Magazine article The American Conservative

Once More with Feeling

Magazine article The American Conservative

Once More with Feeling

Article excerpt

It has become an American rite, as expected as fireworks on the Fourth, for a public figure caught acting like himself to apologize. Then to apologize again. And perhaps again, each time piling on more abject adjectives. If the mass mood doesn't relent, he'll be hustled off to rehab or on to "Oprah" to discuss the childhood trauma that caused him to behave so out of character (even though he didn't particularly display any in the first place).

We've recently been treated to three ritual humiliations. After Serena Williams berated a line judge at the U.S. Open, she was forced to serve up a variety of apologies. Her penance tour continues. Then came pampered songstress Taylor Swift, who pulled up to the Video Music Awards in a horse-drawn Cinderella coach only to have her magical night eclipsed by Kanye West's ego. Stars rushed to defend the stricken ingenue. President Obama pronounced judgment. A disoriented West wept in primetime and promised to take time off to navel-gaze further.

Then there's the South Carolina congressman who launched a fetching line of "You Lie!" accessories by heckling the president during his speech to a joint session of Congress. …

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