The apology has become the defining gesture of the age. Russell Brand had to apologise for making off-colour remarks. Jeremy Clarkson – a man who would eat his own testicles rather than petition for an apology, even though he'd have to remove them from his own personal brain where they've been living for all these years – had to apologise for making a startlingly fine joke about lorry drivers, and, subsequently for calling Gordon Brown a "one-eyed Scottish idiot" at a press conference in Australia. His calling Gordon Brown a "one-eyed Scottish idiot" would probably have escaped much attention had it not been for the BBC – powerfully complicit in driving the Apology Culture – publishing on its website a video of Clarkson calling Gordon Brown a "one-eyed Scottish idiot" accompanied by a story saying that Clarkson's calling Gordon Brown a "one-eyed Scottish idiot" had "provoked anger in Scotland".
We might find some comfort across the Atlantic, where the Apology Culture has become even tackier and more insane than here. President Obama apologised for the sins of his cabinet appointees, on five different TV networks in seven different ways. This wasn't for something he had done. It wasn't for something other people had done who had falsely got into positions of power. Obama was apologising for something two other people had done who hadn't got into positions of power because what they'd done had been found out. So what (we might ask) was President Obama actually apologising for?
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