The sorry industry

By Toby Manhire In The Internaut

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Apology inflation is out of control. It seems hardly an hour goes by without someone demanding an apology, and someone else spitting out a forked apology “for any offence caused”.

After all, who wouldn’t feel sorry for people feeling hurt? Ian Martin, a writer and swearing specialist for The Thick of It, finds his blood boiling at all this sorry (sorry) state of affairs.

He writes in the Guardian:

Does anyone ever apologise these days for being bang out of order? It’s now all about collateral damage limitation – “sorry if I caused offence”.

Martin blames Twitter.

Not just for this. For everything. But especially for this. Twitter is an international stock exchange for the trading of grievances, and apology is its bitcoin. And any currency can become massively devalued.

With its “round-the-clock huff and chaff”, Twitter is an outrage machine, generating easy material for resource-starved news operations.

Newspapers had to slash their budgets yet expand their internet operations; had to spend less on journalism yet serve a jaded audience demanding drizzling news 24 hours a day. Twitter’s echoing torture chamber is the perfect solution. Just get people trawling keywords, locate some potential umbrage and that’s a story. Suddenly “pressure is growing” for X to apologise for Y, backed up by a single spluttering tweet from some busybollocks called @twirlyshirl who’s got an animated loop of baby pandas on a slide as her avatar.


See also: Aaron Gilmore and the non-apology apology.

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