Im sorry, I Wont Apologize
Almost daily, news reports include accounts of public figures or heads of companies being forced to say theyre sorry. In a recent case, Marge Schott, managing partner of the Cincinnati Reds, at first did not want to apologize for her remark that Hitler was good at the beginning but he just went too far. Under pressure, she finally said that she regretted her remarks offended many people. Predictably- and especially given her history with such comments-many were not satisfied with this response and successfully lobbied for her resignation.
This particular use of m sorry has a familiar ring. The other day my husband said to me, m sorry I hurt your feelings. I knew he was really trying. He has learned, through our years together, that apologies are important to me. But he was grinning, because he also knew that m sorry I hurt your feelings left open the possibility-indeed, strongly suggested-that he regretted not what he did but my emotional reaction. It sometimes seems that he thinks the earth will open up and swallow him if he admits fault.
It may appear that insisting someone admit fault is like wanting him to humiliate himself. But I dont see it that way, since its no big deal for me to say I made a mistake and apologize. The problem is that it becomes a big deal when he wont.
This turns out to be similar to the Japanese view. Following a fender bender, according to a Times article, the Japanese typically get out of their cars and bow, each claiming responsibility. In contrast, Americans are instructed by their insurance companies to avoid admitting fault. When an American living in Japan did just that-even though he knew he was to blame-the Japanese driver was so incensed by the Americans failure to show contrition that he took the highly unusual step of suing him.
The Japanese driver and I are not the only ones who are offended when someone obviously at fault doesnt just fess up and apologize. A woman who lives in the country told me of a similar reaction. One day she gave her husband something to mail when he went into town. She stressed that it was essential the letter be mailed that day, and he assured her it would. But the next day, when they left the house together, she found her unmailed letter in the car. He said, Oh, I forgot to mail your letter. She was furious-not because he had forgotten, but because he didnt apologize.
1. What was Marge Schott forced to do?
A) To make a prediction of the future.
B) To say Hitler was good at the beginning.
C) To saym sorry.
D) To count figures.
2. The author felt
A) her husband regretted the choice he had made.
B) Her husband regretted what he did.
C) Her husband regretted her emotional response.
D) Her husband regretted the dirty words he had used.
3.According to the author, when one makes a mistake, he should
A) admit it and apologize.
B) Avoid admitting it.
C) Explain it away.
D) Make every effort to maintain his face.
4.According to the passage, what would Japanese drivers usually do after a car accident?
A) They would admit their own faults.
B) They would blame each other.
C) They would avoid admitting faults
D) They would sue each other.
5.What was the woman angry about?
A) Her husbands failure to apologize.
B) Her husbands failure to mail the letter.
C) Her husbands failure to go into town.
D) Her husbands failure to leave the house together with her.
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