WELCOME TO THE OFFICIAL RICHARD E GERSTEIN JUSTICE BUILDING BLOG. THIS BLOG IS DEDICATED TO JUSTICE BUILDING RUMOR, HUMOR, AND A DISCUSSION ABOUT AND BETWEEN THE JUDGES, LAWYERS AND THE DEDICATED SUPPORT STAFF, CLERKS, COURT REPORTERS, AND CORRECTIONAL OFFICERS WHO LABOR IN THE WORLD OF MIAMI'S CRIMINAL JUSTICE. THIS BLOG HAS BEEN CALLED "THE DEFINITIVE BLOG ON MIAMI CRIMINAL LAW" BY THE NY TIMES, THE WASHINGTON POST, THE POPE, AND DONALD TRUMP WHO ALSO ONCE SAID IT WAS "REALLY GREAT". POST YOUR COMMENTS, OR SEND RUMPOLE A PRIVATE EMAIL AT HOWARDROARK21@GMAIL.COM

Thursday, February 12, 2015

I'M SORRY

What is it with apologies these days? They're never good enough. 
NBC News Anchor Brian Williams makes misstatements (here come the comments, so let us do it for you: "he lied", "he dishonored veterans", "we can't trust a journalist who lies", etc) about his experience in Iraq. Williams admits his mistake, calls it a "conflation" of two events, and Twitter and social media explode in a frenzy to the point where NBC has to suspend him for six months. 

Shouldn't "I'm sorry" be enough? 

Not in 2014. 

We say "Dwight David Eisenhower" and you think: "President", "Supreme Allied Commander in WWII", made the call of the century to send the D-Day forces in when his weathermen told him there would be a break in the weather sufficient to land his army. 
Do you think "Kay Summers" the young aide he had an affair with? Nope. That happened in 1942-44. 

We say "General David Petraeus" and you think…"Iraq & Afghanistan" commander; "Head of the CIA", "resigned in disgrace after having an affair."
As commander of the 101st Airborne Division, Petraeus was awarded the Bronze Star with the coveted "V" meaning with Valor  for his command decisions under fire during Operation Iraqi freedom in 2003.  But we remember Petraeus not for his competency or his heroics, but his foible in having an affair. 

Why? 

Why do we today seek to drive any person of talent out of the Public Arena when their human foibles are exposed? 
Does having a marital affair disqualify you from leading troops in battle or heading a governmental agency, or being President or a member of the cabinet? 

Should Brian Williams' misstatements about his experiences in Iraq or Hurricane Katrina prevent him from reading the news off a teleprompter? Why do we care so much? 

Schadenfreude is the the feeling of pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others. The word is taken from German (one of our favourite languages, and literally means "harm-joy".  

The 2000's-2020 is the era of Schadenfreude.  It seems that the internet is almost a perfect tool to expose the flaws in anyone, and then drive wedges through those cracks until the person crumbles under the avalanche of criticism and mockery. 

We think the explanation lies in the cowardice and incompetence of the critics. Cowardice because their comments on social media can often be anonymous. And incompetence because the incompetent seem to derive a certain pleasure of dragging the competent down to their level. We see it in the comments section of this blog every day. 

The problem is that when we need a world leader; when we need someone to deal with global warming, the Russians in the Ukraine, the Chinese in the Pacific, religious extremists in the Middle East causing chaos and destruction, the best and the brightest of us will remain safely out of the limelight- unwilling to risk personal destruction as the cost of using their talents. 

It's a poor trade- the acceptance of unblemished but mediocre individuals in lieu of remarkable leaders who can't pass the personal morals test. And we are all the worse for it. 

Long weekend coming up. Enjoy. 




19 comments:

Anonymous said...

I believe you mean Kay Summersby, not Kay Summers. However, unlike Petraeus and Clinton, there is no confirmed affair between Eisenhower/Summersby. She admitted her book (written after Eisenhower had died and was ghostwritten while Summersby was stricken of cancer) had changed details to make it more intimate.

Anonymous said...

best post ever. thanks.

CAPTAIN JUSTICE said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
CAPTAIN JUSTICE said...



THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

"The Medulla Anchordalla"......

First, Rump, great post. You talk about Schadenfreude and you allude to the fact that, on a smaller scale, you see it in the comments section of this blog every day.

I have commented on that nastiness repeatedly and always asked readers and commenters of this Blog if they were ever taught the golden rule?

For those of you who missed that lesson from your father and mother: One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.

But in the age of the Internet, with anonymity, it is just too easy to act with impunity.

On a larger scale, you mention the Brian Williams situation. Someone makes a mistake, or lies, or says something that never should have come out of their mouth, and then they attempt to atone for their actions. They say I'm sorry. I'm really, really sorry.

But we don't accept sorry. Too many of us just want to bathe ourselves in the joy of someone else's f-ck up. And we punish them, and torture them, and say horrible things about them, as if we are somehow better than they are. Because we have never so much as ever made such a screw-up in our own lives.

