'Oops, never mind' becomes the rage
Side By SideMore people are letting whatever enters the brain exit the mouth. Like the "Saturday Night Live" character who gets everyone excited or upset with her tales, they pause and say, "Never mind." Manners fail; mistakes happen. Sincere apologies heal. Insincere retractions attempt to manipulate.
Published: September 18, 2009
Published: September 18, 2009
Some code of behavior is necessary to keep us from maiming one another. Jim Carrey proves this in "Liar Liar" as he goes from a man who lies about everything to a man who can lie about nothing. "I've had a wonderful evening," said Groucho Marx to his hostess as he was leaving a dull Hollywood party, "but this wasn't it." Funny, if you're not the hostess. We have all wanted to say such things.
The normally cool President Obama, upset over the arrest of a friend, accused the Cambridge police of "acting stupidly." Oops, never mind. Let's have a "teachable moment." Congressman Joe Wilson shouted, "You lie," during President Obama's address to Congress. Oops, never mind. He apologized; he was frustrated.
Trickle-down effect: At the MTV Music Awards, rapper Kanye West grabbed the microphone from Taylor Swift, winner of the best female video, to proclaim Beyonce more deserving. Oops, never mind. He apologized, saying, "It was rude, period."
Trickle-up effect: "Off the record" Obama called West a "jackass," a comment ABC News' Terry Moran "mistakenly" posted on Twitter. Oops, never mind.
Detectives found more than 1,000 child pornography images on a Jensen Beach home computer. The owner, Keith Griffin, said the cat jumped on the computer just as he left the room, and he found "strange things" when he returned. He's not the first to finger a non-talking scapegoat. When Moses accused his brother, Aaron the priest, of making an idol and leading the people in an orgy, Aaron claimed he simply threw gold in the fire and "out came this calf" (Exodus 32:24). Neither cat nor calf uttered understandable language, but their presence spoke volumes. Oops, never mind, doesn't always work.
When Rep. John Conyers questioned the point of bothering to read the health bill, he and others seemed surprise at the outrage of the American people. Oops, never mind. We should have kept pretending we were reading; after all, didn't some of us graduate from high school and college that way? Oops, never mind.
We can learn from mistakes, Obama's teachable moments. Falling rocks in this avalanche of tongue wagging distract from problem solving. New York Times columnist, Maureen Dowd, says that "being obnoxious isn't a crime," but quotes John Timoney, Miami police chief's advice: "Bite your tongue and just leave."
Like us, Apostle Peter sometimes mixed shallow thinking with rash speaking. Right after true recognition of Jesus' identity, he denied the Christ's mission (Matthew 16:13-23). Oops, never mind. After sharp rebuke, Jesus said: "...you are not setting your mind on God's interests, but man's" (v. 23). In Matthew 17:5 God speaks: "This is my Son...Listen to him!" That's the only curb and cure for "Oops, never mind."
Finding truth requires the right starting point. That is the quest of this column. If you are a seeker of simple truth, we can find it together-side-by-side.
Linda M. Downing is a freelance writer. Contact her at lindadowning.com.