Who’s Sorry Now?


act first apologize laterPaying attention to the tsunami of news lately is exhausting; trying to make sense of the escalating madness involves dancing between skepticism and honest disbelief at what our fellow man is capable of in the pursuit of power, fame, and wealth.

Not all of those who wish to impose their will or image upon us actually care about what we think about them, but those that do tend to live by the adage, “Act first and apologize later.”

The impact of their apologies rests not so much upon what they’ve done, as it’s often a fairly silly infraction, but on the real and/or perceived understanding of the impact of their words or deeds.

pedestals2And many times, the public apology has little to do with the person or persons they’ve actually harmed; if a married celebrity is screwing around on his or her partner, what difference should it make to anyone but the couple involved? Are we so bound up in our perception of celebrities as representing ‘the best of us’ that we forget they are actually just like us, with all our feelings and failings? Do we depend on those we pedestaled to reflect only the beauty of our souls?

Are public apologies becoming their own art form?

In 2009, David Letterman publicly apologized to his wife and “Late Show” staffers for having affairs with female staff members, and revealed that he was the victim of an extortion plot regarding the extramarital flings. He admitted he had done wrong, saying that his wife was deeply hurt by his behaviour, but he hoped to make it up to her.

kobe_bryantLakers star Kobe Bryant was accused of sexually assaulting a female hotel employee in Colorado in 2003. The charge was ultimately dropped (and a separate civil suit was settled out of court,) Bryant made a public apology to the woman, and he bought wife Vanessa, a $4million ring.

Actress Kristen Stewart got caught messing around with her married director, and then said she was really in love with then-boyfriend Robert Pattison. Result? Both the director’s and Kristen’s relationships were finished.

tiger-apologies-webWhen the former Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, finally fessed up about his love child with a long-time staff member, his then-wife of 25 years Maria Shriver filed for divorce. Tiger Woods had a harem of more than a dozen women when he got caught. His marriage was destroyed, and his career has never again reached the same momentum.

And we know all of this because the media told us, and the stars felt they had to apologize to the fans.

“For an individual or a society, that capacity (to apologize) is a sign of life, of vitality, of a soul that can still be moved. There is a wisdom beyond sentimentality in the authentic apology. It has a purpose,” (Charles Krauthammer, Time Magazine, 1983.) We yearn to believe that those who’ve attained fame or fortune on our goodwill and fandom have souls that can still be moved.

i'm the bestThat’s a lot to expect of individuals whose living is made by a fanatical devotion to a talent or ability, or of skillfully pretending to be other people. Or from people who live in a completely different world where they’ve come to believe that what they think is of world-shaking importance, and that they are somehow above the strictures the plebes live under.

We may love swimming in a pool of schadenfreude at the mighty made humble, if only for a fleeting moment. The bigger picture is that what we’re seeing is what happens to anyone when everything we do, say, type, text or sexpic is scrutinized and studied.

The scrutiny ramps up daily under near constant celebrity surveillance; during the week of June 2, 2014 alone, four different stars were pilloried, and scurried to assure the public that it was all just an honest mistake. Pharrell Williams appeared on the cover of Elle magazine wearing a Native American headdress, and immediately responded through his publicist: “I respect and honour every kind of race, background and culture. I am genuinely sorry.”

jonah hillActor Jonah Hill, meanwhile, frustrated by being constantly hounded by paparazzi, was recorded yelling a homophobic slur. Hill apologized while a guest on the Tonight Show, saying that “I said the most hurtful word that I could think of at that moment. I didn’t mean this in the sense of the word. I didn’t mean it in a homophobic way… Words have weight and meaning. The word I chose was grotesque and no one deserves to say or hear words like that…I’m sorry and I don’t deserve or expect your forgiveness, but what I ask is at home, if you’re watching this and you’re a young person especially, if someone says something that hurts you or angers you, use me as an example of what not to do.”

That same week, Liam Payne of One Direction apologized for a video of some of his band mates smoking a joint, and Justin Bieber (more on him later) apologized for being racist … again. Even American Idol’s Chris Daughtry caught fire for declining to sing during a televised D-Day event.

How do you win the Tour de France seven times? Doping! Lance Armstrong’s reputation as a world-class athlete was shattered after he publicly admitted to doping in an interview with Oprah Winfrey.

lance armstrong oprah“I view this situation as one big lie I repeated a lot of times. I made those decisions, they were my mistakes and I’m here to say sorry.” Armstrong also apologized to the staff of the Livestrong Foundation and stepped down as chairman of the organization. He has since been stripped of all his medals.

