What to do when we fuck up

I promise that sooner or later even the most staunchly progressive blogger is going to say something boneheaded.  Probably off-handedly or light-heartedly, and they’re going to get their head snapped off.

When this happens choose the non-violent-action tactic of rolling up in a ball, protecting your neck and face, and wait for it to blow over.

Which it will.

Unless you fight back.

Then apologize briefly, and sincerely.  No hack-back “you can’t take a joke.”  No hurt-and-defensive “But I’m progressive here, and here, and here.”  No half-assed “I’m sorry that somebody was able to construe what I said as offensive.”

Instead say “Wow, I really didn’t think that through.  I apologize.  I said something and whether I meant to or not it hurt other people.  I take responsibility for that.  I won’t do it again.  I’m sorry.”

Then shut up.  It’ll usually blow over in a couple of days.  Unless you give folks something more solid to build on.  Do that and you’re fucked.

Every time you repost and add your defense you’re remarketing the story to a whole new round of reposts, most of whom will (probably correctly) add to your bonfire.


As the petty criminal day-shift drinkers who haunted the rundown beer bar I used to work at used to say, “you do the crime, you do the time.”  And then move on.