My apologies

My apologies

Work cited (one of quite possibly hundreds available for analysis): The link is to a CNN article headlined “Trump appointee Carl Higbie resigns as public face of agency that runs AmeriCorps after KFile review of racist, sexist, anti-Muslim and anti-LGBT comments on the radio.” The article includes corroborative audio clips, plural, but it also includes this:

In a Tweet Friday morning, Higbie apologized for his comments. “I’m sorry. I’m not sorry that my words were published, I am sorry that I said them in 2013,” he wrote. “Those words do not reflect who I am or what I stand for, I regret saying them. Last night I informed the WH that I was resigning so as not to distract from POTUS’ many success. #noexcuses”

And in the link below, which dates from four months later in the ontological era, a New York lawyer with a significant history of being a loud aggressive racist in public is identified on video, gets in trouble at work, and then explains, “The manner in which I expressed myself is unacceptable and is not the person I am.”

“Unacceptable” is another term I don’t think I understand. Compare, “The dampness of this water is unacceptable.”

I am not I

“This is not who I am,” tweets a millionaire whose racist email about President Obama has been intercepted and published.

“This is not who we are,” sing a chorus of pundits in antiphonal response to a Senate report demonstrating that the United States government, like other governments, tortures people.

And today’s snailmail brings, for the second time this year, this letter.

img221Enclosed with the letter are three low-resolution photographs showing a smiling middle-aged man with sandy hair beginning to go gray. He is a man of leisurely action, apparently. In one image he is wearing a white turtleneck as he sits among a crowd in bleachers; in another he is seen closeup in morning dress with wing collar; and in the third he is seated in a small aircraft next to a pretty girl.

This is not who I am.

But I do share my sense of who I am not with the millionaire and the chorus of pundits. After all, that sense is built into the language we all hold in common. It has been built in for centuries. Here, on damaged paper, is its theory.

And its practice comes to us still. If we bid it to teach us, it will. Undamaged amid the clutter of torture instruments, it will explain what we are not to who we are not, saying: