A reader gives Jonah Hill some credit:
You labeled this as “slur and apology,” but I do not see an apology here. And that’s a good thing, because what I see is something much better. Apologies have become so ubiquitous and meaningless these days, often extorted by interest groups and those seeking to benefit from phony outrage. Exactly to whom should he apologize? To whom does he “owe” an apology? The cameraman seeking the exact reaction he elicited? Others who are not involved but have inserted themselves into the story with self-righteous outrage?
What Hill said was so much better than any empty, extorted apology: it was a genuine recognition of reality and a sincere personal reaction to it. Hill owned his comments and didn’t grovel nor seek forgiveness; rather, he simply expressed that he said something that he felt bad about saying. To me, this was the perfect response. Hill owes nobody anything, and “apologies” forced under the threat of some other consequences are hardly apologies. I would much rather see someone express sincere personal reflection and disappointment.
Contrast that with Alec Baldwin’s lame apology to George Stark. Another reader suggests that the reflexive use of “faggot” or even “gay” as a slur is falling by the wayside with the current generation of kids:
As someone who basically grew up in Jonah Hill’s generation, I regrettably understand where his outburst originates. We all did it constantly in middle school and high school. “Faggot” was just the go-to insult, and “cocksucker” wasn’t far behind. But it was generational, and as offensive as their meanings, I never put connotation on them with being anti-gay.
I’m gay. And I called people this all the time, not because I had any anti-get animosity or self-hate, because I don’t, but because … it just was. I’ve had tons of friends – college and post-college – get into a fight and call someone a faggot and stop to turn to me and apologize to me. It was just a word. I think it speaks more to the percentages of millennials who support gay rights than those who learned an offensive word and fall back on it sometimes.
Update from a reader:
It’s probably worth linking to Hill’s apology on Jimmy Fallon last night. This doesn’t seem to be the scripted “I’m sorry if I offended” schtick his publicist gave him, but I’ll let folks judge for themselves.