Books — Sorry Everybody

 

Sorry Everybody; An Apology To The World For The Re-Election Of George W. Bush

By Lisa Parsons

There’s just no substitute for the real thing.

A book for the blue-staters

sorry everybody apologizes for 2004 election

 

sorry everybody: an apology to the world for the re-election of George W. Bush, by sorryeverybody.com, Hylas Publishing, 2005, 256 pages.

Remember the bumper stickers saying, “Don’t blame me. I voted for Bush”? The other Bush, that was. Many a patriotic Republican was embarrassed and ashamed of our country’s leaders. Many were angry.

Now the sticker’s on the other bumper. Anti-Bush voters are desperate to be heard, and they have found a forum at a new website, www.sorryeverybody.com. It’s a place where they can remind people outside the U.S. that not all Americans agree with Bush’s policies.

The site was started as a lark by 20-year-old neuroscience student James Zetlen and some friends. But it has grown into a gallery of hundreds of comments and images of un-Bush Americans holding signs that express their sentiments to whoever will see them. Most are written in English; a few are multilingual.

“Please accept our most sincere apologies for the actions supported by the other half of our country,” says one, signed, “Mary and the bright side of America.”

“FORGIVE US, WORLD,” writes a dismayed-looking young voter from Rhode Island, photographed in what looks like a dorm room.

Many simply say, “Sorry, world” or “We tried.” More than 23,000 people have visited the site and uploaded digital photos of themselves bearing their messages (or, in some cases, photos of their pets or favorite cartoons). You can too.

“Dear Citizens of the Rest of the World: From those of us who now feel like strangers in our own home, WE’RE SO VERY SORRY,” says the neatly handwritten note held by a brown-haired, white-shirted woman who looks angrily resigned, her piercing brown eyes directed at the camera.

Hylas Publishing, a small New York State-based outfit, picked up on the project and now “sorry everybody” is available in book form — photograph after full-color photograph of politically disappointed Americans and their cries for forgiveness. The book is being distributed in the U.S. and overseas.

Despite the organizers’ claim (posted on the website) that insults are not wanted, some have slipped through. There are those entries that call Bush or his supporters stupid, brainless, morons, idiots. Even more regrettable, perhaps, are those entries that use pets as messengers.

But then there are the thoughtful statements, a few of which go on at length, like this from a neatly attired graying-haired man: “When did speaking more than one language become a bad thing? Working to build coalitions become a sign of weakness? Illiteracy become a joke? The US become a country hated throughout the world? Thanks, George. Sorry, world. An embarrassed American in Paris.”

 

The response

In November some Dutch folks found the sorryeverybody website and responded with a website of their own, apologiesaccepted.com, a forum for sympathizers outside the U.S. A new book may develop from that.

Also in November, some pro-Bush activists responded with Yourewelcomeeverybody.com. Same format, opposite message: “I’m not sorry that you elitists lost the election,” “Conservative and not sorry,” “You are most welcome world, once again America will save your asses!!!!” The Yourewelcome site, more reactive and perhaps less civil than its provocateur, exudes a mix of anger and triumphalism, not to mention several instances in which Kerry voters are called “pussies,” as in “Get a life you lame pussies.” (It’s the idiots vs. the pussies, tonight at 10.) A few Yourewelcome entries confirm the premise of sorry everybody with sentiments like “We don’t give a rat’s ass what France and Canada think about us.” The most thoughtful Yourewelcome message is this one: “It’s called a ‘Democracy.’ The majority has spoken. No Reason to be Sorry. Now lets all come together as a nation.”

In accordance with stereotypes, Youre welcome features a noticeable number of people showing off their guns — about 13 percent of the photos on the website, and that includes one gun-toting kitten, one gun-toting gopher and one gun-toting Statue of Liberty — whereas guns are very nearly absent from sorry everybody. Meanwhile a few self-proclaimed tree-huggers are found in sorry everybody, but none at Yourewelcome.

Both sites include military officers. First impressions indicate more religious references in sorry everybody than at yourewelcome.

Who’s not sorry now

Zetlen writes, in sorry everybody’s preface, “I’ve been told to leave America, if I’m so ashamed of it. But I believe that holding my country accountable for its actions does not amount to treason, and apologizing does not make us weak. I believe that America’s strength is in its tolerance, and that as a powerful part of a beautiful world, we have responsibilities as well as rights.”

He has announced the formation of The Civil Tongue Foundation, to “promote polite, reasonable and content-based dialogue between the multitudes of American political viewpoints.” It will be an Internet forum; Zetlen et al. are seeking polite, computer-literate moderators of different political persuasions to facilitate.

Maybe they should recruit “Northwest girl,” shown on page 216 standing on a wintry-looking sidewalk, who writes, “I am so so sorry! But I still love my country and the people who live here, even if I don’t agree with them. Freedom makes America strong. Those who forget this will live to regret it later. xxx ooo.”

— Lisa Parsons

 
2005 HippoPress LLC | Manchester, NH