How to Apologize Without Apologizing by John Mayer
Apparently John Mayer has decided that he hasn’t wrought enough damage to the fabric of society with his music, so he’s now engaged in a war on America with the spoken word.
For those of you that aren’t already aware (or don’t know the full story), John Mayer recently gave an interview to Playboy in which he may or may not have been intoxicated. During the course of the interview, he tried to be funny by being…well, completely racist.
From the interview (with full context):
PLAYBOY: If you didn’t know you, would you think you’re a douche bag?
MAYER: It depends on what I picked up. My two biggest hits are “Your Body Is a Wonderland” and “Daughters.” If you think those songs are pandering, then you’ll think I’m a douche bag. It’s like I come on very strong. I am a very…I’m just very. V-E-R-Y. And if you can’t handle very, then I’m a douche bag. But I think the world needs a little very. That’s why black people love me.
PLAYBOY: Because you’re very?
MAYER: Someone asked me the other day, “What does it feel like now to have a hood pass?” And by the way, it’s sort of a contradiction in terms, because if you really had a hood pass, you could call it a n***** pass. Why are you pulling a punch and calling it a hood pass if you really have a hood pass? But I said, “I can’t really have a hood pass. I’ve never walked into a restaurant, asked for a table and been told, ‘We’re full.'”
PLAYBOY: It is true; a lot of rappers love you. You recorded with Common and Kanye West, played live with Jay-Z.
MAYER: What is being black? It’s making the most of your life, not taking a single moment for granted. Taking something that’s seen as a struggle and making it work for you, or you’ll die inside. Not to say that my struggle is like the collective struggle of black America. But maybe my struggle is similar to one black dude’s.
PLAYBOY: Do black women throw themselves at you?
MAYER: I don’t think I open myself to it. My dick is sort of like a white supremacist. I’ve got a Benetton heart and a f*****’ David Duke ****. I’m going to start dating separately from my ****.
Yep, that was the n-word, followed by talking down to the entire black community’s struggles, followed by him comparing his genitals to a racist (and classified terrorist) group.
Class act, that John Mayer.
I won’t pretend that I think John Mayer actively hates and distrusts black people. I don’t think that he secretly meets with Mel Gibson to discuss how people in the press are such jerks for asking about things that actually happened and were actually said, and what to do when that long prophesized race war occurs. Mayer obviously has some appreciation for black culture.
The problem is that simply not being a full-on card-carrying racist does not excuse you from common decency and respect. Mayer and some of his fans may not think he’s a racist, but what he said and the tone of it is unequivocally racist, and potentially hurtful. How anyone could read the words that he spoke, even in the full context, and come away from it thinking it wasn’t racist is beyond me.
However, since he doesn’t seem to carry the same biases that so many others in his situation have carried, I’m willing to give him a pass if only he gave some sort of statement wherein he admitted that he said some truly racist, hurtful, and unforgivable things. I’d cut him some slack if he admitted it came from a dark place, and that under no circumstances is it appropriate to say the things that he said in a public forum.
THIS was his apology:
…really, John? Christ.
For those who don’t want to watch the entire video, here’s what happened: Mayer vaguely alluded to the interview. He says that it happened because he’s always trying to be witty and fast with his humor, and as a result he accidentally said “n*****” and berated African-Americans in one of the ost popular and highest-profile periodicals in the world.
He goes on to apologize for trying too hard to be funny and for being John Mayer, and says that he’s done with “the media game.” He then fakes tears, points out that he has black guys on-stage with him, and thanks them for standing by him. You know, the guys that are being paid to be there.
This is not how you apologize. You don’t apologize and say “in the future, I’ll avoid this by not giving interviews, and if I have a problem it’s that I try too hard.” Screwing up doesn’t mean apologizing for the reasons you think you screwed up, it’s for the screw-up itself.
Unfortunately, as many with greater intellect and life experience than I have noted, an honest and sincere apology seems to be lost on most people. They don’t apologize for the act or the sentiment behind it, but rather that they didn’t think things through or that they got caught in the act.
A self-involved douchebag who fakes tears, emotionally manipulates people that care abotu him, and gives half-hearted apologies wrought with excuses and guilt trips. John Mayer is exactly the type of guy women should stay away from and it’s also what makes him (and guys like him) so attractive to them; a man with such abundant confidence that nothing, not even the world around him, can break his potentially destructive stride.