Either Seventh District Congressman Billy Long or one of his staffers sent an e-mail to the Springfield News-Leader apologizing for remarks Long tweeted comparing Congress and the current debt ceiling situation to singer Amy Winehouse, who died over the weekend.
Long originally tweeted, "No one could reach #AmyWinehouse before it was too late. Can anyone reach Washington before it's too late? Both addicted - same fate???"
The apology reads like this:
“Although I do believe spending 42 percent more than we take in is an addiction, I certainly meant no disrespect to Amy, her family or her fans. She was one of the few true artists to come along in a long time. What happened to her was a senseless tragedy and drawing an analogy wasn’t meant to minimize the loss of life. If anyone took offense, I sincerely apologize.”
I have three problems with Billy Long's apology.
First, it was another of those grating non-apology apologies in which the person, usually someone who has made an insensitive or controversial remark, doesn't say he was wrong, but he feels bad because someone was offended.
Second, we are talking about a colossal exercise in bad taste. You just don't make that kind of remark about someone who has just died, especially when you are a public figure and the remark is certain to be amplified. Amy Winehouse left behind people who loved her. Of course, they are going to be upset about such a comparison. And if the apology really meant anything, and apparently it didn't, it would be accompanied by the removal of the offensive remark from the Congressman's Twitter feed. As this is written, it is still stands in proud defiance of common decency.
Finally, just what does Billy Long have on his IPod? Is he really familiar enough with Amy Winehouse's work to refer to her as "one of the few true artists" or is he simply copying something he heard and read? Or was this written by one of his younger staffers who was familiar with her music?
Couldn't Billy Long have just said, "I'm sorry, I was wrong."?
Apparently, those words are either in not in his vocabulary or his staff isn't familiar enough to use those words when scripting Billy's non-apology apologies.