Update: in January 2015, Armstrong said on a BBC website that if he was faced with the same decisions again as back in 1995, that he would likely dope but would have treated people differently.

paula deen racismAnd then there’s celebrity chef Paula Deen, the target of a lawsuit alleging racial and sexual discrimination. In the time between the filing of the suit and the suit being dismissed, the Food network cancelled her cooking shows, publishing deals, and numerous endorsement contracts. Appearing on the Today show, the teary Georgia native apologized for using the N word, and said, “But that’s just not a word that we use as time has gone on. Things have changed since the 60’s in the south.” 

But for the biggest and best displays of arrogance, bravado, and “sorry, not sorry’ non-apologetic apologies, you really have to look to musicians.

2004 – Nipplegate. Janet Jackson has an infamous wardrobe malfunction while dueting with Justin Timberlake at the MTV produced Super Bowl halftime. CBS and MTV’s parent company Viacom essentially blacklist her, keeping her music videnipplegateos off their properties MTV, VH1, and radio stations. Eventually the blacklist spreads to include non-Viacom media entities as well. Partially acting upon that ban, a young software programmer at PayPal named Jawed Karim and some of his friends create a venue where people can easily upload and share video, and YouTube is born in 2005.

Timberlake’s response to the controversy: “Listen, I know it’s been a rough week on everybody. What occurred was unintentional and completely regrettable, and I apologize if you guys were offended.”

As Taylor Swift accepted her 2009 MTV Video Music Award, Kanye West leaped on to the stage, grabbed the mic from her and said, “Yo, Taylor, I’m really happy for you, I’ma let you finish, but Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time! One of the best videos of all time!”

He’s publicly apologized several times since, to the singer, her mother, and her fans, and then apologized twice more on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, saying “I’m not crazy y’all, I’m just real. Sorry for that!!! I really feel bad for Taylor and I’m sincerely sorry!!! Much respect!!!”

John Mayer’s 2010 interview in Playboy Magazine was ripe for commentary, as the arrogant sod shot off his mouth about his penis, Jessica Simpson and black women. He’s since plastered social media with mea culpae, and even apologized onstage to his band for being such a naughty fellow.

madonna twitsMadonna (who?) started 2014 by instagraming a photo of 13 year old son Rocco holding a gin bottle while vacationing in the Swiss Alps. The drinking age in Switzerland is 16. This was shortly after she’d posted a pic of Rocco boxing, with the message, “No one messes with Dirty Soap! Mama said knock you out!” along with the hashtag “#disni–a.”

As the story spread through the internet, she upped the ante by posting, “Ok let me start this again. #get off of my d–k haters!”

Finally the meds must have kicked in. She deleted the photo as the comments rolled in, and daintily said, “I am sorry if I offended anyone with my use of the N-word on Instagram, It was not meant as a racial slur…I am not a racist.”

And now .. for the most non-apologies by a musician … drum roll please .. the winner is … Justin Beiber!

bieber roastCanadians are famous for saying “I’m sorry,” and Bieber, at just 21, and rumoured to be worth $200 million USD, wants to take that to the tippy top. He begged Comedy Central to ‘roast’ him for years, and a roast he did get. There was no lack of material, even though most of the events that need to be atoned for happened in just the last two years.

I don’t want to be accused of picking on the kid. So I’ll just do one paragraph about some of his adventures in 2013 and 2014.

He’s been arrested numerous times, and in numerous places; he’s been videoed peeing in a nightclub’s mop bucket; he attacked an L.A. photographer trying to snap then girlfriend Selena Gomez’s pic; he stormed through at least one airport with his shirt off despite freezing temperatures; he abandoned his pet monkey Molly in Germany; was arrested in Miami accused of road racing and driving under the influence of alcohol, marijuana and prescription drugs; he angered British fans by turning up onstage almost two hours late; he suggested in a guestbook at the Anne Frank Museum that the Holocaust victim might have been “a Belieber“; he’s been flamed over illegal grafbieber harperfiti in Brazil, and was called to clean up more graffiti from a hotel wall in Australia; he disrespected the Argentine flag after he used a microphone to mop the floor with it during a concert in Buenos Aires; he allegedly egged his neighbour’s house in Los Angeles, causing extensive damage and almost injuring a 13-year-old girl; a police search of his home led to a member of his entourage being arrested for alleged cocaine possession; he nearly got himself beat up by Orlando Bloom, of all people; he posed for a Calvin Klein ad that some say has been mightily photoshopped; an infamous Scottsdale spewing became known as “Heave It To Bieber“; he was videoed spraying cleaning fluid onto a picture of former president Bill Clinton while saying “F–k Bill Clinton,”; ( he later spoke to the former U.S. president and apologized for his actions,) he met Prime Minister Stephen Harper wearing dirty farmer john jeans and a wife beater; he angered Chicago Blackhawks fans after both standing on the team’s logo in the Blackhawks locker room and getting a little too cozy with the Stanley Cup for their taste while posing for pics with the NHL‘s highest honor; at the last Grey Cup, Canadians soundly booed his image on the Jumbotron. I may have missed a few other incidents, but then, I’m not in his demographic.

