November 21, 2006
Should doctors avoid provocative clothing?
The author of this N.Y. Times article says "yes," with particular application to female doctors. The Am. J. of Medicine study the author cites, however (available here for those with the appropriate subscription), hardly appears to be on point.
People report preferring doctors in formal clothing and white coats over doctors in neither. But is it the professional clothing, or the coat? Where's the control variable? The women that the author is complaining about are wearing high heels and short skirts, but not shedding their coats.
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You can now view the locations of the gravesites of all dead Supreme Court Justices (here and here), thanks to Oyez. I'm not quite sure why one would want to do so, but it is an intriguing and not unpleasant fact of the internet that knowledge often precedes any actual application.
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In the midst of one of some earlier "celebrity says something really stupid or awful" episode, Fox News brought out an apology "expert" to critique some failed apologies in the past.
My initial reaction was to snicker. Surely, adults know how to apologize. But the expert showed a series of clips of people spectacularly failing to actually apologize for what they did. The most common problem, especially in the offensive statement context, was that people apologized "for whatever I said that may have offended people", as if the real problem was all these nit-ers who insisted on being offended, or "for the things that occurred", or for some other passive voice fault, as if it the offensive act somehow happened spontaneously, and on its own.
In the spate of increasingly bizarre celebrity missteps since then, I've decided that the Fox News guys had a point. People really are pretty bad about apologizing publicly. Michael Richards's apology for his appalling (and especially disappointing, because I loved his acting in both Seinfeld and the more obscure UHF) racist monologue at a comedy club is particularly bad, especially with its puzzling allusions to Katrina, and various other tangential topics. My sense is that a proper apology for something like what Richards said looks something like the following. Am I missing anything?*
"I'm sorry for what I said, which was horribly offensive. No one made me say it. It was my fault. And it was horribly offensive, not just to some ultra-sensitive people, but to all reasonable people. Also, I don't think that I'm a [racist/ anti-semite, etc] but the fact that I said this makes me wonder that in reality I might be, and so I'm going to go away for a while, and reflect on how I could possibly have said such a thing. Please forgive me."
* I should say that a real apology would probably not be public, and would be to the person insulted, and would be followed by going completely off the public stage for a long time. But if you're going to make a public apology, it might as well make some sense.
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