So you probably needed to be under a rock in the centre of the rainforest to not have caught a listen to the Christian Bale tirade of abuse hurled at a member of the film set during filiming for the new Terminator film…

The anti-swearing brigade in the UK must have had a few spontaneous combustions when they heard it!

Anyway, Christian has since gone on record, admitted he was having a very bad day, and apologised for the entire thing… We all have bad days, don’t we?

That is not really my topic matter for today, it is the notion that so many other people simply see apologising publicly in a way that seems to have come from their PR agent as the acceptable thing to do… Does it wash? Why is it that apologising seems to have such a hypnotic impact on those who hear it?

Let me delve a little deeper into this…

There seems to be an underlying sense, that if the person apologises publicly, then this will innoculate spociety… Oh yes, if they apologise, kids will not follow along!

So, any young, adoring fans watching the episode with 14 gold medal winner Michael Phelps, subsequently saying that he will never (again) smoke marijuana. They’ll now never do that.

Any young fans of Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross are now saved from ever needlessly making unpolitically correct jokes. 

Young people are certain to have taken on board the massive lessons learned by how much Alex Rodriguez, baseball’s highest-paid player, regrets using steroids on his way to becoming the all-time major league home run king in the US.

As of today, this very week actually… What about the example of teen idol Chris Brown’s alleged assault on his girlfriend, pop star Rihanna, will that discourage other young men from such behaviour?

I’ve heard and read claims made for all of the examples I have cited above…  Especially once the individual goes on record apologising… Oh yes, he says he won’t do it again, and warns others against doing what he did… Graciously protecting society against the same moment of publicly less acceptable behaviour…

Pretty soon, there not going to be any youngsters — or professional athletes or entertainment figures — that will ever misbehave again! What will the tabloids do for material?

Well, that’s one way things might go. Or others may simply ignore these various stars’ examples and do whatever they were destined to do anyhow. Or, I guess, a third possibility is that these highly visible examples will prompt imitation on the proposition that if sports and entertainment stars do something, then it can’t be so bad — maybe it’s even good!

Why the need for the big apology? WHy is it expected? Who expects it? Does anyone demand it? Why not put them on the wrack for a few hours? Or get them in the stocks and throw rotten vegetables at them instead?

Why is apologising such a hypnotic way to communicate? It seems to bypass the crticial faculty of such a large portion of the world, doesn’t it?

Just this week, Charles Snow, writing in the Times, expressed some optimism about the possible good effects of Chris Brown’s arrest for beating his girlfriend.

Since “it happened just days after Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Week had ended. . . ., perhaps it will . . . refocus. . . attention on the problem.”

Whilst admiring the optimism, I suspect the sponsors of Teen Dating Violence Week hoped that teen violence (Brown is 19 years old after all) would decline somewhat during the week following their well-intended campaign, no?

Of course, I suspect, and you might also suspect that Brown was caught up in his own reality, his own thought processes, his own behavioural influences during the altercation, and was not paying too much attention to public education programmes.

But you see, Chris Brown has not done the rounds of publicly apologising yet, has he? Uh-oh Chris… You may have missed the boat with this one, especially when we see that Wrigley has already dropped him as poster boy for Doublemint gum!

Jonathan Ross is back from his spell in exile and appearing on our screens again, and although being closely scrutinised, his apologies and regret sem to have taken the edge of things.

Last week, I wrote about what I think about the Michael Phelps debacle, you can page back and read that if you wish… Since then, Phelps has apologised on a big public scale several times, which seemed to have saved his Speedo deal after Kellogg’s let him go and tore up their contract with him… Apparently many Phelps fans are now boycotting Kellogg’s products. Ha!

When it comes to baseball star Rodriguez, just read how utterly sorry the poor young thing was:

When I arrived in Texas in 2001, I felt an enormous amount of pressure. I felt like I had all of the weight of the world on top of me. And I needed to perform, and perform at a high level every day.”

Back then, it was a different culture. It was very loose.”

I was young.” (Rodriguez used from the ages of 25-27, after being in the major leagues for seven years.) “I was stupid.” (He had already negotiated the highest salary in baseball.) “I was naïve.” (Rodriguez, whose cheating ways led to his divorce, now dates Madonna. He counts among his friends and advisors Warren Buffet.)

The apology seems to bypass the critical factor… It is incredibly hypnotic way of communicating… I amy start saying to my clients coming in for therapy “I am sorry, I simply have to ask you to forgive me for taking you to a deep state of hypnosis now….” They’ll be there!

instead of saying “deeper and deeper”, hypnotists could just say “I am sorry, and even more sorry…”

Phelps was also very, very sorry: “I promise my fans and the public — it will not happen again.” Of course, a few years ago, Phelps was charged with drunk driving. Phelps’ style of apologising is to own up: “I made a mistake . . . . Getting into a car with anything to drink is wrong. It’s dangerous and it’s unacceptable. I’m 19, but [I] take responsibility for actions . . . I’m extremely sorry.”

Let’s compare that with his most recent apology: “I engaged in behavior which was regrettable and demonstrated bad judgment. I’m 23 years old, and despite the successes I have had in the pool, I acted in a youthful and inappropriate way, not in a manner that people have come to expect from me. For this, I am sorry.”

They are quite the same, aren’t they? Is there a formula for affecting the greatest response by apologising? 

When I was a youngster… I had my odd naughty, regrettable moment… i would say anything (just about) if I though it would help me escape punishment? Isnl;t that the same with many youngsters? Are adults any different?

Have a fabulous weekend 🙂