bieber sorryBut – he’s posted so many videos telling us how sorry he is! And he looks so sombre and serious! “I think I was nervous because I was afraid of what people are thinking about me … I didn’t want to come off arrogant or conceited, basically how I’ve been acting the past year and a half. I’m not who I was pretending to be.”

I think this is the tenth or fiftieth time he’s said this, so it must be true! His latest video is even called “Sorry!”

But here’s the thing – apart from his enormous fan following of rabid teens, likely more titillated than shocked, no one has really been affected by the Beeb’s theatrics except himself. Some Canadians have certainly been embarrassed – check the Urban Dictionary for Justin Bieber. “7. National disgrace to Canada “ – but we lived through Rob Ford, we can live thru Bieber.

There are times when we need our public figures to own up to their faults, and publicly apologize for actions that were wrong or cruel; times when whole groups of people can be gently shown that it is neither right nor ‘cool’ to slur others beliefs, genders or colour.

And there are other times when apologies are little more than words designed to keep the public’s attention, just lip service, with no indication that the immaturity, selfishness or bigotry has actually been acknowledged as wrong, or that the individual has any real intention of changing his or her behaviour.

trust-quotes-john-harold-623

(edited copy, originally published  2015/02/08, DBAWIS)

Survivor : Worlds Apart – March 26, 2015 – Be Careful What You Wish For


Previously on, Survivor: After a surprise switch, Kelly was the only Blue Collar that landed up on the unimpressive new Red /Nagarote tribe with Will, Hali, Jenn, Carolyn, Max, and Shirin. The rest of the Blue Collars enjoyed a 4/3 advantage in their new Blue/Escameca tribe of Dan, Sierra, Mike, Rodney, Tyler, Joaquin and Joe. Sierra was not happy to be the only woman on the uber male team, as she disliked her former tribe mates. She hoped to connect with the three males of the former No Collar tribe.

Survivor WA MaxMax won the battle for most annoying tribe member, and became the 5th person voted out of Survivor: Worlds Apart. 13 are left – who will be voted out tonight?

Shirin is devastated to have lost Max, her closest friend and confidante. She had spent all of her time with Max, until the new players arrived on the team, and now, her efforts to woo the newbies to their side has angered her past team members. No one wants to play with her, she pouts. “Is there something wrong with me?” Shirin tells us about growing up in a rich, Orange County suburb amongst kids that were white and prettier than she. She’s going to have to do now, what she did then; deal with it, adapt, fix it.

On the Escameca beach, Rodney’s looking for a new BFF. He’s sick of Dan’s stories, and even Mike, who had been his bestie last week, has been found wanting this week for not being a big enough partier. Mike goes to church on Sunday, doesn’t drink, and doesn’t have sex. So Rodney decides to start a bromance with Joaquin. Joaquin’s good with that.

Survivor WA joaquin and rodneyWith a new bestie and ally, Rodney feels like he’s king of the world. “All the fools out there who think I’m dumb and ‘oh, he talks like an idiot’—wait till you see what I have planned for this game.”

The players greet Jeff Probst at the Reward Challenge site. This week, the teams will race up a giant tower and through a series of obstacles. At the top, they will launch sand bags, one at a time, at targets out in the field. First team to hit all six targets wins reward – a trip to a turtle sanctuary, where they’ll watch turtles migrating from the sea, back to the beach where they were born, to lay their eggs deep beneath the sand. While watching, they’ll feast on beef stew, mac & cheese, and hot chocolate. Survivors ready?

Both teams race through the beginning of the trial, but things get tense when Escameca takes a 4-2 lead. Determined to win, the Nagarote players dig deep, rally, and win the challenge!

