Dark Christianity
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May 2008
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non-apologies and Jerry Falwell

LJ-SEC: (ORIGINALLY POSTED BY [info]theonides)

It's not often that linguists have occasion to comment on things that are of interest to this community, but in this case, I thought this post from [info]languagelog would be an exception. In it, our favourite recently-deceased hate-monger is being discussed, and in particular, one of his quotes that I'm sure all of you will remember, said immediately in the wake of 9/11:

I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way--all of them who have tried to secularize America--I point the finger in their face and say, 'You helped this happen.'

Reporters on several news programs have replayed this quote, and followed it up by saying that Falwell later apologized. But, as the lingusits at Language Log point out, Falwell's "apology" was really a perfectly good example of a non-apology... he apologized for leaving the "impression", not for what he actually said.

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