Singer and renowned lothario John Mayer apologises publicly for racist and homophobic comments made in the pages of a popular men’s magazine. Gordon Brown begs forgiveness of a female voter who he was accidentally caught calling a ‘bigoted woman’, even though her comment, “All these bloody immigrants from Eastern Europe, where are they all flocking here from anyway?”, could rightly be described as bigoted. Even Bart Simpson, beloved figure of popular culture, was summoned to the Australian parliament years ago to ask forgiveness for having made a fraudulent and rather lengthy collect call. Apologies are everywhere today, both in popular culture and in politics. And even though the trend in some areas seems to be moving away from public apology toward public accountability, as petroleum companies, bailed-out banks, semi-nationalised automotive companies and possibly-juiced baseball players are summoned before senate committees as penitent children before the headmaster to confess past indiscretions, apology remains the token gesture of choice when seeking to right historical wrongs.
Augustine’s contributions to the theory of original sin embody a deterministic view, insinuated as a result of the causal relationship between the root of evil and its human origin. Specifically, Augustine uses the Garden of Eden to demonstrate the appearance of evil resulted from the onset of human creation. In my opinion attributing responsibility to an out-group, or Othering creates an internal conflict commonly acknowledged within the discipline of Social Psychology as cognitive dissonance.
I am looking forward to Friday night.
Perhaps I should backtrack; I own a television. That’s right – a television. What’s worse, I have actually been known to watch it at times. Worse still, I have been known to enjoy it. What might be a series of casual admissions for most becomes a loaded one in the eyes of certain academics. I’m a shallow populist. Not only do I not work all the time (which, it would seem, is how often I should be working) but I fritter away my time with mindless drivel. And make no mistake – much of it is mindless drivel. There will be no argument that television content is the best it has ever been here. If I hear of one more show about doctors/nurses/various other forms of hospital staff, or if I see any more permutations of the letter ‘C’, ‘S’ and ‘I’ in a television show title, I will run my eyes through a meat grinder.
The expression on my mother’s face was one I rarely see: a withdrawn, discomfited and coy blank stare. The incapacity to conceal an uncomfortable repulsion only reveals itself when forced to face her Jewish heritage. As if facing a mirror imposes on her reflection, facing memories related to her culture and religion are painfully avoided. She calls it: “opening the floodgates”. Ironically, the attempt to evade her relationship with Judaism only reinforces an inescapable bond it; in my opinion, a familiar response to memories of experiences related to evil and suffering. In particular, her silence and suppression manifest as coping mechanisms, and emphasize the identity she wishes to reject. Ironically, in her case a memory usually triggers a narrative; emerging from the depths of the unconscious is a desire to tell. In this case, it was after I mentioned my film selection for independent study in a summer course: “Sophie’s Choice”. The floodgates had been opened.