Tuesday, January 10, 2006


ASK AND YOU SHALIT RECEIVE: Gene Shalit has made peace with GLAAD, which had taken issue with the wording of the film critic's Brokeback Mountain review, in which he characterized Jake Gyllenhaal's Jack as a "sexual predator." On Tuesday, Shalit responded to GLAAD's request for an apology with a statement saying, "In describing the behavior of Jack, I used words that I now discover have angered, agitated and hurt many people. I did not intend to use a word that many in the gay community consider incendiary. I certainly had no intention of casting aspersions on anyone in the gay community or on the community itself. I regret any emotional hurt that may have resulted from my review." As additional penance, Shalit has agreed to see Aeon Flux a second time. (tvguide.com, entertainment news, 01/10/06)

I would love to say ‘kudos’ to Mr. Shalit, but his apology seems kind of . . . forced. I’m not even sure if that is the proper word. I applaud him – really, I do, my sincerity is overwhelming at the moment (as are my doubts) – for stepping up to the plate and issuing an apology, whether the apology is truly altruistic or forced. It just seems to me it is always easier to apologize afterwards rather than give consideration beforehand so that an apology is . . . well . . . unnecessary.

The question that comes to my mind is this: is Mr. Shalit truly sorry for his words? But I guess my question is truly unimportant. I guess that what matters most is . . . drumroll please . . . consideration. I don’t know how many times – abacus and calculator at hand, and the number is too great (has anyone got a spare super computer handy?) – I have spoken before my brain could stop me and inserted both feet into my mouth. Now, some people will say that I have a big mouth, and that getting both feet in is not a problem, but I have made some comments without truly considering my words so that, like Mr. Shalit and countless others before him, I have had to eat the proverbial crow. Life would be so much simpler if people truly considered their words before speaking them.

I guess that is the point of this soapbox session: consideration. Perhaps the example of Mr. Shalit, and the countless others – including myself – before him, will someday affect a change that will make apologies . . . again, the sound of a drumroll please . . . unnecessary.