Here there be monsters (socratic) wrote,
Here there be monsters
socratic

Michael Richard's bizarre apology

I watched Letterman last night for the first time in a long time. I wanted to see what Michael Richards would say when given an opportunity to apologize for...the incident. I felt, and still feel, like this is the kind of thing that is fixable if someone is sincere enough and works hard enough. What Richards said was incredibly ugly, offensive, and hurtful, but it's not like he killed anybody. Words can wound but that wounding can be undone, or at least made up for. There's an enormous difference between telling someone they should be lynched and actually lynching somebody, and in that chasm lies the potential for forgiveness.

Anyway, the Richards apology was riveting. It was perhaps the least scripted rawest television I've ever seen (assuming this isn't all a send-up.) At the end of it Letterman seemed genuinely shaken and unsure if he should have had Richards on at all. The beginning started with laughter from the Letterman audience, totally inappropriate to what was being said. Richards stumbled over his words, an actor without a script. He went from making statements akin to what he actually should have said (I have to examine the ugliness within myself and do the work to try and deal with it.) to rambling on about Hurricane Katrina and other totally immaterial stuff. I believe he's both apologetic and bewildered about how exactly it happened, but Letterman WAS the wrong forum to make the apology, and he came totally unprepared. He needs to do more. Donating some large sum of money to The King Center would probably be a start. The rest is just time and sincerity. Of course my community wasn't the one being insulted this time (We'll always have Mel) so maybe I shouldn't be making prescriptions, but I do feel that when celebrities fuck up in these ways it becomes an opportunity to move society forward. We all know that these rants go on in local comedy clubs all the time, let alone living rooms and frat houses. Acknowledging the ugliness that exists and attempting to make it right is a good thing. I hope Richards does that and I hope there is a positive outcome.
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