This week in lame and obviously bullshit celebrity excuses: rapper Soulja Boy refused to sit down on a plane during take off, resulting in his subsequent expulsion, and what followed next is so ridiculous that it's sort of funny, but also a bit sad: the guy issued a public apology to the other passengers, the crew and the general public, saying that he'd had a "rough night" the night before, which was the cause of his behavior.
I know what you're thinking — if we're about to go down the but-this-is-the guy-who-made-"Crank-That"-a-hit road, let it be said that Soulja Boy is far from the first celebrity to conduct themselves poorly with the expectation that the public will swallow their empty excuses. His actions are part of a movement that has taken root in Hollywood, one that now seems to be unstoppable. But it remains to be seen what the point is, or where the madness will end, because not a single one of us believed him for a second.
We've all had "rough nights", but there is no amount of hardship I can imagine enduring that would result in my disruption of other people's lives for no apparent reason, plus, Hi Soulja, do you know how planes work? They start on the ground and end up over 30,000 feet in the air, which is kind of why people don't stand up during take off, unless they always wanted to be violently thrown through three classes to slam into the frozen plane meals at the back. So yeah, I'll be the first to say, apology not accepted.
Of course, I was not one of the inconvenienced travelers, but this is hardly the worst case of a celebrity being an absolute boor and avoiding actual consequences by vomiting some lukewarm apology. Chris Brown, Mel Gibson, Kanye West, Akon, and Christian Bale are just the most recent or well-known examples in a long line of half-assed apologizers, and it's a tactic used in celebrity PR universally. But why? Mel Gibson's apology in relation to his rampant anti-Semitic comments did not convince us that he was any less anti-semitic, nor did Chris Brown's apology for beating Rihanna/storming off GMA convert the skeptics. These people have distinct issues with prejudice and anger, and to produce a neutrally worded press release as an answer to public outcry is an insult to the public's sense of truth.
So here's my thought on silly celebrity apologies. Either fully apologize, or don't at all. It's the same thing our moms told us, if you have to say "but" or give an excuse after an apology, it doesn't count as an apology at all. No one exploited Chris Brown, and contrary to Mel Gibson's beliefs, Jews probably didn't start every war (we were much too busy running around Hollywood and raking in money, obviously. L'chaim!). We might be addicted to celebrities, but no one wants to be condescended to, and when a famous person stares dolefully into the camera and tells us they acted like a douchebag for external reasons, it's them basically telling us to our faces that because they're famous, acts of moral reprehensibility require no further explanation.
This is not to say that celebrities and famous figures should start apologizing for every minor transgression. We're all human, and sometimes there are situations where you end just really looking like a dick entirely against your best efforts. But, if, for example, Paula Deen is actually a dyed-in-the-wool racist, I'd respect it more if she just said that instead of making a frail bid for us to start giving her our money again. If celebrities represented themselves and their actions honestly, the public would be able to support them based on the total package: their work, their ideals, the whole thing. Would that really be so bad, for us and celebrities?
After all, I imagine it's pretty claustrophobic worrying constantly about what is PC-enough for one's public image and what has to be kept a dirty little secret. But at the very least, people need to cut the bullshit with these fauxpologies, because we're not buying it and it's definitely not worth the time someone paid a PR person for while they crafted these silly responses to public indignation. Truth is hard to come by these days, but if it can't be found, don't offer up a placatory semi-truth or apology in its place. We aren't listening to them.