Shirin hopes that their win and reward will help her to find a way to bond with the other players. Everyone else is just excited about eating real food with real utensils! After their feast, they take flashlights to the beach where the migration of the giant turtles occurs. Out of 120 eggs lain, only one will survive. Jenn is excited by the sight and the lesson. “It made me realize that a turtle’s chances in life are way worse than me winning Survivor. I do have a 1 in 14 chance of winning as opposed to a 1 in 100 chance of living. So that’s cool.”

When Joe, Dan and Mike head off to Escameca’s beach to fish, Joaquin approaches Sierra about forming an alliance with himself, Tyler and Rodney. She’s interested, but doesn’t trust Rodney. But if she has to work with Rodney to work with Joaquin, then so be it.

survivor WA RodneyRodney now thinks he’s got the game under his control … he can already taste the win. His first move will be for the tribe to throw the Immunity Challenge, so that they can vote Joe off the island.

Rodney sells this plan to Mike, who doesn’t think it’s a great idea; historically, throwing a challenge always backfires. But he doesn’t care about the current tribe, as his real alliance is with Kelly and some other players on the other tribe. If his team throws a few challenges, Kelly’s odds of being safe on the other side increase.

So, everyone troops off to the Immunity Challenge, which is a memory tester. There are a series of items in a specific order that two opposing players need to memorize. Once they have, they pull a lever to drop a curtain on the items, and then race back to put them in the right order before their opponent to score a point. First team to three points wins immunity, and the Immunity Idol, which to me looks like a rather dissolute Mr. Peanut ™. Survivor WA Mr Peanut

First up is Rodney vs Caroline. Caroline wins easily, especially as Rodney is a bad actor, who makes little effort in pretending to score the point. Hali wins the next point for Nagarote as well. The game continues, with Escameca coming back, bringing the score to 2/2, with Mike vs Kelly as the potential tie breaking bout.

Kelly is first to close the curtain, but Mike lingers, staring at the closed curtain. But Kelly can’t remember the order of the items. Mike purposely puts his items incorrectly, and they both have to go look at another set of items. Mike whispers to Kelly, “listen to me, I’m giving it to you. Listen to what I say.” He then proceeds to name all of the items, before they race back to solve the test.

Despite Mike continuing to give the order of the items aloud, Kelly again gets the order wrong. So it’s back to the curtain for a last try, this time with just five items. This time Mike tells Kelly, “I will call out the order, but I will switch the bottles.” The only way Mike could be any more helpful would be for him to actually place her items correctly by himself. And so this time, Kelly wins and Nagarote is safe from the night’s Tribal Council.

Once Kelly realizes that Mike threw the challenge, she’s surprised, but feels she can really trust him. She can’t wait to get back to her Blue Collar tribe, where she feels she belongs.Survivor WA mike

Mike, on the other hand, feels like, “a little something inside of me died today.” And he’s beginning to see Joaquin as a bad influence on Rodney. Rodney, meanwhile, is confident that he has everyone in his pocket – they’ll be voting Joe out that very night.

Mike lets Joe know that Tyler and Joaquin are gunning for him. Joe tried to reach out to them, but neither was interested. If Joe, Mike and Dan want to be safe, they’ve got to get Sierra on their side. The problem is, Sierra is still angry at Dan for being rude to her after Lindsey’s blindside.

But Dan’s willing to grovel if that’s what it takes to get rid of Joaquin. Sierra, as the swing vote, is now being wooed by both sides, unsure of whom to trust, but aware that she’s protected no matter how she votes.

Survivor WA tribal councilAt Tribal Council, Jeff wastes no time laying out where the tribe stands since the switch up. They have 4 Blue Collars, 2 White Collars, and one No Collar trying to work together. He asks Joe how the Blue Collars acted when they returned to the camp. Joe notes that they seemed one big happy family – on the surface. But that hid certain cracks in the group – dysfunctions, as Dan mentions. Tyler says they noticed a lot of bad blood and animosity, most of which revolved around Sierra.

Sierra agrees, adding that she was accused of being bad at challenges and around camp. She felt picked on, and Mike was the only person who stepped in and told the others to leave her alone. She’s felt more appreciated by the three new camp mates (Joe, Tyler and Joaquin) in three days than in the first days she shared with her Blue Collar mates (Mike, Rodney and Dan.)

With those cards on table, Rodney still can’t see the split in the tribe. He’s confident that everyone is behind him, and that he’s in a great position. Joe says that things may be changing, but as far as he knows, he’s on the very bottom of the structure, with no allies.

