That thing I have about non-apologies..?

13 Aug

Yesterday I apologized to Sunita for my poorly worded response to a comment in her blog.

I didn’t mean to offend, but my words did cause offense, and so I apologized. Was the apology necessary, once I explained myself a bit better?

Yes, it was.

Because we shouldn’t only apologize for what we mean to say or do.

We should apologize for the harm we cause when we are thoughtless and rash.

And we should never, never, do the asshole “well, it’s not my fault you took offense” thing.

Like, say, Bethany House, publisher of For Such A Time (background through this post)

I’m using an Internet Archive link, because I refuse to give the company any more hits, but here’s a screencap:

Bethany House in support of KB-For Such A Time

Let me quote the very first line:

Bethany House Publisher is saddened by the offense some have taken at the novel…


Have taken.

Way to blame the victim, Mr Parrish.

Look, it’s all fine and dandy for a publisher to publicly support one of their authors, but seriously?

As far as I can tell, every Jewish person who has been made aware of the content of the book, as well as plenty of people of other faiths, some who have been/are marginalized and discriminated against themselves (in reality, not in right wing fundie style), are offended by the trivialization of genocide, the mischaracterization of historical fact, the appropriation of a religious figure, the hand waving at the suffering and deaths of millions of human beings.

Several have gone to great pains to civilly explain exactly why this novel is offensive to them and their own faith.

This is not “some people taking offense,” this is a novel being offensive to large groups of people.

How fucking hard is that to understand?

Edited to add: Jackie Barbosa and a number of people who courageously read the book through, react to the publisher’s mealymouthed statement.

Further edited to add: from India Valentin, on twitter, how the ‘good (Nazi) German’ is excused from crimes against humanity.

4 Responses to “That thing I have about non-apologies..?”

  1. pooks 13/08/2015 at 10:01 AM #

    Tweeted. Couldn’t tag you because I couldn’t find your twitter handle.

    • azteclady 13/08/2015 at 10:07 AM #

      Oh, sorry ’bout that–there’s no twitter handle, as I don’t tweet.

      Thanks for the linkage, though!

  2. Bona 15/08/2015 at 9:30 AM #

    A very difficult issue, and very tricky. I’m not sure I would have apologized.
    This sentence of yours is very thought-provoking –This is not “some people taking offense,” this is a novel being offensive to large groups of people..
    Although I’ve got a clear idea of the many things that are completely and utterly wrong about this book -I’ve been following the different posts about it-, I have my doubts about the reaction itself after Sarah Wendell’s letter to RWA. All this talking could produce a kind of Streisand effect, giving the book more publicity than it deserves.

    • azteclady 15/08/2015 at 9:53 AM #

      It has had that effect, no doubt–and some people argue that it’s producing more sales. Perhaps some of the people who are now aware of it are purchasing copies, though I sincerely doubt it myself.

      Since it is available in many libraries, many of the people who must read it for themselves (dog forbid they take anyone else’s word for the content) will borrow it. Many who have purchased it to read, have returned it too.

      As far as publicity per se, I think this is a very important conversation to have. I don’t know how it is in Spain, but I know that the strength and the extremism of some (perhaps most) of the religious fundamentalism in the US is scary.

      Think of people like Fred Phelps, of the Westboro Baptist Church and his “God Hates Gays” rallies at funerals.

      This all starts with people who think there is absolutely nothing wrong with a book that ‘redeems’ a man who is directly responsible for killing dozens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people.

      So long as those ‘people’ are not their type of Christian, they are not fully human, see? So mostly, those ‘people’ brought it down on themselves.

      Some of the target audience for Bethany House and publishers like them may not actually be as rabid as all that–yet.

      And perhaps having this conversation, explaining the actual history behind that badly written fairy tale, may make them question things a bit, think for themselves, and walk a bit from the extreme end of those religious beliefs.

      If nothing else, these conversations may make the oblivious majority aware of both the pervasive antisemitism we foster by not knowing or caring, and of the most insidious extremism among us.

      Either way, knowing is always better.

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