize for it. Although an apology was finally issued, most immediate official statements were expressions of sadness.

I think there is a cultural problem here. We Americans, and many Westerners, tend to feel (and Navarrette points out, albeit unwittingly, I think) that saying "I'm sorry" is equitable with taking responsibility, i.e. apology means guilt. Contrast this with Japan (and other Asian cultures, too, I suspect, but I only have first-hand knowledge of Japan), where people apologize even when something is clearly an unavoidable accident. It's about having a willingness to understand how someone other than yourself might be made to feel when something bad happens. It's also about ensuring that you are not seen by others as being an unfeeling brute. It has nothing to do with your responsibility, or lack thereof.

Navarrette is right that saying "I feel sorrow" doesn't cut it, but I'm not sure even he clearly understands why that is.
posted by Bixby23 at 1:41 PM on February 16, 2002


" ... It's about having a willingness to understand how someone other than yourself might be made to feel when something bad happens. It's also about ensuring that you are not seen by others as being an unfeeling brute. It has nothing to do with your responsibility, or lack thereof.

Navarrette is right that saying "I feel sorrow" doesn't cut it, but I'm not sure even he clearly understands why that is..."


Probably need to import the entire Japanese culture that such behavior sits within if you wish to recommend their common response. In Japan to apologize or to take responsibility is considered the noble - indeed, even expected thing to do. You should point out, however, that Japan is also not nearly as litiguous as the US is. America is also considerably more disposed towards forming spontaneous lynch mobs. In Japan, Ken Lay saying "I apologize, and accept full responsibility for the actions of the firm" would be understood as you mention - the same statement in the US, however, would not only not be the right thing to do, not be considered "noble", but would likely result it several thousand civil suits being filed the following day.

In a country where a woman can win millions of dollars from a company for spilling coffee on herself, it is not exactly a bad idea to be somewhat tight lipped about apologies.
posted by MidasMulligan at 4:00 PM on February 16, 2002


I'm saddened that you were misinformed.
posted by dglynn at 7:33 PM on February 16, 2002


Zing!
posted by y2karl at 4:35 AM on February 17, 2002


dglynn you may have hurt MidasMulligan's feelings perhaps you should apologize. :)
posted by onegoodmove at 12:53 PM on February 17, 2002


I don't really even care if Ken Lay or the Dallas DA apologize. If they thought it would help their image and they could avoid it being used against them in court I'm sure they would apologize. But saying it and meaning it are different. White collar corruption should land these people in prison.
posted by chrismc at 1:42 PM on February 17, 2002


dglynn:

atlanet.org (American Trial Lawyers' Association website)? Not really an unbiased source for information on tort suits, would you say? The site you linked is one of the least subtle examples of propaganda I have come across on the net.
posted by syzygy at 7:48 AM on February 18, 2002


Do you have another source for the facts of that case then?
posted by chrismc at 9:49 AM on February 18, 2002


syzygy: The claim of Midas' that is refuted by dglynn's link is the amount of punitive damages awarded. It was millions, but was changed later. I don't think a biased news source would go so far as to change easily aquired figures for their own purposes.

I had a friend who hit someone with her car. Her lawyer wouldn't let her send flowers or a card to the hospital because it would be an "admission of guilt".
posted by ODiV at 9:15 PM on February 18, 2002


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