The NYTimes has a great piece today called:

"How One Stupid Tweet Blew Up Justine Sacco’s Life"

If you have a few minutes, read about it and see how much we enjoy destroying other people's lives; their marriages, their careers, their mental health, etc.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/
02/15/magazine/how-one-stupid-tweet-ruined-justine-saccos-life.html?_r=0

Finally, on the Brian Williams matter, I thought that Jon Stewart's monologue from Monday, February 9th, was another great way of looking at the whole sad saga, from a comedic point of view.

Stewart calls Brian Williams' snydrome, (what caused him to say what he said), "The Medulla Anchordalla".

He says that, with masturbation, getting caught in the act is usually punishment enough.

And then Stewart asks: Wouldn't his colleagues in the news media industry agree?

Nah. The media is ALL over this STORY.

And then Stewart jokes: "Finally, someone is being held to account for misleading Americans about the Iraq war".

He suggests that: If the media had applied this level of scrutiny to the actual war and the allegations that Sadam had WMD's, we never would have been in this situation in the first place.

Watch the clip here:

http://thedailyshow.cc.com/
full-episodes/zeehf7/
february-9--2015---patricia-arquette

Again, great post today Rump. Looking forward to a fantastic South Florida weather weekend filled with Valentine's Day, the Boat Show and the Coconut Grove Arts Festival.

Cap Out .....
Captain4justice@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

The issue is not Brian Williams per se but, rather, the mendacity, manipulation and misreporting of the mainstream media that makes it unworthy of any trust from audiences. I, for one, don't care about the mainstream media anymore and get my information from more reliable and serious alternative news websites.

Anonymous said...

Rump, Cap..............great posts by you both.

BTDT

Anonymous said...

100% on the money.

Anonymous said...

Love this post! And yours too Captain.

I'll just add that it's always the most miserable people that take such joy in other's mistakes and miseries. It never fails. Why is that?

Anonymous said...

So dramatic Rump. The fact of the matter is this is not "schadenfreude." This is a corporate entity trying to control damage and protect its brand. America is a country of second acts. Williams will be fine. Calm down.

Anonymous said...

A re-watching of the classic 1976 movie network is in order.

Rumpole said...

Wonderful point. There is a dichotomy which you have identified. America is a land of second Acts. Agreed. But to get to act two you need the initial tragedy and fall from grace. Interesting to note that society loves both. Great point.

CAPTAIN JUSTICE said...

THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

JUDGE ROBERT LUCK ATTACKED .....

The Miami Herald is reporting that on Thursday afternoon while presiding over the case of Ricardo Garganelly, Luck was attacked when the defendant charged him from the audience.

Luck suffered a scratch to his neck and a laceration to the back of the head.

Garganelly was out of custody but Judge Luck had ordered him committed to a state psychiatric hospital just before the attack.

Cap Out .....

Anonymous said...

Rump is right again!! great post - I fear the apocalypse is near.

Anonymous said...

How on earth does a defendant make it to where the judge is sitting to physically attack him?! I understand the bailiff could be elsewhere taking prints or telling babies to go outside, but where is Corrections?!

Anonymous said...

Bad Luck.

Anonymous said...

I don't think the Brian Williams situation is analogous to the politicians you mentioned. Or any other idiot politician like Spitzer, Weiner, etc.

We elect politicians to use good judgment. We want to be able to know we can trust them and what they're doing. While it might seem like having an affair would not affect the ability to do their job, it shows a lack of judgment. (especially when the affair may have security implications)

With Brian Williams, there is a modern notion that the news is supposed to be fair and unbiased. While tradition would show that journalists were often the ones who would present contrarian views and question authority, most people don't recognize that anymore. The 1st amendment right of freedom of speech and of the press wasn't just so anchors could tell you what happened that day: it was so they could question the government and what they were doing and expose wrongdoings.

Since we're caught up in this notion that anchors give us the truth, we feel lied to and betrayed when it turns out a story is false. Then we question what else it is that they've said that could be false as well.

We might not necessarily delight in their misfortune, but we feel betrayed by their actions.

Not my real name said...

How do you deal with the "I'm sorry" that's really "I'm sorry I got caught" as opposed to the "I'm sorry I did it?" It's no secret that the media is biased, some outlets for the left, some for the right. But when an anchor gets caught flat out lying now and then you realize the lies have spanned nearly a decade it doesn't really seem like they're remorseful for their actions. (Replace anchor for defendant, and lie for dwls or the appropriate conjugation (or any other crime), and tell me if you still feel the same way). Also if anonymity is bad (which I do personally think makes some courageous cowards) shouldn't we ALL use our real names?

Anonymous said...

You guys are full of CRAP. Had this been Bill O'Reilly instead of this liberal mouthpiece, you'd be calling for his head.

Anonymous said...

http://www.politico.com/blogs/media/2015/02/oreilly-accused-of-lying-about-witnessing-nun-murders-203150.html

Now O'Reilly has blundered and we can call for his head.