February 15

Americans like to say we’re a forgiving society. Sometimes I’m not sure. At best, we’re selective with our forgiveness.

I can speak to this personally. I posted my previous blog about Pat Tillman on the Gary Radnich and Tony Bruno Facebook page, and inadvertently wrote “Stillman.” It’s simple: I goofed, mistakenly adding an “S.”

Wow, did that start an “S” storm.

Some ribbed me, knowing it was just a typo, but I’m pretty sure several of the respondents thought I actually didn’t know the name was “Tillman.” Even though I wrote an entire article about him and saw the documentary. Even though I covered the story of his amazing choice, his death, and the subsequent cover-up. Even though I entered the first “Pat’s Run” to be held at Leland High School.

Anyway, I took my lumps.

How many people had a field day with Christina Aguilera forgetting the words to the national anthem at the Super Bowl ? She was not the first to mess it up, far from the first celebrity to do so, and it’s not the first time she has messed it up — but everybody piles on. We learn the song in Kindergarten but in that pressure situation, it’s easy to get flustered.

Then we have the case of Serene Branson, the Los Angeles television reporter whose momentary lapse into gibberish has been a YouTube sensation this week. She was reporting outside of the Grammy Awards, but only Mushmouth from the Cosby Kids could have understood what she said.

Did she have a stroke ? Aphasia ? TIA ( transient ischemic attack ) ? Or did she just choke and then compounded her misery with a failed recovery ? The sad part: this is the only impression people have of Branson, whom I understand is a top reporter in L.A.

Comparisons were made to South Carolina’s entry in the Miss Teen USA pageant in 2007. Her rambling answer to a question about map knowledge is a classic.

It makes us feel good to rip people in the public arena. It’s partly jealousy, and it’s partly an ego boost: as if to say “I could do that.” It’s epidemic in our society. In sports these days, it’s often not about who did something right, but who failed.

The moral of the story: we’re all painfully human. We all have our weaknesses.

I don’t have trouble with anyone who owns up to their mistakes and tries to do better next time. I do have trouble with people who lie to help themselves and hurt others, or who don’t give their best effort. That’s exactly what our leaders were guilty of in the Tillman story.

Me, I goofed. Not a colossal boo-boo, but I expect better of myself and I think you do, too. The mistake was a disservice to Pat Tillman’s family as well, and for that I am sorry.

John Wooden said “Don’t let yesterday take up too much of today.” Just gotta learn and move on.


4 Responses to “Oops”

  1. Jim from Napa Says:

    LOL; The only thing I disagree with you on Ray is that Aguilera has screwed up twice. At the hall of fame game she messed up the first verse so bad that she hummed it.

    She should not be singing the national anthem.

    Lets face it Ray; the internet has created a very nasty and mean spirited bunch of people waiting like sharks looking for any kind of blood.

    There is a reason why we are the most violent first world country in history. Too many angry people.

  2. Jim from Napa Says:

    p.s.; sorry to hog this blog Ray but I once spoke at a convention. My girlfriend at the time made copies for my presentation because I was so busy.

    We handed out the material and all through the 2 hour presentation every once in a while people would giggle. Well she had copied my rough draft and I made a type o. Instead of saying “I love the things this city has to offer”, it said tity instead of city.

    Lets just say I never spoke their again and that relationship ended 6 months later!

  3. Ron Licata Says:

    Hi Ray,

    Agree with your take on angry people. That is why Angry Birds is such a popular game!

    On another note, your blog on Tillman has his last name spelled Tillmam. Thought you would want to know so that you could have it fixed before you get more email on the topic.

    I suppose with the unemployment rate so high right now, there are plenty of people with time on their hands to take shots. So sad.

  4. Rick in Belmont Says:

    I don’t think we Americans are as much forgiving, as forgetful. No on will remember your typo in two months time. And those types of things happen to all of us. Christina Aguilera, on the other hand, may take a bit longer for people to forget…. Afterall, there were only one or two hundred million people watching her little mistake(s).

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