I Feel Patronized

Maybe it's just me, but as I was reading the comment war about citizen journalists versus professional journalists I noticed something interesting. If you haven't read the thread, I'll save you the trouble. Clint Brewer, editor of the Nashville City Paper, and his counterpart at the Nashville Scene, Liz Garrigan, were having a heated discussion with several local bloggers over the quality of writing in their publications versus blogs.

The thing that I noticed was that both Mr. Brewer and Ms Garrigan used the phrase, 'Sorry if I hurt your feelings.' To me that sounds like an attempt at patronizing and minimizing complainers by making them sound like whiney little kids. I was all ready to do a post about the importance of emotions and how wrong it was that people use that phrase as an argument killer because 'feelings' are an important part of the human condition. Then I realized maybe it isn't most people. Maybe it's just me that thinks that was condascending. I don't think it's just me, but I appeal to you readers to help me out.

I'm not talking about friends and family members. I'm talking about people at work, or newspaper editors in online discussions. People that don't know you. I assume it's condascending in those situations because I assume strangers really don't much care about my feelings.

So anyone want to proffer an opinion? When you're in a disagreement with someone and they say 'sorry I hurt your feelings' does it make you feel better or worse?


Blogger bridgett said...

It's the conditional "if" (like they still don't *really* believe they could have caused hurt by something so trivial) that gets me. And the lack of reference to their own behavior. Note the difference here:

"I'm sorry if I hurt your feelings." vs "I'm sorry that my actions hurt you."

The latter acknowledges the harm actually done and takes responsibility for it. The former makes it the victim's problem for reacting poorly and is what I'd call a bullshit apology.

5:48 AM, August 10, 2007  
Blogger 'Coma said...

I agree with bridgett.
This whole thing is about conquering and dividing and is elitist.
That's my opinion. And I believe mainstream media is doing this because in essence, they are the ones feeling the heat.

11:58 AM, August 10, 2007  
Anonymous ginnylavender said...

I used to work with sex offenders. When asked to write an apology to their victims (just an exercise, not given to the victims)they would write something like "I'm sorry if you felt hurt." At that point I gleefully ripped them apart. Tis the exact same thing.

9:40 PM, August 12, 2007  

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