Jeff notes that the decision made tonight could be a very big one. And now, it’s time to vote. Jeff reads out the names – three votes each for both Joe and Joaquin. The deciding vote is for Joaquin, who becomes the 6th person voted out of Survivor: Worlds Apart.

Although Joaquin was the one blindsided, Rodney looks as though he’s just found a half worm in his apple. He’s furious! If this was a movie, he’d turn into the Hulk™ or Godzilla™ and destroy a city.

Jeff tells the others, “Your success in this game depends on your ability to exploit or repair those cracks day by day. “

Survivor WA JoaquinJoaquin’s exit interview: “I didn’t see it coming, you know, totally got blindsided by the four, I don’t know who. I have a good guess. I’m sure, you know, Mike was obsessed with Sierra, and I was getting too close to Sierra, I was getting too close with Rodney. They were feeling like I was pulling their tribe away from them, and they were like, you know, let’s get this guy outta here. But this is my fate, and I’m gonna take it, with a smile on my face.”

Next time on, Survivor: Rodney feels betrayed by his Blue Collar family. “The people who did me wrong today are gonna pay for that ^*^%.” But in Survivor, there’s always time for revenge. The tribes merge, which prompts Rodney to decide, “I felt extremely disrespected by this group, so – me and numbers are donezo.”

My take on this episode: Throwing a challenge is bad game strategy. Has it ever actually worked in Survivor gameplay? Kudos to Mike for realizing that he’d crossed a line when he agreed to go against his own morals.

Survivor WA JoeWhy is Joe always being targeted by his tribes? Is it his hair, his laid back attitude, his athleticism, his great smile, his team spirit? Agreed, all of these things make him a threat, but also a great person to work alongside until closer to the end of the game. For the last several seasons, the players seem to always be working the last part of the game before they’ve understood where they are in the beginning and middle.

With the merge next week, everything may change. I think that smaller alliances will spring up, working together when necessary, but ultimately dividing the tribe further. Rodney may find himself targeted from several sides. Shirin and Tyler need to make themselves more visible with the tribe to stay in the game.

Can Survivor Cure Cabin Fever? I’ll Ask the Cat


man freezingI’ll admit it – the frigid weather in Toronto is making me a crazy person. We’re having record low temperatures, my cats are in complete (and loud) cabin fever mode, and I haven’t left the house in days. For the first time since childhood, I’m even wearing a winter hat. Sometimes even indoors. This is serious cold.

dandelion smilySpring can’t come soon enough. I need to smell fresh air, and see green grass emerge from under the carpet of snow. I’m even looking forward to dandelions in the lawn. I just need a change of season!

There’s another reason I look forward to spring – the tv networks like to toss us a few new bones to chew on. Since April 2011, I’ve been doing recaps of television comedies, dramas and reality shows for an entertainment site called Starpulse. I’d trade off the unpaid writing as a way to legitimize my television viewing, and it has worked for us so far.

survivor borneoI’ve watched Survivor since the first episode, 15 years and 30 seasons ago. This year marks my ninth season of recapping Survivor episodes. What started as an exercise has become an obsession, it seems. I enjoy the show, and have many friends who do as well, so you might call it my ‘water cooler’ job; I get to chat about some of the sillier aspects, and sympathize with viewers when fan favorites are voted off the island.

A lot of people have nothing but disdain for reality television, and I’d agree that some networks manipulate the course of some series. But we love our scripted and unscripted dramadies.

reality show auditionsMany desperately want to be on a reality series. In our increasingly televised lives, there have been many ordinary people elevated to fame through constant television exposure. Some have done very well; others have crashed and burned.

renovate your wardrobe me and farley(I was on a reality show years ago called “Renovate Your Wardrobe.” It was a lot of fun. But alas, the public didn’t glom on to my smiling face. I got a renovated bedroom, closet, and some new clothing. Would do it again in a heartbeat!)

I’ve never enjoyed the ‘talent shows’ that feature wannabe musicians, dancers, and entertainers of all sorts, but I love the fact that those platforms are available for those who want them. Bless ‘em all for giving it all they’ve got.

sweeping-beach-pulau-tigaMe, I like Survivor, and shows of that ilk. And I am desperate to be somewhere hot and sunny, by a salty sea, even if only in my dreams.

Since I’m down a quart of blog for the week, here’s a link to today’s recap of Survivor: Worlds Apart, Spring 2015. Enjoy!

survivor worlds apart 2015

http://www.starpulse.com/news/Roxanne_Tellier/2015/02/26/survivor-worlds-apart-and-so-it-begin